Type: Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle

Launched: January 24, 1970
Inactivated: February 13, 2009

Length: 49.7 feet
Beam: 8.2 feet 
Operating Depth: 5,000 feet
Displacement: 65 tons submerged
Operating Crew: 3–4 crew members, 24 rescuees
Submerged Endurance: 12 hours at 3 knots

U.S. Naval Undersea Museum
1 Garnett Way
Keyport, WA 98345
(360) 396-4148
Fax: (360) 396-7944

The U.S. Navy’s two deep submergence rescue vehicles, Mystic (DSVR 1) and Avalon (DSRV 2), were developed in the late 1960s after the sinking of USS Thresher (SSN 593) revealed significant limitations in the Navy’s deep-sea capabilities. A DSRV could reach any location in the world within 72 hours to rescue survivors of a submarine accident. 

Mystic and Avalon entered service in the early 1970s and operated as the U.S. Navy’s primary submarine rescue system until 2008. The resilient vehicles could operate to 5,000 feet, well beyond a submarine’s collapse depth. Designed with remarkable maneuverability, the DSRVs could maintain an underwater position with leeway of less than an inch. Although the Navy conducted numerous practice exercises with the DSRVs, they were never used for a real rescue operation, as no American submarine sank during their 38-year service period. 

DSRV Mystic was taken out of service following the introduction of a new rescue system, the Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS), in October 2008. In 2014, the Navy transferred Mystic to the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum, where it is on long-term display.

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