The Maritime Museum of San Diego, established in 1948, preserves one of the largest collections of historic sea vessels in the United States. Located on the San Diego Bay, the centerpiece of the museum's collection is the Star of India, an 1863 iron bark. The museum maintains the MacMullen Library and Research Archives aboard the 1898 ferryboat Berkeley. The museum also publishes the quarterly peer-reviewed journal Mains'l Haul: A Journal of Pacific Maritime History.
The Maritime Museum at the Star of India Wharf is located on the west side of North Harbor Drive, between the ends of Ash Street and Grape Street, south of San Diego International Airport.
Vessels in the museum's collection
- Star of India, 1863 merchant bark, the oldest ship still sailing regularly and also the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship still afloat.
- Berkeley, 1898 ferryboat from the San Francisco Bay area
- Californian, 1984 replica of 1847 cutter C.W. Lawrence and official tall ship of the state of California
- America, 1995 replica of the 1851 yacht America that won the trophy now called the America's Cup
- Medea, 1904 steam yacht that served in both World Wars
- Pilot, 1914 harbor pilot boat
- HMS Surprise, a 1970 replica of a Royal Navy frigate. Surprise was used in the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. The ship also made an appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as HMS Providence.
- USS Dolphin, diesel-electric submarine launched in 1968 and decommissioned in 2007
- PCF-816 (formerly C24 or P24), 1968 Patrol Craft Fast that was transferred to Malta in 1971 and decommissioned in 2011
- San Salvador, replica of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo's galleon which discovered San Diego Bay in 1542.
- A railroad barge is docked behind the Berkeley. Many guests mistake it for a floating dock because it no longer has its tracks. In the lower deck are workshops and storerooms used by the museum for the maintenance of the collection.
- B-39, Soviet Foxtrot class submarine; as of October 2021 the sub is being removed from the collection and sold for scrap. It was finally towed to a scrap yard in Ensenada in February 2022.
San Salvador replica
Starting in 2011 the Maritime Museum of San Diego built a full-sized, fully functional, historically accurate replica of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo’s flagship, San Salvador. The replica was constructed in full public view in the bayside Spanish Landing park in San Diego, giving people the opportunity to watch a living recreation of the first modern industrial activity in the Americas. She was launched in 2015 and is stationed at the San Diego Bay Embarcadero as part of the Museum's fleet of historic and replica ships. She opened for public tours in September 2016 in conjunction with the Maritime Museum's annual Festival of Sail. Later that month she is expected to start making coastal tours up the California coast.
Not affiliated with the Maritime Museum, but located a short distance away, is the independently operated USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. Although at first it was feared the Midway would compete with the Maritime Museum for visitors, in fact visitation of the Maritime Museum has increased since the Midway museum opened.
- "Factsheet". Maritime Museum of San Diego. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
- "Step aboard the world's oldest active sailing ship". Maritime Museum of San Diego. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "America". Retrieved September 27, 2013.
- Museum to build replica of Cabrillo's ship Page 1 of 2 | UTSanDiego.com
- Wilkens, John (October 2, 2021). "After 15 years as a San Diego tourist draw, rusty Soviet sub is headed to the scrap yard". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
- Dyer, Andrew (February 6, 2022). "Cold War-era Soviet sub towed from San Diego, bound for Mexico scrapyard". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
- Hirsh, Lou (August 30, 2016). "Maritime Museum Debuting Tours of San Salvador Replica". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
- Sauer, Mark Aircraft carrier Midway finds itself awash in visitors February 13, 2005 San Diego Union Tribune – Accessed March 23, 2006