Was one of New York's Finger Lakes one of the biggest submarine military testing sites in the country in the past?

While on vacation last summer we visited one of New York's Finger Lakes.  We stayed at a cabin on Seneca Lake and it was absolutely beautiful.  While we were there, one of my friends told me a story about how his grandpa used to go through submarine training right there in the lake while he was in the service.

Is it true?  Did they use to train our military in the Finger Lakes?  And if so, do they still do it now?

Seneca Lake is very deep

Is it even possible to use submarines there?  Is it deep enough?

The answer to that is, yes.  Seneca Lake is very deep.  According to WETM-TV, the Native Americans who lived there used to believe that it was bottomless.  It's so deep that it only freezes over once every 100 years or so.

While we were there, the depth finder on my friend's boat showed that it was over 600 feet deep where we were boating.  It's maximum depth is around 620 feet.

Did they test submarines on Seneca Lake?

There is a website called VisitFingerLakes.com that actually tells some of the history of the Finger Lakes.  According to that site, the Sampson Training Station was on Seneca Lake.  It has since been converted into Sampson State Park which is where we stayed.  During WWII that site was used by the Navy and the United States Air Force as a testing site for submarines!

Do they still use Seneca Lake for submarine testing?

As mentioned above, Sampson Training Station has been converted into Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake.  However, there is still a Naval facility at Seneca Lake called the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Sonar test facility.

If you are on Seneca Lake, you'll notice a big thing in the middle of the lake.  That thing is there to perform tests and evaluate equipment ranging from single-element transducers to complex sonar arrays and systems.

Why do they use Seneca Lake?

There are a bunch of reasons why that lake is perfect for the testing that they have to do there.  In their words:

"The cost of conducting tests at Seneca Lake is substantially less than any similar at-sea assessment, while providing a more flexible and responsive testing and evaluation environment. In addition, the fairly constant and more predictable weather and water conditions of Seneca Lake make it a testing site of choice for major, large-scale projects, especially in a time-constrained environment."

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