Mare Island Naval Shipyard, also known as Vallejo Shipyard, was located on San Francisco Bay, approximately 30 miles northeast of San Francisco in Vallejo, California. The Mare Island Naval Shipyard was purchased by the U.S. Navy in January 1853 and the shipyard’s 46,000 workers constructed and repaired war ships until the shipyard closed in 1996.

Mare Island Naval Shipyard History

On January 4, 1853, President Millard Fillmore purchased Mare Island for the U.S. Navy for $83,491. The Mare Island Naval Shipyard is the oldest naval shipyard on the west coast. The Mare Island Naval Shipyard’s workers built warships that were involved in every U.S. conflict. The first ship completed was the paddle-wheeled gunboat Saginaw that was launched before the Civil War. The last ship, the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Drum, was launched in 1970, during the Vietnam War.

Mare Island Naval Shipyard Facility       

Mare Island Naval Shipyard was one of the largest shipyards, extending approximately 3.5 miles in length and one mile in width. The shipyard’s facility covered 4,000 acres and contained 996 buildings that held 10.5 million square feet of space. The Mare Island Naval Shipyard facility also included:

  • 4 dry docks
  • 20 ship berths
  • 3 finger piers
  • 21 industrial sites

Mare Island Naval Shipyard Activities

Mare Island Naval Shipyard workers built 512 ships and repaired hundreds more. During World War II, the workers repaired 1,227 damaged ships and built:

  • 17 submarines
  • 31 destroyer escorts
  • 33 small crafts
  • 2 sub tenders
  • More than 300 landing crafts

Mare Island Naval Shipyard workers built the USS Ward in just 17 days, setting a record that still has not been broken. In the 1960s, the Mare Island Naval Shipyard began constructing nuclear powered ships. All together, the facility produced 17 nuclear submarines, including seven Fleet Ballistic Missile types.

In 1993, the Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission decided to close down Mare Island Naval Shipyard, and operations ceased in April 1996.

Asbestos at Mare Island Naval Shipyard 

Asbestos was widely used in ship construction and products because asbestos fibers are durable and fire-resistant. However, asbestos fibers are dangerous when inhaled and may lead to severe and fatal diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.

Mare Island Naval Shipyard workers, like most shipyard workers, were unaware of the dangers of asbestos exposure. Additionally, shipyards were poorly ventilated and most workers did not wear protective clothing or respiratory equipment. As a result, many Mare Island Naval Shipyard workers have become ill with asbestos related diseases, which may take up to 40 year to develop.

Asbestos Injuries at Mare Island Naval Shipyard – California

If you or a loved one worked at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard and were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation.

Published November 17, 2011 by