Bremerton Naval Shipyard, or the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, is one of the largest and most capable shipyards on the West Coast. Located in Washington, the Bremerton Naval Shipyard currently serves as a repair, overhaul, and dry-dock shipyard for a wide variety of U.S. Navy vessels. Bremerton Naval Shipyard continues to operate as a modern shipyard at the forefront of the newest technology in the naval industry.

History of Bremerton Naval Shipyard

Bremerton Naval Shipyard, properly named the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, was founded in 1891 on the Sinclair Inlet in Bremerton, Washington. Bremerton Naval Shipyard was originally established as a repair facility, but the advent of World War I transformed the Bremerton Naval Shipyard into a Navy ship construction yard. During WWI, Bremerton Naval Shipyard built a great number of ships, including 25 submarine chasers, 6 submarines, 7 tugs, 2 minesweepers, and 1,700 smaller vessels.     

During World War II, Bremerton Naval Shipyard moved from shipbuilding to focus on military ship repair for both the U.S. Navy and the Allied Forces. Ship construction was limited to smaller vessels with most of Bremerton Naval Shipyard’s efforts reserved for ship repair and upgrade. Bremerton Naval Shipyard entered the wartime era as the only yard in on the Pacific Coast with facilities to handle large naval vessels. After the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, five of the six battleships remaining were sent to the Bremerton Naval Shipyard for repair.      

After the World War era, Bremerton Naval Shipyard focused on modernizing carriers and building guided missile frigates. In 1965, Bremerton Naval Shipyard was established as a nuclear capable repair facility. Ship construction continued until 1979 when the Bremerton Naval Shipyard began to focus on repair and overhaul alone.

Since 1990, the Bremerton Naval Shipyard has become one of the largest centers for the recycling and overhaul of large vessels, even those containing nuclear wastes. The Bremerton Naval Shipyard is often engaged with recycling parts of older ships and using them as materials for the repair of other ships. As of 1994, Bremerton Naval Shipyard employed 10,588 civilian workers and 300 military personnel.

The Bremerton Naval Shipyard is known for its six impressive dry-docks, with dry-dock number five measuring 1,030 feet long, 147 feet wide, and 54 feet deep. Bremerton Naval shipyard also invented the technique of launching a new vessel by flooding the dock. This innovation is still used at many shipyards today.    

Asbestos & the Bremerton Naval Shipyard

Unfortunately, Bremerton Naval Shipyard used asbestos in its shipyard operations. The health dangers of asbestos were unknown until the 1980s and unprotected shipyard workers at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard were exposed to high levels of asbestos for prolonged periods.

Asbestos is a fibrous material used to construct and repair ships.  Asbestos is an ideal material because it can withstand high temperatures and resist corrosion. Shipyard workers regularly used asbestos materials that can release a dangerous fibrous dust into the air. When the dust is inhaled, it lodges in the lungs or the protective lining of many of the body’s organs and can cause severe and fatal health problems including:

  • Mesothelioma (a cancer of the protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs, including the lungs)
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • Cancer in other organs

Bremerton Naval Shipyard workers were unaware of the health hazards of asbestos and were unprotected when handling asbestos. It is estimated that over 100,000 U.S. shipyard workers have died from asbestos-related diseases. Shipyard workers concerned for their health have sought medical and legal advice about their asbestos exposure. Cases of asbestos injury have been successfully litigated around the country, awarding asbestos victims with compensation for their injuries.

Asbestos Injuries at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard – Washington

If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos while working at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation for your asbestos-related injuries.

Published November 17, 2011 by