Wreck Diving Magazine

SS President Coolidge

In February 1931, a huge ship slid down the slipway at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Virginia. The 653-foot-long hulk, which moments later splashed into the water, had a tonnage of 21,936 GRT (gross registered tons) and was to be outfitted as a luxury ocean liner for the Dollar Steamship Lines. She was christened SS President Coolidge after the 30th President of the US, Calvin Coolidge, and she was the largest merchant ship in the US at the time. Her sister ship, SS President Hoover, had been finished a year earlier.

After months of outfitting and preparations, SS President Coolidge was ready to sail later the same year also embarked on a few journeys around the world, returning via the Panama Canal. She was a fast ship with a cruising speed of 20.5 knots, made possible by two, huge, steam turbo generators which powered electric motors on each of the massive propeller shafts.

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