In 1900, the Secretary of the Navy wanted to use the USS Constitution for target practice until it sunk. A benefactor offered to buy it but was refused so he started a campaign that successfully pressured Congress into saving it. Built in 1797, it is now the oldest ship still afloat.
In 1910, black sailors of the Brazilian navy mutinied and gained control of all of Brazil’s large battleships. They then used the threat of bombarding Rio de Janeiro to successfully force the abolition of the slavery-like conditions they suffered under in the navy.
In 1991 a youth group in Denmark wrote to Gorbachev of Russia to ask for a free submarine. He said yes, and 3 years later they received a massive 76 meter (250 ft) submarine.
The USS Kidd is the only US warship authorized to raise the Jolly Roger flag as a reference to its namesake.
The award presented for the most battle ready ship is called the “Marjorie Sterrett” award. It is named after a 13 yr old girl who sent her allowance of 10 cents to the New York Tribune to help build warships for WWI. She asked that the next ship built be named “America”.
The USS William D. Porter was the only vessel in US Navy history to have its entire crew placed under arrest after accidentally firing a live torpedo at a vessel carrying the President of the United States and the Secretary of State.
In WWI, many British naval ships were painted with “Dazzle Camo”, a camouflage scheme designed not to make them hard to see, but rather to create a confusing perspective that made judging ship type, speed, and direction difficult.
Sweden has “gay sailor” defense system in the Baltic Sea. Underwater dancing gay sailor neon sign sends a Morse code saying “Come here if you’re gay”, targeted to Russian submarines detected regularly in the area.
A St. Bernard named Bamse was a mascot of the Royal Norwegian Navy during WWII and was known for breaking up fights amongst his crewmates. He once saved a young lieutenant commander who was being attacked by a man wielding a knife by pushing the assailant into the sea.
The Navy’s stealth destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, can’t fire its guns because the ammo is too expensive.