The U.S. Navy employed a dolphin, Tuffy, to regularly deliver tools and mail to scientists living in an experimental underwater laboratory.

SEALAB II: Porpoise Post and Life Beneath the Waves

It may come as no surprise to you all (seeing as I am a digital archivist who spends all day with technology) but I am a self-admitted nerd, complete with a love of video games. One of my favorite games – and one I suggest to anyone new to solo-gaming – is Bioshock, which takes place in a man-made underwater utopia turned dystopian nightmare. While the technologies featured in this game are worlds away, humanity’s exploration of underwater living was a bit more developed than I expected, as I learned during yet another sojourn into USNI’s Photo Archive. Today we are going to explore the watery deep together, via the U.S. Navy’s most successful aquanaut experiment of the 1960’s, SEALAB II.

SEALAB II was one of three experiments conducted… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

12 thoughts on “The U.S. Navy employed a dolphin, Tuffy, to regularly deliver tools and mail to scientists living in an experimental underwater laboratory.”

  1. Project_Progress

    Back before the space race everything was about diving. They had underwater labs everywhere and there was constant exploration.

    Entire crews of men lived under water for long durations.

  2. Seneca1904

    Worked security for a CPO event when I was younger. We were next to a bay in san diego. The lead advisor informed us if we thought something was a bomb to throw it into the bay in certain locations surrounding event because they had Dolphins in the water that were trained to drag anything tossed in straight to the bottom and hold it there. We were told if we fell in the water at those points we had approximately 20 seconds to swim out or you would be dragged down and drowned. Blew my fucking mind and I still think about it all the time.

  3. Help_An_Irishman

    Eventually they got him hooked on smack and now he’s a codebreaker in the Sprawl. Goes by Jones these days.

  4. DamonPhils

    Tools and mail but no food?

    Poor Tuffy’s fate was sealed once those scientists couldn’t take the hunger pangs any longer.

  5. BAM123987

    A semi less wholesome dolphin experiment the government tried.

    They half-filled a house with water and had a dolphin and woman live in it to try to teach the dolphin the human language. Hijinks ensued such as:-The dolphin and the woman doing LSD together-The woman giving the dolphin handjobs cause he was getting too rowdy.-The Dolphin committing suicide


  6. handcraftedcandy

    The US navy had a few trained Beluga Whales as well, one of which seemed to try to “talk” to its trainers.

  7. fauxcerebri

    Boomer dad: “you know in my day, even dolphins were gainfully employed”

    Me: yeah I know you told me that five minutes ago I got some leads on indeed just chill please

  8. Pashe14

    what benefits did he get with his employment?

  9. osirisrebel

    Really? No Sealab 2021 references?

    I’m really disappointed in you guys.

  10. TallBlake

    Employed? Did he have a salary? Did he get a GI bill?

    What was his rank? EEEEEE 4?

  11. pablo_dragstrips

    Employed is quite the euphemism for the negative aspects of training

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