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NEWS | April 30, 2024

Shipyard employees teach elementary school students how dry docks work during Kitsap Water Festival

By Ben Hutto PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility employees joined forces at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, April 16, 2024 in support of the 2024 Kitsap Water Festival.

The educational event was open to over a thousand third and fourth graders from 15 local elementary schools to learn how their every-day actions impact water quality.

Theron Bergland, docking foreman, Shop 64, Shipwrights, and Steven Meddendorf, shipyard docking manager, Code 340, Docking Office, were there along with a working mock-up of a dry dock to help demonstrate how vessels are repaired and maintained at the shipyard.

Both men smiled and patiently answered questions as the inquisitive students used the pump mock-up to flood and empty the miniature dry dock.

“A lot of people never consider how a boat is docked,” Bergland said. “The process is amazing when you think about the amount of water that is moved and the size of the ships. When I tell kids this process is over a hundred years old, they seem impressed.”

The two shipyard employees weren't the only Navy presence during the day-long event. Divers from PSNS & IMF Bangor Dive Locker, along employees from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Keyport; the Exceptional Family Members Program from Naval Base Kitsap and Puget Sound Naval Museum & U.S. Naval Undersea Museum were all on hand to help educate and entertain the young audience members.

“This is our second year doing this, and it’s a fun time,” Meddendorf said. “It’s just a great way to get out of the office and give back a little.”