There are four Naval shipyards in the United States; Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Maine is the oldest continuously operating U.S. Navy shipyard. Located in Kittery, Maine, Portsmouth is responsible for maintenance for the Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet among many other duties.
This installation is unique in that it is physically located in Maine on Seavey Island but the mailing addresses for Portsmouth buildings at the shipyard is listed as Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This makes navigating the base a bit confusing since base building numbers, not street address numbers, are used for the local mail service.
Find information about Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Maine, including the main commercial and DSN numbers for the base, information on basic services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PSCing personnel, and
Mission & Units
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard overhauls, repairs, and upgrades Los Angeles-class submarines. The base provides engineering and production
Important missions and units at Portsmouth include:
- USCGC Campbell (WMEC 909)
- USS New Mexico (SSN 779)
- USCGC Reliance (WMEC-615)
- USS Springfield (SSN 761)
- USCGC Tahoma (WMEC-908)
- USCG First District Northeast
The history of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard stretches all the way back to 1800 during the presidency of John Adams. However, even before then, the area was firmly establishing its’ shipbuilding ways. As early as 1696 the first British warship, the HMS Falkland, was built here, and the very first ship to fly the American flag was built nearby in 1776 on Badger’s Island
When the Secretary of the Navy made plans to build the first U.S. shipyard, it needed to be installed somewhere with both source materials and a workforce that could properly deal with those materials to build warships; to that end the government paid for a location then known as Fernald’s Island, and Fort William and Mary was rehabbed and redesignated as Fort Constitution.
The first Navy officer to lead the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was Commodore Isaac for two years from 1800-1802, then again during the War of 1812.
The World War I era saw Portsmouth begin submarine construction including the first-ever United States submarine assembled in a U.S. Navy Shipyard. That vessel was designated L-8, and this era saw the expansion of the shipyard from five thousand employees (civilian workers) over time to 25 thousand by the time World War Two was in full swing.
The World War Two era of Portsmouth is notable for some 70 subs built at the yard, with as many as four in one day being launched on one notable occasion.
The history of some American military bases includes a period of downtime, closure, or re-utilization after the end of World War Two, but Portsmouth would be a different matter, growing into the center of
Many innovations were unveiled here including a 1953 “teardrop hull” design for the Albacore, and the first nuclear-powered sub built at Portsmouth and launched in 1957.
Submarine construction would not last here, though; the last Navy sub built at Portsmouth was called the Sand Lance (launched in 1969). Afterwards, the facility would shift its focus to overhaul, refueling, and modernization.
In the 1990s, Portsmouth was placed on the EPA Superfund list and a Base Realignment and Closure Commission finding in 2005 threatened to close the base for good in 2008. However, a community push to save the facility succeeded and the shipyard was removed from the BRAC list.
Today the mission to overhaul, upgrade, and refuel Navy vessels is the main event at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the facility continues to operate under the motto,
Main Address And Phone Numbers
2 Wentworth Street
Visitor Control Center
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Kittery, ME 03904
- DSN 312-684-2235
Important Contact numbers
- Base Operator (207) 438-1000
- Emergency 911
- Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) (207) 438-1835
- Navy Gold Star Program (888) 509-8759
- Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) — Safe Harbor (757) 444-6989
- Public Affairs Office (207) 438-3975
- Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255
- Visitor’s Center and ID Cards (207) 438-2640
- Child Development Center (207) 438-2083
- Child Development Home (207) 438-2083
- Youth Center (207) 438-2114
- Naval Health Clinic New England (888) 628-9633
- Housing Service Center (207) 438-2732
- Navy Gateway Inns and Suites (207) 438-1513
- NSY Portsmouth Homes (207) 439-5052
- School Liaison Officer (207) 318-1730
Located in a historically significant area, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is closest to Kittery, Maine (approximately three minutes away) but is roughly 50 miles from Boston and other major East Coast locations.
The Boston area is known for its’ sports (the Boston Celtics, Red Sox, and Bruins will keep sports lovers quite busy with travel and game night activities) and seafood, but also for its’ history and culture. The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston Common
Closer to home in Kittery, Fort McClary State Park offers plenty for outdoors-minded explorers, and the Strawberry Banke Museum has much in the way of local history from colonial days to the present. Market Square is described as the “heart of downtown” and there are plenty of galleries, bookstores, and antiques shops featuring some of the most enduring examples of 17th century architecture the area has to offer.
Military members PCSing to Portsmouth are directed to check in at the Base Support Office during normal duty hours. Those arriving or anticipating arrival after duty hours should call the Shipyard Duty Officer at 207-451-3405 and check with their sponsor to see what may be required before the next duty day.
When reporting to check-in, new arrivals must furnish multiple copies of orders, leave forms, medical records,
Unaccompanied students between the ranks of E1 and E 4 arriving for SERE school or related TDY travel or who are PCSing to tenant commands here are directed to check in with the front desk in the NGIS, building H-23, The Helmsman Inn.
The Naval Branch Health Clinic Portsmouth is responsible for medical care at the shipyard; depending on demand, PCS and TDY season, and the rotation of submarine crews in and out of the area, some services may require longer wait times or be better served elsewhere within the TRICARE provider network. Services available in the past from the clinic include:
- After Hours Urgent Care
- Emergency Care
- Exceptional Family Member Program
- Immunization Clinic
- Managed Care Dept.
- Medical Home Port Clinic
- Occupational Health
- Operational Screening Program
- Patient Privacy
- Patient Relations Program
- Pediatric Clinic
- Physical Exams (PE)
- Physical Therapy
- Preventive Medicine
- Radiation Health
- Sick Call
- Social Work
- Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP)
- Telephone Consults
- TRICARE Service Center
- Urgent Care Centers
Contact the clinic at 207-438-1130 for information on appointments and other concerns.
Childcare at Portsmouth is offered by the Child Development Center (CDC) for children six weeks to five years old. Due to demand, PCS season, and other variables, a waiting list may apply and hourly or drop-in care may only be offered on a space-available basis at Portsmouth.
It’s best to contact the CDC as soon as you have orders to Portsmouth; call them at 207-438-3804 or by DSN at 312-684-3804. Other options such as Family Child Care (FCC) in private homes certified to offer child care may be available.
All PCSing military members are directed to track and manage their household good shipments to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard via the Defense Personal Property System at Move.mil. You can also get local assistance at the base TMO office by calling 207-438-2808.
Dependent And Retiree ID Card Renewal, Replacement, New Issue
All ID card services at Portsmouth are handled by the Visitor Center and ID Office. Appointments are encouraged, walk-in service may not be available due to high demand, mission requirements, and other factors. Call 207-438-2640 to schedule an appointment.
All ID card services require current, unexpired ID and the presence of the military member or use of a Power of Attorney or other approved paperwork that allows the bearer to receive ID card services in the absence of the service member.
Military families living on base will send their children to the Kittery School District. Those living off-base may send their children to either Portsmouth, New Hampshire schools or Kittery schools depending on the location of the home; this is because Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is situated between both New Hampshire and Maine and the physical address of the home determines school attendance.
Families PCSing to Portsmouth are encouraged to worth with the School Liaison Officer at Portsmouth at 207-438-2466 or DSN 312-684-2466. School registration is completed in person upon arrival.
Required vaccinations for transferring school children in the state of Maine include, but may not be limited to:
- Pertussis vaccine:
- Diphtheria or tetanus toxoids
- Measles or mumps vaccine
- Rubella vaccine
- Live polio vaccine:
- Inactivated polio vaccine
- Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine
Base housing is privatized and operated by Balfour Beatty Communities at Portsmouth. Availability is limited; a little over 200 family housing units are spread across two neighborhoods with waiting lists up to a full year, depending on the departure and arrival of submarine crews to the local area.
All new arrivals are directed to check in with the Housing Service Center (HSC) for help with on or off-base housing options for unaccompanied and accompanied military PCSing to the area.
Unaccompanied military members have limited on-base housing options; there is one building for permanent party servicemembers, plus two dormitory buildings and Navy Gateway Inns and Suites for those considered “transient” (not TDY or PCSing).
PCS and TDY Lodging
Limited temporary lodging facilities are offered at Portsmouth; many rooms are used by submarine crews but other
Call the Billeting Office at 207-438-1513 to check on or make reservations. Those who are TDY for SERE school or other purposes may be billeted in a Navy Inn or in an on-base dorm facility depending on demand.
Getting to Portsmouth from the nearest major airport may require some coordination if you are not familiar with the area; Logan International Airport in Boston is the closest major airport, just over an hour away.
Driving times and distances can be seriously complicated by rush hour; it is a very good idea to contact your sponsor to discuss travel arrangements.
Portsmouth has a parking problem; something known as the Transportation Incentive Program (TIP) offers 50 ride sites to and from the base; call 207-438-4988 for more information.
You can find the usual ride sharing, taxi, and airport shuttle services at the airport depending on the time of arrival and other variables; ask your sponsor what the best options are for travel from Logan International based on your arrival time.
When departing the base on or after 3:30 PM during normal duty days, it can talk up to 30 minutes just to exit the installation, so plan accordingly.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
Military members may be exempt from having to pay excise taxes; this exemption may depend on the city where the military member lives. An Active Duty Excise Tax Exemption Form or a document similar to it may be required depending on where the service member resides. The tax exemption is NOT automatic.