Orange County

Boater Finds a Torpedo Floating Off the Orange County Coast

A boater searching for dolphins encounters a lightweight Navy exercise torpedo about six miles off Dana Point Harbor.

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Sean Sheehan has seen a lot of unusual sights on his boat excursions off the Southern California coast.

But even the avid boater was surprised by what he found floating in the water Monday about six miles off Dana Point Harbor -- an 8-foot Navy torpedo.

Sheehan and his girlfriend were looking for dolphins after seeing a pod in the same area over the weekend. He found more dolphins after taking his 16-foot ski boat out again Monday, but also noticed something that, from a distance, looked like a lost surfboard.

"Then I saw the propellers on the back, and then the long tube," Sheehan said. "I was like, 'Oh my, we found a torpedo?"

The Orange County Sheriff's Department confirmed Sheehan's suspicions, identifying the object as a lightweight Navy exercise torpedo. Sheehan, who had entered the waters in search of dolphins, snapped photos of the torpedo before authorities arrived to remove it from the water.

The sheriff's department said, according to the Navy, the torpedo was not a live device and posed no threat to life or property.

The Navy said the torpedo was transported to San Diego County. Details about how it ended up in the water and where it came from were not available.


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“It has no propulsion system or explosives," Cmdr. Sean Robertson, spokesman for the Navy’s 3rd Fleet, told the Orange County Register.

The Navy told NBCLA torpedoes are often used in training exercises, but usually recovered right away.

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