Overnight Program FAQ

What is the minimum age to participate in the Overnight Program?

The minimum age to participate is 6 years old, but the program really blossoms for those age 10 and older. When reserving an Overnight, please specify your group’s age. This information helps the staff to best present age-appropriate education programming for your Overnight since certain activities may be unavailable to younger groups due to physical ability or educational requirements, while others may not be as challenging and educational to older groups.

How many people do we need to participate in the Overnight Program?

A minimum group size of 10 people, or equivalent payment, is required to participate in the Program. The maximum group size that can be accommodated is a party of 65 people plus Museum staff. If another group is scheduled for the same night that you are, the 10 person minimum no longer applies, as long as the total overnight has at least 10 people between all groups.

Due to the popularity of the Program, two groups may share the same reservation date, depending on group size. In the event that a group wishes to reserve the entire submarine for an exclusive stay, the group will be expected to pay for the equivalent of 65 participants.

How much does it cost for a group to participate in the Overnight Program?

The cost is $44.00 per person, for a one-night stay, for organized groups (minimum group size of 10 people or equivalent payment).

A deposit of $200.00 per group is required to secure an Overnight reservation. Deposits are payable to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, by check or money order. A reservation must be made by telephone prior to deposit payment. Deposits are due within 14 days of making a reservation. The balance payable is due upon arrival and is payable to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, by check or money order.

What does the cost of the Program include?

The cost of the Program includes a guided tour of USS Cobia, supervised access to certain areas of the submarine off-limits to standard tours, educational programming, overnight accommodation on board and admission to the Museum. Meals are not provided. It is recommended that groups eat dinner prior to arrival. Groups are encouraged to bring snacks and water for consumption during the Overnight. You will be notified by the Guides when an appropriate snack time is available.

What time does the Program start?

The group should enter the Museum through the street level metal door at the base of the west ramp, which is on the right when you are facing the front of the Museum. The door is labeled as “USS Cobia CREW PASSAGE.” Group leaders should arrive at this door at 7:25 to process waivers and final payment. At 7:30 pm or once paperwork is complete, the rest of the group will be allowed into the museum. The Program concludes at 8 am the following morning. At that time, participants will have the opportunity to visit the Museum galleries and the Museum Store at their leisure. All rules of conduct from the Overnight continue into the galleries the following morning. Groups wishing to go out for breakfast and then return to the Museum are welcome to do so.

How many chaperones are required to participate with a group?
  1. Please adhere to the adult-child ratio set out by your organization. For groups without a required ratio, the Museum recommends an adult-child ratio of 1:1 for groups with children 6 years of age and an adult-child ratio of 1:2 for groups with children 7 –8 years old.  An adult-child ratio of 1:4 is recommended for groups with children 9-12 years of age. An adult-youth ratio of 1:6 is recommended for groups with youth participants of 13 years and older.
  2. The Museum considers participants 18 years of age and older to be adults. All chaperones must be adults. The ratios recommended by the Museum are simply suggestions. When assigning chaperones, please consider the number of adults a group will need to maintain an environment conducive to learning, safety and good behavior.
  3. At least one chaperone must be berthed in each compartment where children and youth participants are berthed to provide supervision. At least one adult chaperone must be awake when any children or youth participants are awake during the Overnight.
How many Museum staff will be with the group during the Overnight?
  1. A minimum of two Museum staff members will lead an Overnight. The number of Museum staff working each Overnight depends on the number of participants scheduled for a given night.
  2. Overnight Education Staff will remain on the submarine throughout the night. When not with the group, staff can be found in the Ward Room/Officers Quarters, the staff-only area of the submarine.
  3. Staff is responsible for leading all educational and interpretive programming during the Overnight; chaperones are responsible for providing supervision and discipline. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum reserves the right to eject a group at any time for behavior deemed unacceptable or dangerous by the staff.
Where do people sleep on the submarine?

The submarine is divided into rooms called compartments. Four of the compartments are for sleeping, or berthing.

These are the Forward Torpedo Room (10 bunks), After Torpedo Room (10 bunks), Crew’s Quarters (36 bunks) and Officers’ Quarters (3,4 and 5 bunks). Regardless of the season, the Torpedo Rooms are the coolest and the Crew’s Quarters are the warmest in terms of temperature. Each berthing compartment is outfitted with bunks for sleeping. The Officers Quarters are typically reserved for special needs and possible gender segregation, not special requests. The Overnight Guides will make the final call on where your group will be sleeping for the night.

Can I bring my CPAP/sleeping device?

There are a few outlets on the submarine, and some are close enough to bunk, that with a guest provided extension cord of about 25’, a CPAP or other medically necessary sleeping device can be used. There is not enough outlets for charging phones overnight.

My group has members of both genders, what do we do about sleeping arrangements?

The Museum does not have a policy on this issue. It is up to the group to decide whether to berth males and females together, or in separate compartments. If your group requires separate berthing for each gender, please note this on your Reply Form as there are limited bunks, and if you do not pay for the full boat, segregation accommodations might not be guaranteed.

Is the Overnight Program available year round?

Yes. The Overnight Program runs every Friday and Saturday night year round. Weekday bookings may also be available upon request. The Overnight Program may not be available on dates close to major holidays or Museum special events. The submarine is outfitted with an HVAC system. However, the boat can be very warm in the summer and very cool in the winter due to the fact that it is 1,500 tons of steel in weather appropriate water, so participants are advised to dress appropriately; layers are suggested, as well as season appropriate sleeping bags.

What type of group is the Program appropriate for?

The Overnight Program is appropriate for school groups, community groups, youth groups, tour groups, soft adventure groups, active seniors groups, Elderhostel, Scouting groups, corporate retreats, YMCA groups, church groups and any other group interested in a unique educational experience. It is suggested for ages 10 and up, but 6 is the age minimum. The Program is flexible and meets curriculum requirements and Wisconsin and Illinois State Standards for school groups. Teachers interested in the Program may wish to contact the Museum for details on possible scholarship opportunities for class trips. The Museum is located within minutes of many restaurants and hotels. The Museum also has a number of facility rental and catering options available for groups.

I’m not part of an organized group but I still want to participate in the Overnight Program. How can I do this?

The Museum hosts a number of Family Overnights each calendar year. These are open to individuals and families, rather than organized groups. The dates for Family Overnights are posted on the Museum’s website. Advance registration is required. The Overnight Program is open to persons of age 6 and up.  Cost is $44 per person.

Is the submarine accessible for participants with disabilities?

As a National Historic Landmark, the USS Cobia is exempt from laws regarding access for persons with physical disabilities. However, in many cases, visitors with disabilities enjoy full participation in the Overnight Program. Guide animals are permitted on the submarine. Unfortunately, the submarine is not wheelchair accessible. Please contact the Museum for details on accessibility.

Where does the Overnight Education Program take place?

The Program takes place aboard the World War II Gato class submarine USS Cobia, moored adjacent to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Directions are as follows:

Parking space is limited so please carpool if possible. Bus parking is also available. Parking is available in three parking lots; one lot on either side of the Museum and one across the street from the Museum. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is not responsible for damage or theft of vehicles parked over night, nor their contents.

While in the Manitowoc area, my group would like to visit other local attractions. What do you suggest?

For information on other area attractions that you may want to visit during your USS Cobia Overnight trip, call the Manitowoc Area Visitor and Convention Bureau at 1-800-627-4896 or visit www.manitowoc.org on the Internet.

What is the Museum’s cancellation policy pertaining to the Overnight Education Program?
  1. If for some reason your group finds it necessary to cancel a visit, your deposit will not be refunded. There is one exception: if you notify the Museum at least 60 days in advance of your scheduled visit and at that time reschedule your visit for a later available date within one year of the initial reservation date, the Museum will apply your deposit to the new date.
  2. On very rare occasions, inclement weather may cause conditions hazardous enough for the Museum to close the submarine. In such cases, every effort will be made to provide scheduled groups with advance notice so that they can reschedule their visit or, if they choose, cancel altogether and receive a full refund of their deposit. Unfortunately, in some situations advance notice may not be possible.
  3. The safety of participants and staff is the Museum’s paramount concern. Please understand that this is a major factor in decision making should an Overnight be cancelled due to severe weather. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum will not be responsible for any other inconveniences or consequences arising from the cancellation of a group’s visit. It is suggested that groups check the local forecast for Manitowoc and surrounding areas before departing for their Overnight. Weather forecasts for Manitowoc are available by calling (920) 684-0161. Should the group have concerns about a possible cancellation, a group representative should contact the Museum during Museum hours on the date of the Overnight to discuss the group’s concerns.
What sanitary facilities are available for participants?

Sanitary facilities are located in the main Museum building. Shower facilities are not usually available. Group bathroom breaks are taken at regular intervals throughout the Program. Individual bathroom breaks are taken on an as-needed basis. Once on board the Cobia, participants must be escorted into the Museum for restroom breaks by a Wisconsin Maritime Museum staff member. Staff escort the group from the submarine into the Museum for bathroom breaks, as Museum entrance doors remain locked at all times during Overnights for the safety of participants and staff.

What if I feel sick or claustrophobic during an Overnight?
  1. Any participant feeling claustrophobic or unwell during an Overnight should alert a group leader or Overnight staff member immediately so he/she can exit the submarine. Staff will make every effort possible to make participants comfortable. It is the group’s responsibility to bring their own first aid kit and medications for participants.
  2. Participants wishing to leave the Program at any time are free to do so. Children and youth participants cannot leave without being escorted by a chaperone. Participants choosing to leave Museum property will not be re-admitted to the Overnight and will not be refunded their registration fee.
  3. Participants requiring refrigeration of prescription medicines will be accommodated.
Does my group need to make a reservation to participate in the Overnight Program?

Yes, advance reservations are required. The Program normally books approximately 6-12 months in advance, depending on the season.

Is there food provided or a place to eat?

Groups are permitted to eat snacks in the Museum only, during the activity break. Each group is responsible for their own snacks, which will be eaten during the Program’s scheduled Mess Break. Dry snacks, as well as bottled water or juice, are recommended. Please be advised that no cooking is allowed aboard the submarine or in the Museum. When selecting snack foods to bring, please consider ease of clean up, as you will be responsible for any spills. If you bring food, you will also need to provide your own paper plates, cups, flatware, napkins, etc. Be sure to bring a cooler for perishables.  Because of time limitations, participants should eat dinner prior to arrival for the Overnight Program. Groups wishing to visit a restaurant for breakfast prior to viewing the Museum exhibits in the morning are welcome to return after their meal to explore the galleries.

Look for the Museum’s dinner and breakfast page for more options.


Packing Recommendations

What Should I Pack?

Each visitor is responsible for bringing his or her own sleeping bag/blanket and pillow, since the bunks on board the submarine do not have sheets or blankets. The submarine is now outfitted with heat and air conditioning, however, participants are advised to dress appropriately for the outside weather; layers are suggested. Participants are advised to pack minimally as space on board is limited.

It is also recommended that you bring

It is also recommended that you bring

Personal toiletries
Appropriate clothing (layers are suggested)
  • For your safety, we recommend closed toed shoes, no sandals, flip flops, or slippers.
  • Roller Shoes are not allowed on the premises.
Card or board games, if desired
First Aid Kit
  • including motion sickness medication (The Wisconsin Maritime Museum staff will not dispense any medication or first aid supplies)
Trash bags
What NOT to Bring

None of the following are permitted during your stay:

  • Alcoholic beverages (either on or off premises)

  • Knives and weapons

These items will be considered contraband and will be confiscated and not returned. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum staff will make all decisions regarding the legality of items.  If you have a question as to the legality of an item, don’t bring it. This is done for the safety of your group as well as for the submarine.

Can I Bring my Cell Phone?

The group should enter the Museum through the street level metal door at the base of the west ramp, which is on the right when you are facing the front of the Museum. The door is

Phones and other electronic devices are allowed on the COBIA only so long as they do not distract from the shipboard experience, but outlets are not available for charging. For example, using a phone’s still camera would be acceptable. Reception in the submarine is limited anyways, so not only making calls and texts are limited, but as the phone will be routinely searching for signal, your battery will drain quickly. With the exception of emergency use, we suggest that you set your phone to airplane mode.

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum staff has the right to end use of said electronic devices at their discretion.  The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is not responsible for damage, loss, or theft of any personal items. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum has the right to conduct a gear inspection at the beginning of your stay.

Safety Brief

To ensure your safety during your visit, review the following information with the members of your group prior to your visit.

Safety Conduct

Please remember two important points about the USS Cobia: First, the COBIA is a naval vessel that was built with the intention that it be operated by specially-trained Navy personnel; and second, the COBIA is now a museum vessel and an irreplaceable National Historic Landmark.  Both of these points dictate that safe conduct be exercised by each and every member of your group.  The design and construction of the submarine mandates that special care must be taken while on board for your personal safety.

Violation of ANY safety procedures will be grounds for ejection from the boat.  The Wisconsin Maritime Museum or its staff is not responsible for any expenses of the person or group associated with ejection or voluntary departure from the submarine.

During the USS Cobia Overnight Education Program, the Museum telephone system is set to “night mode,” which means no one is available to answer incoming calls. If you need to contact someone after hours, you must enter ext. 122 to reach the Tour Guide Desk. Please keep in mind cell reception on the submarine is not guaranteed.

Safety Equipment

Located in Forward Torpedo Room – FOR EMERGENCY ONLY (You must dial “9” to get an outside line.)

First Aid Kit 

Each group is required to bring their own.

Life Rings 

Located on the deck forward and aft of the Conning Tower.

Fire Emergency Drill

An emergency fire drill will be held to familiarize the group with emergency evacuation procedures. Participation by all members of the Overnight group is mandatory.

Smoke detectors are located in each substantial compartment. If an alarm sounds, follow the procedures listed below.

Exit the boat in a quick and orderly manner, moving in the opposite direction of the source of the alarm or smoke if present.

Do not close any doors on the submarine.

Inform Wisconsin Maritime Museum Overnight staff immediately and call 911.

USS COBIA Emergency Evacuation Plan

If it becomes necessary to evacuate the COBIA for any reason, move in an orderly fashion toward the nearest exit, as follows:

From the Crew’s Mess Forward, the nearest exit is the Forward Torpedo Room.

From the Crew’s Quarters Aft, the nearest exit is the After Torpedo Room.

If there is a fire aboard the submarine, proceed to the exit that is furthest from the fire. If there is fire between you and both exits, use one of the hatches in the following compartments:

Control Room/Conning Tower

If using the Control Room exit, proceed up the ladder to the Conning Tower, then out the hatch onto the Bridge. Once on the Bridge, head toward the stern (while on the ladder this will be to your right), and then proceed around the 40mm gun and down the ladder on the starboard side of the boat. Proceed across the deck.

Crew’s Mess
Aft Engine Room
Programs and Events Overnight Program Overnight FAQ