What is a commissioning?

After the vessel has completed rigorous testing and sea trials, the shipbuilder then deems the ship capable of performing her designed mission and prepared to join the fleet.  This ceremony is expected to have an attendance of up to 5,000 on the pier along with heads dignitaries, public officials and media, the grand commissioning ceremony culminates with raising the commissioning pennant and the crew manning the vessel.

For all purposes of law and tradition, the vessel then becomes a United States Ship. The Commanding Officer and crew come aboard and are entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining and operating their boat in peacetime and under conditions of war. This time-honored tradition for a crew- member to be pronounced a plankowner of a newly commissioned vessel is a distinct honor and privilege. The service life of a submarine is 50 years with 136 stationed aboard.  The enhancements to the boat will be benefited by future crews other than just the plankowners.