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SS United States Inspires New Design by Conservancy Chapter Co-Chair

America’s Flagship remains a marvel of American design and engineering, and continues to inspire a new generation of enthusiasts around the world.

Southeast Conservancy Chapter Co-Chairman Mike Strasbaugh heavily studied the design of the SS United States to design his own vessel, the MV United States.

After 11 years of constant design refinements, Strasbaugh arrived at the final design shown above. Regarding the design he tells us:

"Initially the design looked much like a modern cruise ship, with only about four or five decks in the hull with 5 decks of balconies above the boat deck. After completing that design I wasn’t satisfied with it, and completely redesigned it, as that particular design was 1,400 ft.

I significantly shortened the design to 1,190 ft, and practically scrapped the old design, looking to the SS United States as a source of inspiration. This final design heavily mimicked the exterior outline of the Big U, as a homage to our ship.

My design would be 1,190 ft in length, 140 ft wide, with 14 decks. The ship would have a passenger capacity of 2,200 with a crew total of 1,200, respectively. The MV United States would be the largest passenger vessel ever constructed in this country (or designed). Her funnels are direct copies of those aboard the SS United States, but are slightly longer by roughly 7-8 feet. They are, however, the exact height as the stacks aboard the Big U.

The forward stack has a skylight made into the flat area atop of the stack, with a cavernous space going down to Main Deck (two decks below the Promenade) allowing natural light to enter the ship. This idea is derived from my own idea regarding the redevelopment of the SS United States."

Strasbaugh continues:

"She would, as the original ship, have split machinery spaces fore and aft and would be heavily compartmentalized, making her exceptionally safe in case of an emergency.

Her watertight configuration would ensure she would be seaworthy even with several of her largest compartments flooded to the waterline. A watertight Deck would also be incorporated to ensure extra safety in case of an accident or collision. All materials, linens, etc will be fireproof. Fireproof woods would also be incorporated into interiors of the MV United States, unlike her namesake.

While my design will likely never be built, I look forward to the day the SS United States is brought back to life and her interiors slightly altered to bring her into a new life as the finest static attraction in this country.”

Interested in connecting with other fans of the SS United States, supporting the work of the Conservancy and advocating for the vessel in your local community? Learn more about the Conservancy's incredible network of regional Conservancy chapters.


The SS United States has always been a soaring symbol of ingenuity, innovation, and the nation's ability to join arm-in-arm to advance common goals. Today, she continues to inspire artists, writers, musicians, model-makers and designers across the globe.

Have you created something incredible inspired by America's Flagship? We would love to see it. Drop us a line at or on our Facebook page.

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