The Naval Academy Hydromechanics Laboratory (NAHL) began operations in Rickover Hall in September 1976. The primary purpose of the Laboratory is to further the education of midshipmen. All midshipmen receive instruction in the Laboratory during the course of their studies. Those who major in Ocean Engineering or Naval Architecture participate in more advanced laboratory work. Midshipmen in these majors often undertake independent research projects which involve NAHL staff and facilities.
The secondary purpose of the NAHL is to support research for Naval Academy faculty and for outside organizations. Faculty in the Department of Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering (NAOE) use the facilities for research of ship resistance and propulsion, ship motions in wind and waves, basic ocean wave mechanics, and wave-structure interaction. The Laboratory staff also performs testing under contract to various Navy, governmental and private organizations.