Endurance ME surveys the USS MOODY (DD-277) for National Geographic’s Drain the Oceans

Los Angeles, California – With the airing of the Drain the Oceans Season 4 episode “Hollywood”, Endurance ME concludes months of field survey work, processing and technical guidance.


Commissioned on 10 December 1919, USS MOODY (DD-277) was a Clemson class destroyer which served in the US Pacific Fleet during the inter-war period.

Decommissioned for the final time, MOODY was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1930 in accordance with naval arms limitations imposed under the London Naval Treaty.

MOODY’s superstructure was sold as scrap metal and the rest of the ship was sold to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) for use in filming the 1933 World War I submarine movie Hell Below. The movie studio altered her appearance to resemble that of a World War I Imperial German Navy destroyer and hired a marine salvage and construction firm to place charges aboard her at carefully planned locations. 

MOODY was towed seven miles south of San Pedro, California, and on 21 February 1933, the first charge was detonated, splitting the hull between two watertight compartments. Both sections continued to float after breaking up. Finally, two more controlled detonations breached the watertight bulkheads, sinking her later that evening.

According to the California Wreck Divers, MOODY was rediscovered in 1973 in 140 feet underwater.

Field Survey

In the summer of 2020 Mallinson Sadler Productions (MSP), the producer of National Geographic Channel’s Drain the Oceans, contacted Endurance Marine Exploration to survey the USS MOODY wreck site and produce high resolution photogrammetry models of each hull section.

A modified BlueROV2 Heavy with two GoPro Hero 5’s was used to fly over and survey the wreck. Visibility was excellent on this particular day and over 2 hours of footage was collected, thoroughly visually documenting each hull section.

Photogrammetry Models

From the raw video footage, over 8,000 images were extracted which were then digitally stitched together and processed in Agisoft’s Metashape. The completed models were submitted to MSP and used as the basis for the computer generated models and final renders for the episode.

Drain the Oceans: Hollywood

Drain the Oceans “Hollywood” (Season 4, Episode 4) aired on the National Geographic Channel on August 9th, 2021 at 8pm Eastern/Pacific.

The episode can be found on the following streaming services:

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