Strafford Morss, Preservation Engineer
Original 1995, Revision 2007

1 . INTRODUCTION The Ultimate Goal:

1. Preserve the ship for a very long time.
CONSTITUTION is the ideal, Or is it?

Requirement: vessel to be maintained in manner satisfactory and at no cost to Navy.

Initial Planning Decisions You have to Live With

1. Type, size, and condition of vessel selected
2. Berthing Plan selected
3. Climate of Site
o-Salt or fresh water
o-Latitude of site: Expected: temperature range, weather conditions, ultra-violet exposure
o-Site demographics: expected visitation wear/tear
4. Universal Maxim: Relative to a ship, only one thing that can be done to her is forever: destruction.


1. Ship is your inheritance/legacy/liability. She is unique. But, is she special?
2. Economics: In 1994, total HNSA spending was $32,400,000/year for 88 ships: includes people, operating costs, and maintenance. Maintenance is low man on totem pole
3. Obvious conclusion 1: Staff is most important maintenance asset.
4. Obvious conclusion 2: As HNSA total spending averages $368,200/ship, major projects cannot be funded out of current operating income
o-Some smaller ships save for major projects
o-Many ships use long-term borrowings for moderate size projects
o-Major projects require extensive fund-raising and grants. Operating incomes cannot support even long-term debt service for such projects


1. Almost all museum ships expend "capital", i.e., rely on using the remaining service life of the structure and/or equipment, to put off/delay being forced into major maintenance projects.

2. Maximize the impact of the ship's staff:

o-More advanced maintenance techniques (long-lived coatings)
o-Adopting appropriate industry/Navy practice, i.e., impressed current cathodic protection
o-Recognizing and using long-standing "good practices," (electrically ground ship to shore).
o-Interior Heat: Often an effective interior preservative.

3. Maintenance activities can be broken down into at least four categories:

1. Current maintenance. This includes day-to-day activities, such as janitorial functions, spot repairs, to periodic equipment greasing.
2. Long term maintenance. This can cover long term actions such as impressed cathodic protection of the underwater hull to a total repaint of major sections of hull or superstructure.
3. Rehabilitation. This can cover the repair/upgrade of equipment, systems or spaces needed to operate the ship in her museum/memorial role. Examples: Modernization of public heads, upgrade of 40 mm gun mounts,and rearrangement of berthing spaces to accommodate overnight groups.
4. Restoration. This covers returning spaces, systems, equipment to original configuration and/or appearance. Examples: reinstallation of deck gun on board COD, recreation of accurate compartment painting schemes on board TEXAS, rebuilding of bow-chain locker structure on board PAMPANITO.

Comment: Categories are not self-exclusive. 2, 3, and 4 will impact short term maintenance and in many cases are undertaken to minimize short term requirements. Long Term, rehabilitation, and restoration projects should be the result of a Long Range planning process as carefully considered and developed by management. Developing the Long Range Plan, projects will be categorized as:

o-Ship staff accomplish.
o-Beyond Ship Staff capability: contractor assistance required at berthing site.
o-Contractor accomplishment required at contractor's industrial (shipyard) location. VERY RARE.
Develop projects of Long Range Plan from
o-Baseline records
o-KEEP GOOD, DETAILED records of what, when, how, and why you did, or
Establish your baseline, develop projects, and
KEEP YOUR RECORDS. Good records slow the re- invention of the wheel.


1. How the ship is berthed. There are 4 basic types of berthing

o- High and Dry: Example DRUM, U-505
o-Fully afloat. Variant is partial/full grounding at low water. Examples: DD-661, 850; BB-35, 59; CV-11 (until 2007)
o-Aground: Additional liquids introduced to keep ship on bottom during normal conditions. Grounded ships will float during high water conditions.
Examples: BB-55, 60; (Before 1989) BB-35; CVT-16
o-Embedded in ground, or above ground.


o-High and Dry best for ship; very expensive.
o-Fully Afloat next: subject to normal corrosion, can fill and sink; expensive berthing
o-Aground: same problems as fully afloat: also, structural strain; more external corrosion; physical erosion; extensive internal corrosion; difficult to move; difficult to hold in place when floats during storm/high water; more difficult damage control/recovery; physical destruction a real possibility; much less expensive berthing as significant mooring facilities are usually omitted (the reason for placing the ship aground).
o-Embedded in ground: most of same problems as aground; also "invisible idiot": out-of-sight, out-of-mind; almost assured long term physical destruction; least expensive berthing.
o-Initial berthing decision almost always dictated by then-current financial considerations with little thought to long-term physical implications
o-Today, berthing conditions contribute significantly to director's worry quotients
o-KIDD and ALBACORE are wildly successful exceptions

3. Electrical and Electrical Grounding

1. Ground each vessel to the shore.
o-Do not rely on gangways, mooring wires, chains, or mooring pilings/spuds to do job. Very high to infinite resistance.
o-Use at least 4/0 ground cable.
o-Destroyers and larger, use several cables, my recommendation is about 200 feet apart, to electrically ground ship.
2. Switchboard Ground Indicator lights are a necessary tool. Buy the bulbs and use the indicator lights.
o-Uncorrected grounds aboard ship: Ship is committing suicide.
o-Grounds fight with impressed cathodic protection system, when installed.
o-Staff Electrician is most important maintenance position aboard ship. He has to be knowledgeable and active.

4. Hull Construction

1. Hulls are not created equal
o-Shell plate generally thickest at keel (A-strake) and thins up to heavy strakes again at sheer and covering full load waterline
o-HNSA ships are very light, and flotation waterline often hits on thinnest shell plates: Examples:
BB-59, 60: Full load waterline plate: 1.25 inches. Present flotation waterline: 0.5 inches.
DD-850, 537, 793, 661, 724: Full load waterline plate: 0.75 inches. Present flotation waterline: 0.312 or 0.281 inches
BB-55: External armor belt between turrets.
BB-35: Entire underwater body plated with 0.625 or 0.500 inch plate near ends.
CA-139: external armor belt between turrets
2. Many corrosion problems experienced because corrosion is most active due to wave action to four to five feet below the surface. In this area corrosion protection is achieved essentially from coatings, or a non-original protective sheathing/doubling.
o-Coating protection achieved from intact coatings
o-On non-floating ships, the waterline corrosion area is expanded by the rise and fall of the water level.
DO NOT FORGET the internal corrosion due to bimetallic galvanic action in flooded tanks, and probable sulfite-reducing bacteria.
o-Impressed cathodic protection is essentially unable to protect the 4-5 foot oxygenated layer strip or, on a non-floating ship, additional plate affected by rising or falling water.

5. When a Shipyard is Necessary

Do your homework. You will need to know:
o-Ship's length, beam, air-draft (maximum height above the waterline as she is now, and if it can be reduced), and floatation draft: Do propellers (WWII destroyers,4 ft-9 inches) or sonar domes (up to 7 feet) extend below the keel line. This is important. If there are any doubts, get a diver.
o-Condition of berth, afloat or aground, what it will take to move vessel to the navigation channel;
o-Obstacles between you and the shipyard:
bridges (air-draft beneath); channel depths; any locks and/or canals and their restrictions (Corps of Engineers). If the berth needs dredging, you need the Corps and local government environmental groups. There are processes to be gone through and they will not be hurried because of the extensive legalities that must be complied with. At least two, maybe more, years ahead of projected movement date may be required. You will normally have to pay for the dredging and spoiling.
o-Very early on you find your best friend, or most implacable opponent until you cooperate, are the Coast Guard Captains of the Ports you start from and will be going to. The Captains will assign you their Marine Inspection Group, who will inspect you to determine your suitability for tow, and what actions are required to make you safe-people and ship-for tow.
o-If the ship does not already have one, you will be required to obtain a Certificate of Admeasurement from Coast Guard Headquarters. A very expensive process for a commercial ship going into service, the Coast Guard will use a simplified process to determine your Gross Registered Tonnage (nothing to do with displacement) that sets the dollar amount of mandatory pollution insurance coverage from the Water Quality Insurance Syndicate (WQIS),as required by the International Marine Pollution (MARPOL) Treaty. Once issued, the Certificate of Admeasurement has an unlimited life. Depending on route, the Coast Guard may also require a Temporary Load Line Certificate for the vessel.
o-The Captains are required to prohibit and prevent your movement until you have met the statutory requirements.
o-Your insurance company. They will tell you about approved
o-Ship Surveyor(s) who will survey the ship and develop work items and equipment lists for accomplishment prior to tow, the tow boats, and the designated port facilities at your destination for suitability and ship safety. The surveyor will do the same thing again for the return trip.
o-NAVSEA. As stipulated in the Donation Contract for a 7306 ship they must approve ship movement, and the suitability of interim berthing. If not a 7306 ship, NAVSEA is not part of the picture.
o-Time to go: Is the ship afloat and will she come out of the berth. Don't guess. It is not amusing to try to violate Archimedes Principle. It has never been done. On a battleship or carrier, the tons-per-inch-immersion starts at 120-plus tons per inch and goes up.

6. Shipyards becoming scarce

1. They may not be able to handle an emergency on your schedule
2. Big ships require big docks; not everyone has one.
3. Small ships with sonar domes require big (deep)docks.
4. 1986, five operational drydocks that could handle KENNEDY available from Canadian Border through New York Harbor, because of sonar dome, draft and blocking requirements. Only one dock (Boston) had a schedule window. Dome removed to minimize future docking constraints. Not removing the propellers,4'-9" below the baseline, was an error.
5. Navy is major repair customer for most yards. Usually,No Navy, no yard.
6. Shipyards with Master Navy Repair Contract
o- By law, Navy gets lowest hourly rate.
o- Yard can bid any price they want on initial fixed price contract.
o- All extra work, beyond bid, is at Navy rates. The hourly charges are the same for lowest paid sweeper to highest paid machinist

7. Traveling shops, without major fixed Facility expense, have same rules but lower hourly rates

8. Drydocks are expensive

o- Costs to activate an inactive dock are very high, and you pay them all:
2. Drydock 3 in Boston being activated for MASSACHUSETTS in 1989: $150-200,000. In 1998 MASSACHUSETTS again had to pay to reactivate the yard and dock.
3. KENNEDY went into an operating dock in 1986.

9. Time on dock is expensive: costs are based Either on displacement tonnage or Gross Registered Tonnage. Minimize time on dock

1. KENNEDY gas freed while waiting for Dock availability.
2. 1989 MASSACHUSETTS gas freed 110 of 126 fuel tanks prior to tow. The effort required four months.
3. TEXAS had to gas free on dock: 258 spaces Required four months before major shell work could start. More than $1,000,000 in extras for dock time and extra tanks.
4. Yard costs vary by geographic area (Navy rates)


1. The Flag, apple pie, motherhood, and memorials

o-Historic ships are industrial enterprises and are regulated as such
o- Violations of Federal Regulations are Federal Crimes
1. Recent Enforcement Actions have included Fines and substantial prison terms: either or both combined.
2. Oil
o-Pollutant and hazardous waste
o-Certificate of Financial Responsibility for pollution Liability (33 CFR 130). Administered by U.S. Coast Guard
o-Applicable to all waterborne craft, 300 GRT and over, navigating U.S. and international waters
o-Permanently moored museum ships exempt, unless
1.Transferring oil to or from ship
2.To be moved in navigable waters
3. 33 CFR 130 defines scope, how to apply: financial responsibility, fees, enforcement, and service of legal process.
o-$10,000 fine for each violation
o-Coast Guard empowerd to deny movement, or vessel operation, in navigable waters of United States
4. Oil spills covered by 40 CFR 300 (Superfund)
o-Planning for spills
o-Response to oil spills


1. Director now must acquire detailed knowledge of subjects that he previously relied on military infrastructure to cover, and fund corrective action.

2. Normal and usual maintenance activities of 40's, 50's, 60's accomplished by a self-sufficient ship's crew are now illegal, and often immoral, if accomplished in old-style manner by a (2007) HNSA ship.

1. Record Keeping becomes very important. You have to know, (your baseline):
o-What was done
o-When it was done
o-What constituents were used
2. In EPA, OSHA matters the legal process often appears reversed:
o-You have to prove what you did was right, or, based on what you did, or found:
o-Show how you plan to protect the public and your workers and mitigate the problem.
3. Many of the now applicable regulations have similar training, certification, and physical monitoring requirements. Added on to mandatory taxes, and whatever employment benefits an organization may have, each employee represents a significant, non-transferable, capital investment.
o-Once trained, can you afford to loose your employees?
o-How do desirable retention goals affect your staff salary/benefit structure? (you've heard this before?)
o-How does your salary/benefit structure affect your ability to maintain your ship (to satisfy Navy, your visitors)?
4. Do, or will, mandatory staff certification/training requirements force you to minimize your staff and rely on outside contractors?
5. An Option: Steady as you go, pay fines as they occur. NOT A GOOD IDEA.
o-Fines are designed to get your attention. They are often per occurrence. These are Federal Crimes.
o-Occurence is often defined as every 24 hours of non-compliance, with each employee involved a separate event. Depending on circumstances,this might include every employee on staff and all volunteers!
o-In addition to Federal problems, there may well be concurrent civil problems.


1. Realistic Long Term Planning requires you know:

o-Where you are-and how you got there- developed From RECORDS
o-Your Plan Goal in an area of concern, and why
o-How you propose to get there-in detail, and when
o-Finally DOCUMENTING the process for the corporate memory, so that the next iteration may begin
2. Many factors impinge on the Plan that may not have been initially technically apparent. It's often not what you want to do as much as it is what you have to do first, before the desired action.
o-Analyses of the problems and proposed solutions may show you the vessel is beyond your organization's capabilities.
o-The Navy already decided that for themselves before the vessel was first made available for donation.
o-Few vessels have true historic significance in the large picture. Do not confuse historic significance with sentimentality or admiration for deeds.
o-Often vessels were acquired due to the "Mallory Factor", named after the British mountaineer who disappeared while climbing Mt Everest in the 1920's, when asked why he wanted to climb Everest answered: because "she (the ship) was there", i.e., available.
3. My conclusion: Fiscal constraints will eventually cause vessels to be "ranked", so that heavy expenditures on a "less valuable" asset does not result in the loss of a more valuable asset, i.e., in museum terms: de-accession. If a 7306 ship, read your contract. Older contracts are different than newer ones, where return to the Government (It does not want the ship) may be very expensive.

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