|View Scanned Page View Entry As Text|
So after you’ve trained your eyes on the Japs, train your eyes on your boat structure. Make it a practice to note any unusual movement of bulkheads, gussets, or stringers. Note, too, any splits you may see in any part of the boat’s structure and call them to the attention of your boat officer. After heavy weather missions, collisions, or severe jolts against a dock or shipside you may find much to report. Cracks in paint around structural members will show movement.
A taut ship is a happy ship, but there is no ship that will become untaut quicker than a PT if you neglect her. You must watch her if you want to keep her taut. You can’t keep her from working, but you can keep her from breaking up. For example, a split bulkhead can be strengthened by battens; joints can be stiffened by setting up on bolts or rivets. You have plans of your boat on board which will show the fastenings. Use your plans for minor repairs by ship’s force. If you follow this procedure you may save an eventual major job by a base force. Note, however, that taking up on fastenings must be done all at once, in one session, and when waterborne.
When tanks, engines, or other equipment are removed and the boat skeleton is exposed, look for signs of weakness; look also for dry rot, the ogre of all wooden vessels in poorly ventilated compartments. Remove the ogre and replace with new wood and plenty of wood preservative.
Keep your vessel well painted. Don’t let the weather get in. a brush full of paint today will keep disintegration away tomorrow. Keep your pain thinned down. Two light coats are better than one heavy coat, and that goes double for the bottom paint, too. Thick, heavy coats will blister and crack.
Your boat’s speed depends to a great extent on the bottom condition. You may have a slow number and not know just by looking at her. Rub her down and speed her up.
Speed looses up to 15 knots have been reported as a result of foul bottoms. If she’s slimy to the touch she needs a scrubbing. You don’t have to haul out to get the slime off. A long handled, stiff bristled brush will do the job.
Melville doesn’t want to have for its motto, “Our Graduates are spread all over the earth” so here’s how you can help. If you ever spill any gasoline overboard while fueling or during any other work don’t even think of starting your engines, main or auxiliary, until the boat is towed away from that spot or until the wind and the sea dissipate the gasoline. The tendency is for the gasoline to accumulate around the hull, particularly the mufflers. There is one case on record where they had to sweep up the pieces of what once had been a bee-utiful PT because some lunkhead started his engines while floating in the middle of that 100 octane stuff. And if you see gasoline around another boat, don’t just sit around waiting to see things pop—find one of the boat officers and tell him about it. Four very serious PT boat fires directly attributable to improperly handled gasoline have recently occurred, so geez, fellows, try to be careful ‘cause it’s no fun to be spread all over the earth with that gal back in Fall River awaitin’.