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Shipwright specialisms

The shipwright department had specialisms just like many other trades in the dockyard.

The shipwrights had a department called the Shipwrights Gunnery Shop. They handled all matters relating to gunnery, they worked on all the magazines and all the lockers where the shells or missiles were stowed.

Testing gun in sea conditions on a simulator
Testing gun in sea conditions on a simulator (BDFL)

Shipwright liners had the responsibility for docking ships. They would mark out the docks with blocks. When a ship was dry docked, the water was drained out of the dock and the ship would come to rest on the blocks which had been placed in the bottom of the dock with extreme precision, to allow for any underwater fittings.

Blocks in the bottom of a dock
Blocks in the bottom of a dock (PRDHT)

Shipwright liners were also responsible for testing. They tested the anchor and cable arrangements and internal fittings such as food lifts. Shipwright liners were also in charge of the ship's markings. This included the waterline, the draft marks and pennant numbers. They also worked on the markings for helicopter landings on flight decks.

Shipwrights also built and maintained ships' boats in the boathouses. Ships' boats are used to transport people ashore when the water is too shallow for the ship to dock. They also transfer people between ships or play a part in man overboard rescues.

Shipwrights in number 4 boathouse
Shipwrights in number 4 boathouse (PRDHT)