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Integral step to docking a ship is teamwork

Integral step to docking a ship is teamwork

Story by Michele L Fletcher on 01/15/2019

Derek Watson is a Shop 64 shipwright who has been with the command for six years. For the last four years, he’s been a core member of the docking crewthe team responsible for moving
vessels in and out of dry docks.

Briefly describe your job
Our job starts well before a ship is moved from the pier into the dry dock. We start by planning the dry dock layoutwhere to place the blocks in order to set the ship into place. We’re responsible for establishing line work used for laying out centerline and side blocks which is done using a transit and measurements provided from Structural Engineering and Planning, Code 250.1. Our job also consists of setting concrete keel blocks and building the wood shapes that you see underneath the ship.
When an actual docking is in progress I’m in contact with the Code 740 pier master and the log bronc operators throughout the evolution in order to track the ship’s position. Once the ship crosses the sill, the entrance to the dry dock, the control and responsibility for the ship transfers from the ship to the docking officer until the ship lands on the blocks within the parameters. Once the dock is pumped down the project takes over until the ship undocks.

What do you like about your job at the command?
What I like best is the team of people I work with, the camaraderie between everyone. We work well together, we enjoy our individual personalities and we have fun while working together. We know our job and we perform it well and that’s helped by the fact that we are a team.
What gives you a sense of pride about what you do?
I feel a sense of pride when we successfully return a ship or submarine to the fleet. I know that I did my job the best I could and it contributed to the successful completion.

How does your job benefit the shipyard team and others?
A docking starts and ends with the work our team does. The docking crew is integral to every part of the evolution of a ship undergoing maintenance and repair. When it returns to the fleet, we’ve contributed significantly to the success of the ship and therefore the Navy.
Is there a job or experience that’s particularly memorable to you?
When USS Nimitz (CVN 68) docked earlier this year, it was the first time our docking crew worked together on a carrier docking. We’ve worked together long enough so that everything ran smoothly. Even though it was our first carrier to work together, everything went according to plan and it was a totally successful completion. Knowing we did the very best is rewarding and memorable to me.

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