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Fundamentals of
Naval Science

Ship Characteristics
1. Be familiar with basic ship structure

2. Understand shipboard compartmentation,

terminology, and watertight integrity.

3. Demonstrate an understanding of the

different material conditions of readiness.
Ship Structure Definitions
Hull - The main body of the ship.
Shell Plating - The sides of the hull.
Main Deck - Uppermost deck running
continuously from bow to stern.
Bilge - Intersection of side plating and
bottom plating.
Keel - Backbone of the ship.
Ship Structure Definitions
Frames - Fastened to the keel, running
athwartships. Support the skin
and divide ship into vertical rows
of compartments.
Decks - “Floors” aboard ship. Divide ship
into horizontal rows of
of compartments.
Levels - Similar to decks, located above the
main deck.
Ship Structure Definitions
Weatherdecks - The portion of the main deck
and the upper levels exposed to the
Bulkheads - “Walls” aboard ship.
Overheads - “Ceilings” aboard ship.
Compartments - “Rooms” aboard ship.
Bounded by overheads, bulkheads
and decks.
Hull Reference Terms
Ballast - Weight added to lower part of ship to
help keep her in balance. Either
permanent or controllable (ballast tanks).
Bilge keel - Long narrow fins fitted to both
sides of hull to minimize rolling.
Bulwarks - Vertical extensions above the deck
edge. High enough to keep sailors and
equipment from going overboard.
Hull Reference Terms (cont’d)
Draft - Vertical distance from waterline to
keel. Indicates depth of water needed
for ship to float.
Freeboard - Vertical distance from waterline
to main deck.
Lifelines - Light wire ropes supported by
stanchions. Serve the same purpose as
Hull Reference Terms (cont’d)
Propeller guards- Steel braces protruding from
the hull directly above the propellers.
protect props from striking pier, dock
or other ship.
Stem - The point of the hull and the bow.
Stern - The area on the aft end of the ship
where both sides meet.
Hull Reference Terms (cont’d)
Trim- The relationship between fore and aft
draft. “In trim” “down by the bow” or
“down by the stern.”
List - The athwartships balance of the ship.

Compartment and Deck

Every compartment aboard a ship is given

an identifying alphanumeric symbol which
is marked on a label plate on or near the
entrance. For example:

1 - 123 - 1 - L
Compartment and Deck
Numbering (cont’d)
Deck number : The first component of the
compartment number indicates the deck.
The main deck is numbered “1”, with
decks below numbered 2, 3, 4, 5… Decks
above the main deck are called levels and
are numbered 01, 02, 03… as they go up.

1 - 123 - 1 - L
Compartment and Deck
Numbering (cont’d)
Frame number : The second part of the
compartment number indicates forward
and aft location by using the forwardmost
frame of the compartment as a reference.

1 - 123 - 1 - L
Compartment and Deck
Numbering (cont’d)
Relation to the centerline: The third part of
the compartment number. Zero (0)
indicates a compartment on the centerline
of the ship, with compartments to port
labeled with even numbers, and odd
numbers identifying compartments to
1 - 123 - 1 - L
Compartment and Deck
Numbering (cont’d)
Description of the compartment: Indicates the
use of the compartment.
E - engineering C - ship control (bridge,CIC)
L - living spaces M - ammunition spaces
Q - spaces not otherwise designated
V - voids
1 - 213 - 1 - L
Shipboard Compartmenation
and Watertight Integrity
A ship’s structure is divided into many
watertight compartments in order to maximize
damage control readiness.
Material Conditions of Readiness
X-ray - Least protective condition. Only X
fittings are secured.
Yoke - Moderate protection. X and Y fittings
secured. Set at sea and inport after
working hours.
Zebra - Highest degree of readiness. All X, Y,
and Z fittings are secured. Set during
General Quarters.
Material Conditions of Readiness
Circle X-ray, Circle Yoke, Circle Zebra
These fittings may be opened for short
periods of time while that condition is set, but
must be closed when not in use.

Dog Zebra - Fittings secured during condition

Zebra, also secured during “darken ship”
Material Conditions of Readiness
William - Applies to fittings normally kept
open. Used for maintenance and system
Circle William - Normally kept open, secured
for protection against Chemical,
Biological, and Radiological (CBR)
Review Questions
1. What is the difference between a deck and
a level?
2. What is the number of the main deck?
3. When is material condition Yoke set
throughout the ship?
4. Besides general quarters, when is material
condition Zebra set throughout the ship?
5. What do Circle William fittings protect
Review Questions
6. What are Dog Zebra fittings designed
to do?
7. What is the difference between list and trim?
8. If you were told, “Ensign, go to
compartment 6-132-0-F to get a HT punch,”
where would you go?