The Test Of The Watertight Doors


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steve b

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In that book in which i posted on the Images thread, there was also an interesting piece that claimed Thomas Andrews conducted a test of the watertight doors complete with ringing bells while the ship was making its hour plus crossing across the English Channel. This was done so that Andrews could after the test assure the crew that it was in proper working order. Now, not being a man of the sea as many of you here are, but doesnt that seem like a bit of an odd time to conduct those tests? was it done prior to departure at any point? I mean, again im no expert, but that seems like the type of thing that would be done like say a few weeks minimum prior to sailing instead of waiting until the ship was at sea. Am i off base? im interested in knowing what you people in the know could shed light on in this subjec
 

Erik Wood

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Steve,

You are quite right. Tests like that are usually done before sailing. However, the closing of watertight doors and such is done at least once a week when a ship is under way for longer then 7 days. If the Chief Engineer for some reason thinks that there maybe a problem then he could request a test be done. One would assume that if Andrews thought there maybe something wrong that he could have requested a test as well.

Erik
 
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steve b

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That makes it all the more stranger then. If he know there was a problem, then why would the ship have been allowed to sail at all? Ok i see what your saying as i read it, i just thought it was one of those things that was done pre sailing, i wasnt aware it was a weekly process..Thjats actually kind of comforting in a strange way
 

Dave Hudson

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I don't think it's that strange. I'm sure that the doors were tested more than once before sailing. They would have been tested again while at sea merely because it was the maiden voyage. It's kinda like when you test the horn of a new car when you buy it off the lot. You know that it will work and you know it's probably been tested before, but it's still good to test it while the vehicle is in action.
Besides, there is no evidence that there were problems with the doors in the first place. The only incident involving the doors during the sinking was that the door to the Swimming Pool wouldn't shut, but that was a rather insignificant door anyway.

David
 

Cal Haines

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The Fall, 1988 issue of Ship to Shore reprinted the White Star Line "General Regulations" from a copy that belonged to the First Officer of R.M.S Adriatic. The book is dated 1900, but Adriatic went into service in 1907, so the regulations had been in place for a while. Here is what they have to say about tests of watertight doors:

Quote:

GENERAL REGULATIONS

58.--Watertight and Fire Doors.--
When the vessel is at sea all watertight bulkhead and fire doors are to be examined and closed at 10:30 a.m. every day by the Crew, Stewards, &c., at stations, and to remain closed for about five minutes, being opened again at a given signal, and the fact that this has been done is to be entered in the log book and reported in the Commanders report handed in to the Office of the Company at the end of each voyage. ...

ENGINE DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS

72.--Sluice Valves, Watertight Doors, &c.--
The Chief Engineer must see that all sluice valves, cocks, watertight and sluice doors in his department are kept in good working order, and ready for immediate use. The watertight doors in the engine rooms, in the boiler rooms, and shaft tunnels, which are usually kept open, should be ascertained to be in perfect working order and free from obstruction at the beginning of each watch. They must be shut and opened under the eye of the Chief Engineer each day at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m., report being made to the Commander. ...




Perhaps what the book's author witness was one of many routine tests of the doors.

Cal
 
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Hi Steve. I've been involved in new construction and builders trials of during my naval career so I know something about this. Tests of equipment happen all the time during construction and fitting out with the objective being to identify problems and fix them befor you get underway. I've done many an inspection while the USS Comstock was being built and have the writers cramps to this day from all the Quality Deficiency Reports I had to write up to prove it. (Ouch!)

The problen is that each individual test done over a long span of time isn't always revealing about how the completed ship will handle and perform. Sooner or later, you have to take the thing to sea and put everything through the wringer. You cannot, for example, do turning tests or a full power run while tied to the pier. The whole point to builders trials is to evaluate the platform as a whole, identify faults that might not otherwise be apparent and take corrective action befor they have a chance to bite you in the butt. How long this takes depends on what you're testing. A merchent vessel may only take a day, while a more complex vessel like a warship can take from three days to a week.

Been there done that too, long hours, lost sleep and all.
lame.gif


Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Erik Wood

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Cal is once again a great source of knowledge. I wish I had the resources that Cal does. Doors are required to be tested by the Coast Guard during the Quarterly inspection. It is up to each commander to ensure the companies policy is practiced. It is common place for the Chief Engineer to request tests.

Erik
 
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