The United States Shipping Board and the Emergency Fleet Corporation were created to direct and oversee a robust shipbuilding program. Priority was given to building 35 destroyers, hundreds of sea-going tugs, mine sweepers, and submarine chasers. In April 1917, there were 61 shipyards in the U.S., but only 37 could produce steel vessels. Hampered by bad weather, transportation problems, the lack of qualified workers, and personality conflicts, the ship builders must be commended for their speed and efficiency in creating almost from scratch the enormous, combative fleet.
Image: NH 72032: "Team Work Builds Ships", circa WWI. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.