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In reply refer to Initials

And No.


Ser. 0125930






Nov 29 1941


1.  The Instructions for the Examination and Entry into United States Ports in Time of War (NDP 1) are issued for the use and compliance of all commands concerned.

2.  NDP 1, Register Numbers 1 to 5000, is effective upon declaration of war or when otherwise directed.

3.  NDP 1 is a secret registered publication.  It is to be transported, handled and accounted for in accordance with U.S. Navy Regulations and the current edition of the Registered Publication Manual.


5.  NDP 1 is not intended for use in aircraft.  When not in use, it is assigned Class B stowage.










    Defensive Sea areas will be established as needed in the approaches and harbors of selected important ports.  Their establishment, pursuant to “Joint Action of the Army and Navy, 1935, establishes legal naval control of the areas specified in Executive Orders of the President.

    Actual naval control of certain harbors may be undertaken, as it has in thepast, previous to the legal steps involved, when necessary for security.  This control may be initiated locally or on order of the Chief of Naval Operations.  Those ports in which naval control has been esta blished will be known hereinafter as ‘controlled ports’.

    In time of war or emergency, it is necessary as a measure of defense at all controlled ports for every incoming vessel of any description whatever to be identified as not hostile before being permitted to pass within the defenses of the port.

    There are two methods by which identification and entry of ships are effected:

        (A)    The Major Warship Procedure.

        (B)   The Merchant Shipping Procedure.

    Designation of “Major War Vessels” and “Minor War Vessels” is given in Appendix “C”.








A.      List of Harbor Entrance Control Posts

B.     List of Coastal Signal Stations

C.      Designation of “Major War Vessels” and “Minor War Vessels”

D.     Communications


AXO                      -  Assistant Examining Officer.

CXO                      -  Chief Examining Officer (Captain of the Port)

H.E.C.P.               -  Harbor Entrance Control Post (Joint Army and Navy watch keepings station)

Major War Vessels           -  Such combatant vessels as are supplied with the “Secret Recognition Signal Memoranda”

Minor War Vessels          -  All war vessels as are not supplied with the “Secret Recognition Signal Memoranda” but instead use the “Display Signal”.

Point of Arrival                  -  A point on the approach route 12 miles from the H.E.C.P. signal station which will be sighted from the direction of approach.

Time of Arrival                  -  Time of arrival at the “Point of Arrival”.  Use standard time of port of destination.

Time of Departure           -  The time at which a ship expects to pass through the inner booms or other defenses.

Display Signal                    -  Furnished minor war vessels for identification

Special signal                     -  Furnished merchant vessels who have passed satisfactory examination which will permit her passage through port defenses.

Secret Recognition Signal Memoranda     -  Used by major warships for identification purposes.

Controlled Port                 -  A harbor or anchorage in which entrance and departure, assignment of berths, and traffic within the harbor or anchorage are controlled by naval and/or military authorities.





Harbor Entrance Control Post (H.E.C.P.)

    1.       There has been, or will be established at all of the fortified harbors of the continental United States, its possessions, at certain specified leased bases, and at specified ports in territory occupied in time of war, a Harbor Entrance Control Post.  Such ports are hereafter designated as a “controlled port”.  This H.E.C.P. is a joint Army and Navy watch keeping station whose mission is “to collect and disseminate information of activities in defensive sea areas ;  to control unescorted merchant shipping in the defensive coastal area; and to make prompt and decisive action to operate the elements of the harbor defenses; in order to deny enemy action within the defensive coastal area”.  There will be an Army and Navy officer continuously on watch at each H.E.C.P. An integral part of the H.E.C.P. is a signal station which may or may not, according to local characteristics, be physically combined with the H.E.C.P.  When it is separated, it will be in communication by land line telephone and voice radio with the H.E.C.P.  For a list of H.E.C.P.’s see Annex “A”.  For a list of Coastal Signal Stations, see Annex “B”.

    2.      So far as the Navy is concerned, the naval watch keeping officer at the H.E.C.P. will be a representative of the naval officer directly responsible for the operation of the local naval defenses of the harbor.

Traffic Control Procedure

    3.       There are two forms of procedure by which this control is exercised at fortified ports.

        (A)    The Major Warship Procedure (British “Private Signal”)

        (B)   The Merchant Shipping Procedure (British Examination Service)

    4.       All U.S. war vessels, and war vessels of allied and associated powers, holding the secret recognition signal memoranda, will follow the Major Warship Procedure.

    5.      All minor U.S. war vessels and allied war vessels not possessing the secret recognition signal memoranda, and merchant shipping, will follow the Merchant Shipping Procedure.

    6.      Ships entering under the Major Warship Procedure will be admitted by the H.E.C.P. through its signal station which will identify these vessels by exchange of the proper recognition signals.

7.      Ships using the Merchant Shipping Procedure will be admitted by the examination Vessel after proper identification determined as laid down in later paragraphs.


8.  To enable the defenses to ascertain whether an approaching ship is a U.S. or allied war vessel, and to avoid delay in the entrance of war ships, particularly where submarine attack has to be guarded against, the following procedure will be followed at


all U.S. controlled ports and such other ports as may be designated.

Notification of Arrival

9.  Major warships anticipating arrival at a controlled port or anchorage will, unless urgent reasons of security prevent, send a “preparatory” message to the responsible officer at the port of arrival, giving the names of the ships due to arrive and the estimate time of arrival at the “Point of Arrival”.

10.  When sailing direct from one port to another, this “preparatory” message should be sent from the port of departure in code by land line or cable.

11.  If a ship (or ships) are proceeding to a port on completion of sea operations, the senior officer of the ships will send the “preparatory” message in code by radio not less than four hours before the time of arrival, unless the risk of breaking radio silence cannot be accepted.

12.  An “amending” message will be sent by the senior officer of a ship (or ships) proceeding to a controlled port, if the ships wish to pass the net or boom defenses, and the time of arrival given in the “preparatory” message is more than fifteen minutes in error.

13.  An “amending” message will also be sent by the senior officer of ships not wishing to pass the boom defenses, or by a Convoy Commander, when the time given in the “preparatory” message is more than one hour in error.

14.  When possible, the “amending” message will be made in plain language by visual through any coastal signal station on the ships route.  The coastal station will encode and forward the message by landline.  If this is not possible, it will be made as early as possible in code by radio, if the risk of breaking radio silence can be accepted.  The “amending” message will take the form of a correction to the original message and will not specify the actual place or time of arrival.

15.  The value of sending of a radio messages described in paragraphs 11, 12, 13 and 14 must be balanced against-

    (a)  The ship being located and identified by radio d/f and information gained from the encoded message even through its contents are not known exactly.

    (b)  The ship being located and attacked by submarines or aircraft taking in the radio transmission.

16.  The responsible officer at the port of arrival will acknowledge all “preparatory” and “amending” messages by land telegraph or cable to the originator and/or the ships concerned, if possible, otherwise by radio.  If ships do not receive acknowledgement of the messages within four hours of their scheduled time of arrival, the ship of the senior officer will repeat the message or messages not acknowledged.  The responsible officer will keep the H.E.C.P.  at the port of arrival informed of all “preparatory” and “amending” messages received.  The H.E.C.P. will notify the Army Commander of Harbor Defenses, the Captain of the Port, the


Examination Vessel, the patrol vessels outside the entrance; will arrange that the gate in the net and boom defenses is open at the required time and that signals are made to the arriving ships before their actual in the harbor, regarding their berths or any other information which all aid their passage up harbor.  When preliminary notification of arrival has not been given, the ship will be challenged by H.E.C.P. and Recognition Signal will be returned.  If two or more ships are in company, only the Senior Recognition Signal, the ship or Senior asks permission to enter harbor.  Ships awaiting permission to enter are not to approach nearer to the port until it is certain that their identity has been established.  They are to take the usual precautions against submarine attack.

Procedure for Identification of Major Warships

17.  The identification of major warships holding the secret recognition signal memoranda will be done by the H.E.C.P. signal station.  In this connection it is pointed out that at some ports there will be coastal signal stations in the harbor approaches that are to seaward of the H.E.C.P. signal station which may “challenge” approaching war vessels before they have been “challenged” by the H.E.C.P. signal station.  These “challenges” should be properly answered if received, but do not eliminate the necessity for a ship properly identifying itself with the H.E.C.P. signal station.

18.  The procedure for identification by the H.E.C.P. signal station is as follows:

19.When a major warship comes within visual signal distance of the H.E.C.P. signal station, the station will make the “challenge”.

20.  The ship of the senior officer will make the “reply” by visual in accordance with the secret recognition signal memoranda.

21.  The “reply” will be acknowledged by the H.E.C.P. signal station.  The naval watch keeping officer at the H.E.C.P. will notify the Army Commander of Harbor Defenses through the Army watch keeping officer, the Captain of the port, the local Senior Naval Officer, the Examination Vessel, and the gate vessels, of the warships’ approach.  Unless otherwise directed by proper authority, the naval watch keeping officer will, after receiving a report that the controlled mine fields are set at “safe” and that the batteries have been instructed not to fire, direct he signal station to grant permission for the ship to enter.

22.  Should the H.E.C.P. signal station not “challenge” as soon as warships come within visual signal distance, the ship of the senior officer will make the “reply” to the station until the “challenge” is made, when the “reply” will be repeated.  It is the duty of the local Senior Naval Officer to insure that the H.E.C.P.


is daily given the “reply” that major U.S. and allied warships should make to a “challenge”.

23.  Ships should not be kept waiting longer than is absolutely necessary, for permission to enter the harbor, as delay may lay them open to risk of submarine attack.

24.  If a warship makes the improper “reply”, the H.E.C.P. signal station immediately hoists the signal “stop instantly” and informs the naval watch keeping officer at the H.E.C.P. who through the Army watch keeping officer informs the Army Commander of the Harbor Defenses, the gate vessels, the local Senior Naval Officer, and the Examination Vessel.  If the ship falls to obey this signal she will be assumed to be hostile.  The responsibility for opening fire with the shore batteries rests with the Army.

Submarines and Motor Torpedo Boats

25.  It is conceivable that situations may arise when the entrance of submarines and motor torpedo boats (or other high speed small surface craft) will be denied at night or during fog.

Navigation Lights

26.  In the event that a harbor is “blacked out” at the time of entry of warships, navigation lights, except the stern light, will be shown only by the leading ship of a squadron or group and by all ships entering singly.  The point at which navigation lights are to be switched on will be decided by the Commanding Officer of the ship concerned.

Net or Boom Gate Signals

27.  To enable ships to know whether the net or boom gate is open or shut, and, if open, whether for outgoing or incoming traffic, the gate vessels will show he following signals:

    (a)  If for Outgoing Traffic:  The port hand vessel for ships going to sea – one black ball by day, one red light by night, and W by sound signal in thick weather.  The starboard hand vessel – one black cone by day, one green light at night, and K by sound signal in thick weather.

    (b)  If for Incoming Traffic:  The port hand vessel for ships entering the harbor – two black balls by day, two red lights at night, W by sound signal followed by a long blast in thick weather.  The starboard hand vessel – two black cones by day, two green lights at night, and K by sound followed by a long blast in thick weather.

Merchant Shipping Procedure

28.  The examination of merchant vessels entering a controlled port is an integral part of the defensive organization of the port.  But it should be understood here that this procedure in no way concerns the recognition and entry of those U.S. warships or other vessels which are provided with the secret recognition signal memoranda.


29.  The principal purpose for examination of the merchant vessel is to determine its identity and to ascertain its character and intentions, in order that the defenses may have warning of the attempted entry of suspicious or unfriendly ships.  The examination personnel may also serve certain subsidiary purposes, that is, to issue warnings against unauthorized use of radio, warning masters to comply with any local regulations and furnish the master with any special instructions that may be immediately applicable to his current visit in the port.

30.  It is essential for both military and economic reasons that delay in the movement of entry, involved by examination, be reduced to the minimum.

31.  The control of traffic entering the port by the institution of an examination before entrance shall normally be inaugurated only on orders from the Chief of Naval Operations.  However, should an emergency situation arise which, in the opinion of the Commandant of the district, requires he inauguration of such control before approval can be obtained from the Chief of Naval Operations, he may establish the examination vessel and advises the Chief of Naval Operations.

32.  Essential requirements for conducting an examination are:

    (a)  An examination anchorage.

    (b)  One or more examination vessels which may or may not be armed.

    (c)  Examination officials and enlisted personnel.

    (d)  An examination battery and, if necessary, a supporting battery.

    (e)  Armed guards for suspicious vessels.

33.  At all fortified ports and at such naval bases and occupied ports abroad, as may be designated, which are garrisoned by the Army, the Navy is responsible only for (a), (b) and (c) of the foregoing requirements and for applying traffic regulations and for applying traffic regulations.  The Army is responsible for (d) and the designation of the examination battery by the Army for any port should form a part of the Local Joint War Plans.  (e) will be provided by either Army or Navy in accordance with arrangements made between local Army and Navy authorities.

Procedure for Identification of Merchant Shipping

34.  Incoming vessels must, under the Merchant Shipping Procedure, normally be admitted to the Examination anchorage when this is situated outside the net or boom defenses, at all times of the day or night.  Circumstances may demand that a departure be made from this normal procedure, vessels being admitted to the examination anchorage only in daylight and in clear weather.

35.  A vessel which is anchored in the examination anchorage must not leave it without permission from the Examination Officer.

36.  The detailed procedure to be followed with incoming vessels must vary at different ports according to local conditions, that is geographical, defensive, etc.


37.  Governing conditions are:

    (a)  Vessels should not be exposed to submarine attacks by being “brought-to” for examination in open waters, if this can be avoided.

    (b)  Boarding, when carried out, must take place far enough to seaward to enable the vessel to be dealt with by the examination battery should she prove unsatisfactory.

    (c)  Arrangements must be made for putting pilots on board where this is necessary.

Incoming Merchant Vessels

38.  On a merchant vessel approaching the port, the examination steamer will close her and signal either “stop instantly” or “follow me”.  If she is identified, the Examining Officer after satisfying himself as to her character will, if the port is opened, give her the special signal and allow her to proceed inward with as little delay as possible.  If the port is closed, he will direct her remain in the examination anchorage or proceed to sea.  The H.E.C.P. signal station on seeing a vessel flying the special signal will inform the naval watch keeping officer at the H.E.C.P. and he will direct that the net or boom gates be opened for passage of the vessel.

39.  If an approaching vessel disregards the signals made to her by the examination vessel, the latter will inform the H.E.C.P. which will request the Army Commander, Harbor Defenses, through the Army watch keeping officer to have the examination battery “bring-to” the vessel with the shot across her bow.

40.  If the approaching vessel is not identified, she will be directed to proceed to the examination anchorage where her papers will be examined, the master will be questioned as to his proceedings, intentions, etc., and the necessary examination of the vessel will take place.  Should papers prove to be correct and inquiries on the part of the Examining Officer remove all doubt from his mind as to the innocent character of the vessel, the vessel will then be given the special signal and allowed to proceed, the pilot being put on board when necessary.

41.  Among the grounds for regarding a merchant vessel as suspicious are:

    (a) Unexpected arrival, especially in home waters, where all arrivals should be notified in advance.      

    (b) General build of the vessel incompatible with the declared nationality.

    (c) Any unusual features in the hull or superstructure.

    (d) Boats unusual in class, size and number.

    (e) Considerable basic cargo not available for ready examination.

    (f) Unusual number of crew for size and class of vessel.

    (g) Appearance of crew incompatible with their supposed nationality.

    (h) Draft of the vessel incompatible with nature and quantity of cargo as declared, and with supposed length of voyage.


    (i) Outward appearance of regular trader but musters and officers not known to examining vessel.

    (j) Regular trader arriving after an unusual long absence and unable to show good cause for this absence.

    (k) Current regulations regarding search have not been observed (U.S. or Allied ports).

42.  The examining officers should be warned of the possibility of vessel being fitted with mine laying arrangements, or submerged torpedo tubes, or otherwise prepared for hostile action such as blocking, and they should be directed to exercise the greatest vigilance in dealing with suspicious vessels, the chief consideration being that they should not be allowed to proceed to any positon where they can do material damage, or land troops or tanks.

43.  If a suspicious vessel is brought to an inner examination anchorage inside of the net or boom defenses, or otherwise inside of a harbor area, she should be directed to anchor where she can do the least damage in the event she proves hostile.  In the event of a vessel being suspicious and necessitating a detailed search and possibility partial unloading of her cargo, the decision will rest with the Examining Officer as to whether she will remain in the outer examination anchorage or be taken to a more protected anchorage inside of the net or boom defenses.  In any event, the Examining Officer will inform the H.E.C.P. of the situation.  The naval watch keeping officer, through the Army watch keeping officer, will inform the Army Commander of Harbor Defenses, and the Examination battery and Captain of the Port.  Arrangements will be made by the Captain of the Port for providing and placing the necessary armed guard on board a suspicious vessel to insure no hostile action being committed while at anchor in the examination anchorage to a berth or inner examination anchorage in the harbor.

44.  One of the guns of the examination battery should be kept trained on an incoming vessel regarded suspicious until an armed guard has taken charge of her.  During her detention, a suspicious vessel will be given a special day and night signal to be exhibited for identification by the covering battery.

45.  A merchant vessel is to be regarded as hostile when:

    (a) She refuses to be “brought-to” by the Examination Battery.

    (b) She is observed committing an undoubtedly hostile act.

    (c) Violence is shown to the Examining Officer.

    (d) Flagrant disobedience of the orders given by the Examining Officer.

46.  If a vessel attempts to proceed inward beyond the Examination Anchorage or other specified limit without showing the special signal, the naval watch keeping officer at the H.E.C.P. will request that she be “brought-to” by the examination battery, this request being transmitted through the Army watch keeping officer.


47.  Should the Examination Vessel be unable, due to bad weather, to maintain her station, the port should normally be closed.  Under these circumstances, merchant vessels would anchor in Examination Anchorage or remain at sea.  It is obviously undesirable, however, to delay transports, hospital ships, and merchant ships of undoubtedly friendly character, particularly if their arrival has been notified in advance, and the authority responsible for closing the port may therefore, at his discretion, order such ships by signal to enter, having due regard to the circumstances.

Lights to be displayed by Merchant Vessels in Convoy when approaching Examination Anchorages at Night.

48.  Merchant vessels in convoy may be directed to show two red lights, horizontally, until the Examining Officer orders them turned off.  Necessary orders to the convoy must be given by the escorting vessels.

Vessels in Tow

49.  Should a vessel approach the port with another vessel in tow, the character of each vessel must be ascertained.

Examining Officer’s Log

50.  Particulars of every vessel dealt with and the action taken are to be entered in the Examining Officer’s log by the officer who carries out the examination.  In the case of vessels not boarded, the senior Examining Officer on board is responsible for recording the vessel.

The Object and Constitution of the Organization for Examination of Shipping

51.  The examination of vessels entering a fortified harbor or certain other specified harbors is one of the functions of the Captain of the Port (normally an officer of the Coast Guard), related to and an integral part of his larger responsibility for harbor security.  It has to do with the determination of the characteristics of a vessel, her cargo, with a view to preventing entrance into the harbor any vessel which might be fitted with entrance into the harbor of any vessel which might be fitted with concealed weapons of any nature which could be used for attack against the shipping of the harbor or any of the harbor facilities.

52.  The examination of vessels at any harbor will be inaugurated upon orders of the Chief of Naval Operations.  When it is established, the District Commandant will inform the Chief of Naval Operations who in turn will advise the forces afloat.

Examination Anchorages

53.  At each fortified port, or other specified controlled port, an anchorage called the “Examination Anchorage” must be assigned for the purpose of detaining vessels for examination.  The position of this anchorage should be covered by the following conditions wherever possible:


    (a)  It should be sheltered from prevailing winds.  Wherever practicable, it should be the same anchorage for all weathers.  If the latter is not practicable, an alternative anchorage must be assigned.  It may be necessary in some localities to have an “outer” and an “inner” examination anchorage.  The “outer” anchorage should be to seaward of the nets, booms, seawall or other obstruction and in such a position that there would be ample time for the defenses to deal with a vessel leaving the “outer” anchorage with hostile intent before she could reach an objective such as the net or boom gate or waters where the fact navigation of the port or approaches.  The “inner” anchorage should be inside the net, boom, sea-wall or other obstruction.  The “outer” and “inner” anchorages should be used as necessary having due disguised merchant vessels with hostile intent and, to the safety of friendly shipping.  At some ports where these previously mentioned obstructions exist it may be found that two anchorages are not practicable.  In such cases, it will be necessary to arrive at shipping and the safety of the port.  If local conditions permit, a position outside the boom or obstruction is desirable.

    (b)  The whole anchorage should be covered by the fire of examination batteries and should be capable of illumination by defense searchlights.  In localities where this cannot be completely realized, it must be located so that its exits will be covered by the fire of examination batteries and at least a sufficient portion of it illuminated by defense searchlights, were ships remaining in the anchorage during hours of darkness may be berthed and adequately illuminated.

    (c)  It must be clear of submarine cables and underwater defenses.

    (d)  As a general rule, it is undesirable that the limits of examination anchorages should be published as this will give useful information to the enemy, both of likely targets and of areas clear of mines.  The Public Traffic Regulations for a harbor can eliminate the necessity for this by directing the line of approach to a harbor which will lead incoming vessels to the examination anchorage.

Examination Vessels

54.  Vessels assigned to service as Examination Vessels may be any type suitable to keep the sea in the examination area.  These vessels may or may not be armed according to the situation existing in the locality where they are stationed.  It should be equipped with motor or pulling boats suitable for boarding work in moderate to bad weather, with means of hoisting in and out promptly in a seaway.  Her mast should be high enough to carry the flags or lanterns denoting her character and fitted for exhibiting display signals.  She should also have a means of making sound signals by whistle or siren and visual signals both by day and by night.  Examination Vessels will be fitted with voice radio or


other radio equipment.  Her accommodations should be adequate for the examination personnel and, if necessary, pilots in addition to the crew.

55.  The Examination Vessel will carry out her duties in or near the Examination Anchorage, taking care not to lose communication with Examination Battery.  At ports where, owing to the Examination Anchorage being some distance from the entrance, one Examination Vessel cannot efficiently carry out her duties from a position in or near the anchorage, it may be necessary to have patrol vessels assist, particularly if a controlled mine field is involved.

56.  Unless prevented by weather conditions, the Examination Vessel should be at her post all all times of the day and night, whether the port is open or closed in order in order to see that the regulations are strictly carried out and to give notice of any irregularities.  If she is not on station she should be ready to proceed to her station in all weathers in order that all vessels requiring examination before entrance should not be delayed unless delay is unavoidable.  If the Examination Officer cannot board an approaching vessel, due to weather conditions, it would be at the discretion of the local Senior Naval Officer to order the latter in by signal if he is satisfied as to her friendly identity, otherwise she must anchor or remain at sea until the weather moderates.

57.  Examination Vessels are distinguished by the following means:  By Day – the Union Jack flying at the truck.  When the port is closed they will hoist three red balls vertically, in addition, at the yard arm.

58.  By Night – three lights vertically six feet apart conspicuously displayed at the yard arm so as to show an unbroken light around horizon.  When the port is open these lights will be white; when it is closed they will be red, but only two in number.  The above lights are to be carried in addition to the ordinary navigation lights, and must be displayed in such a manner as not to be confused with the masthead lights.  The display at night will, however, be governed by whatever measure of of lighting restriction is in force.

Examination  Batteries

59.  The Examination Battery is for the purpose of supporting the Examination Vessel and will be designated by the Army Commander of Harbor Defenses.  It should be in constant readiness to “bring-to” vessels which fail to comply with orders of the Examination Vessel and largely to enforce obedience to the restrictions imposed in the procedure for conducting the examination of entering vessels.

60.  The guns of the Examination Battery should always be manned and ready for immediate action.  A gun should be kept trained on an incoming vessel until she has hoisted the correct “special signal” which signal will indicate that she has been passed as friendly by the Examining Officer or that she has been placed in


charge of an armed guard.  A few pounds of plugged shell should be kept available near the gun to “bring-to” vessels, but separate from the service ammunition, so that there may be no danger of confusing them.

61.  The Examination Battery should keep a station watch on the Examination Vessel and on merchant vessels entering the port.  All officers and enlisted men manning the Examination Battery should know the position and limit of the Examination Anchorage, mine-fields, net or booms, dangerous areas, prohibited anchorages, etc.

62.  The responsibility for opening fire with the Examination Battery or any other shore battery manned by the Army rests with the Army but the H.E.C.P. or the Examination Vessel may request the proper Army authorities to open fire with the Examination Battery, or other batteries, if such is deemed necessary to enforce the regulations for the control of traffic entering the port.  A request to “bring-to” a vessel should unhesitatingly be made under the following circumstances.

    1.  If the incoming vessel disregards the orders signaled to her by the examination steamer.

    2.  Should a vessel disregard a warning shot across the bow, the Examination Battery should open fire with shell on her and this should be a signal for other batteries to open fire also.  It should be borne in mind that in some ports it is difficult to stop an incoming ship on a flood tide.  If this tidal situation exists and if doubt exists, the battery should not open fire until the Examination Vessel makes the alarm signal prescribed in paragraph 68.

63.  It is presumed that the Army will take the necessary steps to engage without first “bringing-to” any vessel recognized to be a hostile nature.

64.  The Examination Vessel will maneuver to keep clear of the line of fire of the Examination Battery.

Communication Between Examination Vessels, Examination Batteries, And Harbor Entrance Control Posts

65.  It will not, as a rule, be necessary for other than prearranged signals to pass between the Examination Vessels and the Examination Battery regarding the character of incoming vessels.  However, means of communication by semaphore, flashing light, radio telephone, and sound (fog horn, whistle, or siren) are available.

66.  In order to make certain that messages between the Examination Vessel and the Examination Battery are clearly understood, the following procedure is to be followed:

By Day – International “Z” is to be hoisted by Examination Vessel and by Examination Batteries when either one is calling the other


By Night –-The Examination Vessel and Examination Battery will mutually call each other by a succession of “Z”s’ which is to be answered by a succession of “Z”s.

67.  If an Examination Vessel wishes the examination battery to “bring-to” an incoming vessel, she will:

By Day –- Hoist 2 pennant (International Code) and make a succession of 2’s by flashing and sound signal.

By Night –- Burn a blue light and make a succession of 2’s by flashing and sound signal.  This signal will indicate only that the incoming vessel being dealt with is disregarding orders and that the Examination Vessel requests that she be “brought to”.

68.  Should any hostile action on the part of a merchant vessel or her crew be observed by the Examining Officers, and should time and opportunity not permit signaling the fact by ordinary means, the following signals are to be used:

By Day – Hoist 8 pennant (International Code) and make a succession of 8’s by flashing and sound signal.

By Night – Fire green Verys light or green rocket and make succession of 8’s by flashing and sound signal.

These signals should be regarded as alarm signals, and should therefore be used only in cases of great urgency where the vessel observed is undoubtedly hostile.  They should at once draw the fire of the Examination Battery on the vessel and the Examination on the vessel and the Examination Vessel should keep out of the line of fire from it and other batteries.

69.  Should it be necessary for an alarm signal to be made by the boarding examining officer, or by men in his boat alongside the vessel repeating the signal by the same means.  The battery, however, should not wait for such repetition.

70.  In order to minimize damage, should fire be opened on a ship which subsequently is found to be friendly, the following signal will be made by the Examination Vessel for “cease firing”:

By Day – Hoist 4 pennant (International Code) and make a succession of 4’s by flashing and sound signal.

By Night – Make a succession of 4’s by flashing and sound signal; the flashing to be made on the largest signaling lantern available.

71.  Other local signals may be laid down in the confidential traffic regulations to distinguish which of two or more ships are referred to by the signals in paragraphs 67 to 70 inclusive.  Such indicating letters should be made to the Examination Battery prior to the order to “open fire”.


72.  Ports may be closed to all or certain classes of vessels when the safety of the port or the exigencies of the service require, but as a general rule they should never be closed to minor war vessels, fleet auxiliaries, military transports and hospital ships.

73.  At ports where controlled mine fields are laid as a protection for ships in the harbor against submarine attack, it is usually necessary in thick weather either to put the mine field to “safe” or to close the port to all classes of vessels.  This must be taken into account when framing the traffic regulations and deciding when to close the port.

74.  Some of the occasions for closing the port may be:

    (A)  Night

    (B) Fog  – As a general rule this advisable at Naval ports and may be extended to all ports in areas in which enemy raids are threatened.

    (C)  --- Temporary suspension of the examination service due to bad weather, mishap of the examination vessel, etc.

    (D) --- Approach mined or obstructed.

Authority for closing the port is vested in the Local Senior Naval Officer.

75.  Before declaring a port closed the risk of hostile submarines or air activity must be weighed against the security to be gained.  This applies especially where the examination anchorage is not protected by net or boom defense or when due to bad weather the examination vessel is unable to remain on station.

76.  The following universal signals indicate that a port is closed, and that merchant vessels are not permitted to proceed inward of Examination Anchorage or any other defined area.

    By Day –- 3 red balls to be hoisted vertically by the Examination Vessel.  This signal may also be displayed from lighthouses, light vessels or other positions ashore or afloat appropriately located to be observed by incoming vessels.

    By Night –- 2 red lights in placed of the 3 white lights which are normally the examination vessel’s distinguishing lights.  This signal may also be displayed from other appropriately located positions as indicated for day.  Display of these lights at night will, however, be governed by whatever lighting restrictions are in force.

Display Signal and Special Signal

77.  The entry of ships which must be examined before entering, is based on their identification to the batteries by means of:

    (A)  The Display Signal held by all minor war vessels.


    (B)  The Special Signal given to merchant vessels which have been inspected and passed by AXO.

The Display Signal for each day is made up locally and consists of the following:

    By Day – A combination of two of the following shapes hoisted vertically:

        Cone – point up

        Cone Ball – point down

    By Night – A combination of two of the following colored lights hoisted vertically and flashed:




78.  The Special Signal by day will be a combination of International Code flags.  It may be changed as often as necessary and, if considered advisable, need not be the same for consecutive ships.  An arrangement which has been found to work satisfactorily is to use a code letter as the first letter, and the consecutive of a selected word in rotation as the second letter of the special signal.  The code letter and the selected word can be changed as often as considered necessary.  Care must be taken that no letter is duplicated.

    The Special Signal by night consists of an arrangement of 4 vertical lights, red and white, hoisted in a conspicuous place on board the incoming vessel; this signal must be changed every night, and as often during the night as considered necessary.  As merchants ships usually have on board two red and two white lights, the Special Signal by night will consist of one of the following combinations:

White                                    White                                         Red                                                    White                                               Red                                     Red                              
White Red White Red Red White
Red Red Red White White White
Red White White Red White Red

Care must be taken to employ no combination for which there may be some local recognized signification.

79.  The Captain of the Port will see that the Examination Battery and Vessel and all persons concerned are informed of these signals and any changes which are made in them.

80.  Examining Officers are responsible that the correct Special Signal is hoisted, and are to warn incoming vessels to shake out the flags of the Special Signal on still days, so that they may be clearly visible to the Examination Battery.  They should also direct that the lights of the special signal by night are hoisted where they will not be obscured by smoke.  The Special Signal must remain displayed by the incoming ship until she has passed beyond the fixed defenses.  It is the duty of the examining officer to warn the master when to lower the signal.


81.  The entry of local fishing boats, etc., unprovided with flags or lanterns with which to make the Special Signal should be controlled by special regulations.

Personnel Assigned to Conduct Examination of Vessels

82.  The personnel assigned to the conduct of examination of incoming vessels which are required to be examined before entry are a part of the organization under the jurisdiction of the Captain of the Port.  This personnel, including the Captain of the Port, should, so far as it is practicable, be Coast Guard personnel because of their greater familiarity and knowledge of shipping in general and particularly that of entering the port.

83.  The Examining personnel consists of the Captain of the Port (Chief Examining Office – CXO) and such other officers (Assistant Examining Officers – AXO) as required, augmented if necessary by enlisted personnel to assist in the conduct of actual examination, and armed guards for vessels requiring them.  One or more of the Assistant Examining Officers and such enlisted assistants as necessary must be continuously on duty in the Examination Vessel.  Armed guards may be provided by Army authorities, or they may be Navy personnel according to mutual agreement locally between the Army and Navy authorities.


84.  Pilotage should normally be made compulsory for all merchant vessels from the Examination Anchorage or other prescribed limits inland.

Notices to be Issued on the Enforcement of the Merchant Shipping Procedure

85.  On the Merchant Shipping Procedure being put into force, the following should be at once issued:

(A)  Public Traffic Regulations.

(B)  If considered necessary, an individual notice to ship-owners and shipping agents calling attention to the main points of the Public Traffic Regulations.

(C)  Notice to Mariners.

Incoming Minor War Vessels

86.  The Examination Vessel will close any unidentified minor war vessel which approaches and will employ the “challenge” procedure similar to that laid down for H.E.C.P. challenging major warships.  The minor war vessel will reply by use of the display signal (see par.77).  The Examination Vessel will keep H.E.C.P. informed of the movements of minor war vessels.

87.  Should the examination vessel not be on station, H.E.C.P. may challenge in her place.


88.  Prizes will be in charge of a naval officer and a prize crew.  When accompanied by a U.S. or allied major warship,


the Examination Vessel is not concerned.  When unaccompanied by such a warship, they are to be dealt with as merchant vessels.

Incoming Neutral and Allied War Vessels, and Hostile War Vessels Bearing Flags of Truce

89.  It is highly improbable that any neutral war vessels will, in time of war, approach a controlled port without previous notification.  If circumstances render it necessary for a neutral war vessel to enter a controlled port, H.E.C.P. should be informed of her characteristics, expected time of arrival, etc.  Such vessels are to be identified in the same manner as merchant vessels, and may be passed in by day.  They should not be admitted by night without special permission of the Local Senior Naval Officer.

90.  Allied war vessels not supplied with U.S. Recognition Signal, are identified and admitted by the Examining Officer.

91.  A hostile war vessel desiring to treat under a flag of truce would probably lie off outside  gun range of the port, and either send in a boat or wait until one is sent out to her or until communication is established by signal with the shore.

92.  In the event of her continuing to approach the port, the signal, “stop instantly” should be made to her, both from H.E.C.P. and the Examining Vessel, a projectile being fired across her bow if signal is disregarded.  Failing then to stop, she should be treated as hostile.

93.  At ports used by fishing fleets and other small craft in large numbers, special arrangements should be made for their entry.  They should all be identified before being allowed to proceed up harbor.  For this purpose, it may be found advisable to have special launces to assist the Examining Vessel at certain hours of the day.

94.  In order to facilitate the entry of fishing or other small vessels where their numbers are large, it is recommended that the Examining Vessel carry a member of the fishing community, or other person, who can identify the masters of such vessels.  It is further recommended that inshore fishing vessels be given a special signal changed periodically, to be flown continuously whilst within the controlled area.  This will not exempt them for closing the Examination Vessel or launch before being allowed to proceed into harbor.

95.  In this connection, small boats and craft up to 40 tons gross, fishing the waters close to their home port or fishing base and being seldom more than 24 hours at sea, are known as Inshore Fishing Vessels.  All others are defined as Deep Sea Fishing Vessels.

96.  Deep Sea Fishing vessels will be subject to the examination in force for merchant vessels.






DISTRICT    STATION                     LOCATION                                GEOGRAPHICAL COORDINATES REMARKS        
1 HECP Argentia Newfoundland   To Be Est.
1 HECP Portland Fort Williams

Lat.43-37-15 N

Long. 70-13-00 W.

1 HECP Portsmouth Ex-Coast Gd. Station

Lat. 43-02-30N

Long. 70-42-00 W.

1 HECP Boston Fort Dawes

Lat. 42-21-30 N.

Long. 70-57-30 W.

1 HECP Newport Beavertail

Lat. 41-27-00 N.

Long. 71-24-00 W.

3 HECP Fishers Isl. Fort H.G. Wright

Lat. 41-15-22.8 N.

Long. 72-01-23.9 W.

3 HECP Staten Isl. Fort Wadsworth

Lat. 40-36-15 N.

Long. 74-03-22 W.

4 HECP Delaware Cape Henlopen

Lat. 38-47-39 N.

Long. 75-05-32 W.

5 HECP Norfolk Just Outside Fort Story

Lat. 36-55-48 N.

Long. 76-00-42 W.

6 HECP Charleston Fort Moultrie

Lat. 32-45-33 N.

Long. 79-51-31-W.

7 HECP Key West Key West   To Be Est.
8 HECP Santa Rosa Island Fort Pickens

Lat. 30-19-30 N.

Long. 87-17-30 W.

8 HECP Galveston, Texas Fort Point

Lat. 29-20 N.

Long. 94-44-37 W.

To Be Est.
10 HECP San Juan San Juan, P.R.

Lat.18-28 N.

Long. 66-07 W.

DISTRICT STATION                       LOCATION                 



11 HECP California San Diego

Lat. 32-40-19 N.

Long. 117-14-24 W.

11 HECP California San Pedro

Lat. 33-42-42 N.

Long. 118-17-32 W.

*12 HECP California Station "h" Fort Winfield Scott, San Francisco

Lat. 37-48-08.3 N

Long. 122-28-32.7 W.

13 HECP Columbia River Area Fort Canby   To Be Est.
13 HECP Puget Sound Area Fort Worden

Lat. 48-08-30 N.

Long. 122-46-00 W.

To Be Est
14 HECP Pearl Harbor N.Y.P.H.

Lat. 21-21-11.9 N.

Long. 157-57-26.2 W.

15 HECP Cristobal Fort Sherman

Lat. 9-22-00 N.

Long. 79-57-00 W.

15 HECP Balboa Fort Amador

Lat. 8-55-00 N.

Long. 79-31-00 W.

**16 HECP Manila Bay Fort Mills Corregidor

Lat. 14-22-59 N.

Long. 120-34-23 E.


* There are two (2) Signal Stations connected with HECP San Francisco:

1. Fort Point

2.  Point Bonita   

** Coordinates of Signal Station for HECP Manila Bay:

Lat. 14-23'-59" N.

Long. 120-36'-09" E.   

Except as noted, HECP Signal Station is connected physically with its HECP.




DISTRICT    STATION                         LOCATION                         



1 New Bedford Signal Station (Army) Fort Rodman

Lat.41-36-00 N.

Long. 70-54-00 W.

1 N.O.B. Newport Signal Station Coasters Harbor Island

Lat. 41-30-02 N.

Long. 71-19-06 W.


New York Harbor Approaches

     3       Ship Reporting (U.S.C.G. (Operative) Fort Hancock, N.J.       

Lat. 40-28-16 N. 

Long. 74-00-45 W.      

3 Staten Isl. USN Sec. Base Pier #7 Tompkinsville

Lat. 40-38-10 N.

Long. 74-04-10 W.

3 USCG Ship reporting & control (Operative) Throgs Neck, N.Y.

Lat. 40-48-17 N.

Long. 73-47-27- W


Eastern Approaches to Long Island Sd.

3           USA Ship reporting                               Fort Nichie Great Gull Island

Lat. 41-12-05.7 N. 

Long. 72-07-10.8 W.   

3 USA Ship reporting Ft. Terry Plum Isl.

Lat. 41-11-08.3 N.

Long. 72-11-13.4 W.

3 USN Section Base - Ship Reporting & Control State Pier New London, Conn.

Lat. 41-21-33 N.

Long. 72-05-27 W.


New York Harbor Approaches

    3       USCG - USN Ship Reporting & Control Spermacetti Cove, N.J.       

Lat. 40-25-36 N.

Long. 73-59-06 W.

3 USCG - Ship Control and Speaking Station Romer Shoal Lighthouse

Lat. 40-30-48 N.

Long. 74-00-48 W.

To Be Est.


Eastern Approaches to Long Island Sd. (Cont'd)

DISTRICT     STATION                    LOCATION                              



3 USA Ship Reporting Montauk Point, L.I. Lat. 41-04-03 N. To Be Est.
3 USN Section Base Montauk Hbr. L.I.

Lat. 41-04-19 N.

Long. 71-56-00 W.

To Be Est.
5 Army Coastal Signal Station Fort Monroe

Lat. 37-00-06 N.

Long. 76-18-18 W.

10 Coastal Sig. Sta. (Navy) Gtmo. Bay, Cuba

Lat. 19-54-32 N.

Long. 75-09-37 W.

11 Sec. Base Signal Tower San Pedro

Lat. 33-43-13.5 N.

Long. 118-16-15 W.

12 Visual Signal Station Pt. Reyes. (Present C.G. Sta.)

Lat. 37-59-45 N.

Long. 122-58-15 W.

14 Sand Island Signal Tower Honolulu Harbor

Lat. 21-18-14.4 N.

Long. 157-52-21.5 W.

14 Kaneohe Signal Tower Kaneohe, Oahu

Lat. 21-27-04.1 N.

Long. 157-45-34.6 W.

*14 Diamond Head Ft. Ruger (Army) Honolulu

Lat. 21-15-46.1 N

Long. 157-48-52.2 W.

*14 Station "J" Oahu

Lat. 21-27-30.8 N.

Long. 157-44-04.7 W.

*14 Station "T" (Army Oahu

Lat. 21-36-36 N.

Long. 158-05-12 W.

16 Fort Mills Signal Station (Army) Fort Mills Corrigidor

Lat. 14-22-52 N.

Long. 120-34-31 E.


* These Army Signal Stations are manned only in time of war or joint exercises.  -- For H.E.C.P. Signal Stations, See Annex "A"




Destroyer Tenders                                        AD        Aircraft Escort Vessels                             AVG      
Ammunition Ships AE Seaplane Tenders (small) AVP
Provision Store Ships AF Battleships BB

Auxiliaries Msc.


AG Heavy Cruisers CA
Cargo Ships AK Large Cruisers CB
General Stores Issue Ships AKS Light Cruisers CL
Mine Sweepers AM Minelayers CM
Fleet Net Vessels AN Aircraft Carriers CV
Oilers AO Seaplane Carriers CVS
Transports (operated by U.S. Navy ) AP Destroyers DD
Aircraft Transport APV Destroyers Leaders DL
Repair Ships (Fleet Repair Ships Only) AR Light Mine Layers DM
Submarine Tenders AS Mine Sweepers, High Speed DMS
Ocean-going Tugs AT Gunboats (ERIE and CHARLESTON only) PG
Seaplane Tenders AV Submarines SS and SM
Seaplane Tenders (Destroyer) AVD Ocean-going Coast Guard cutters when operating under U.S. Nvy.  


Auxiliaries Miscellaneous                                           AG     (those not listed above)       
Hospital Ships AH  
Coastal Mine Sweepers AMc  
Barracks Ships APL  
Base Repair Ships ARb  
Salvage Vessels ARS  
Submarine Rescue Vessels ASR  
Salvage Tugs ATS  
Coastal Mine Layers CMc  
Submarine Chasers PC  
Eagle Boats PE  
Gunboats PG (Except Charleston & Erie)
Motor Torpedo Boats PT  
Patrol Vessels, Yachts PY  
Patrol Vessels, Yachts, Coastal PYc  
District Miscellaneous Auiliaries YAG  
District Motor MinesweeperS YMS  
District Net Vessels YN  
District Patrol Vessels YP  
Harbor Tugs YT  







H.E.C.P.                                                       ACTION                                        INFORMATION           
Argentia, Newfoundland N.O.B. Argentia  
Portland, Maine Com One  
Portsmouth, N.H.
Com One
Comdt. N.Y. Portsmouth, N.H.
Boston, Mass. Com One  
Newport, R.I. Com One N.O.B. Newport
Fishers Island, N.Y. Com Three  
New York (Staten Isl.) Com Three  
Delaware (Cape Henlopen) Com Four  
Norfolk, Va. Com Five  
Charleston, S.C. Com Six  
Key West, Fla. (to be established) Com Seven N.O.B. Key West
Santa Rosa Isl. (Pensacola, Florida) Com Eight Comdt. N.A.S. Pensacola
Galveston, Texas Com Eight  
San Juan, P.R. Com Ten  
San Diego, Cal. Com Eleven  
San Pedro, Cal. Com Eleven  
San Francisco, Cal. Com Twelve  
Columbia River (to be established) Com Thirteen  
Puget Sound Area (to be est.) Com Thirteen  
Pearl Harbor, T.H. Com Fourteen  
Cristobal, C.Z. Com Fifteen  
Balboa, C.Z. Com Fifteen  
Manila Bay, P.I. Com Sixteen  



H.E.C.P.                                                             VISUAL CALL           RADIO CALL            
Cape Henry, Va. G01 5G01
Cape Henlopen, Del. G01 4G01
Staten Island, N.Y. G03 3G03
Fishers Island, N.Y. G04 3G04
Cristobal - (Canal Zone) G04 15G04
Balboa - (Canal Zone) G01 15G01
Charleston, S.C. G05 6G05
San Francisco, Calif. G01 12G01


Published: Mon Mar 11 09:23:25 EDT 2019