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Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt to All Navy Bureaus, All Naval Districts, and All Navy Yards

June 14, 1918.

To:  All Bureaus,

     Commandants all Naval Districts,

     Commandants all Navy Yards.

SUBJECT: Special requirements for ships entering convoy.

          1.   The following are the special requirements with which ships entering convoy must be equipped and it is directed that they be fitted with these special requirements upon request:-

              (a)  Fog buoy and light hawser for towing buoy.

The buoy may be an empty cask or hydroplane. The buoy should tow at a distance of 300 yards.

(b)  Shaded stern lights.

Ships should fit an upper stern light on the mainmast or other elevated position on the centerline about 60 feet above a lower stern light. The lower stern light to be about the height of the rail. Both these stern lights should be shaded to show not more than 3 points on either side from right astern. Special precaution will be exercised that the stern lights be visible not over one mile; and to effect this the construction and brilliancy will be standardized by the Bureau of Steam Engineering.

(c)  Efficient flashing lamp and a pair of semaphore hand flags.

(d)  Two complete sets of International Code signaling flags.

(e)  Telescope or binoculars for naval signalmen.

(f)  Board with name.

The name of the ship should be clearly painted on a board which may be displayed toward escorting vessels to let them quickly know the name of the ship. The board should be painted black at the back, so that it may be made available as a black-board upon which messages can be written.

(g)  Tack Lines.

These are one-fathom lengths of signal halyards.

(h)  Sea painter for each life boat.1

This painter will be fitted with a strop and toggle, and the end should be led well forward and kept belayed to a cleat or other suitable fitting fixed on the deck or bulwark. The boat’s ordinary bow painter is to be coiled down in the boat ready for use, if required, after launching.

          2.   These instructions supersede previous instructions in this matter.

Franklin D. Roosevelt        


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document identifiers “Mat-3-ML 6/12” and “28754-49” appear in the top left of the first page.

Footnote 1: A painter is a rope that is attached to the bow of a dinghy or other small boat, used for tying up or towing.

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