· One maul or sledge
an inboard compartment is flooded, other
compartments will flood if you open doors or hatches
· One hammer; a minimum 2 pounds in weight
to get to the actual area of damage. The repair work
· One crosscut handsaw for cutting wood
may be hampered by tangled wreckage in the water,
the absence of light, and the difficulties of trying to
The plugs and wedges may be used individually if
keep buoyant repair materials submerged.
they fit the hole. Often however, it is best to use a
combination of conical, square-ended, and
PLUGGING AND PATCHING HOLES
wedge-shaped plugs to make a better fit in the hole.
One such combination of plugs is shown in figure 8-2.
The procedures discussed here for plugging and
patching holes are intended for emergency use. They
are temporary repairs that can be done to keep the ship
afloat while it is in action. In most cases, they do not
call for elaborate tools or equipment. They involve
principles that can be applied when using wooden
plugs, prefabricated patches, or other readily
The two general methods of making temporary
repairs to a hole in the hull are as follows:
Put something in it.
Put something over it.
Figure 8-2. Combination of plugs used to plug a hole.
In either case, the patches will reduce the area
through which water can enter the ship or through
It is best to wrap each plug with lightweight cloth
which water can pass from one compartment to
before inserting it. The cloth tends to keep the plugs in
place and fills in some of the gaps between the plugs.
In most cases, plugs will not make a watertight fit.
However, you can substantially reduce the rate of
leakage by using the plugs and then caulking the
The simplest method of stopping up a fairly small
remaining leaks with rags, oakum, and smaller
hole is to insert some kind of plug. Plugs made of
wedges. Square-ended plugs tend to hold better than
softwood, such as yellow pine or fir, are quite
conical plugs in holes located in plating that is
effective for plugging holes up to about 3 inches by 3
one-fourth of an inch or less in thickness.
inches in size. Sometimes you may use these plugs to
plug larger holes as well.
Most wooden plugs are inserted from the inside of
the ship. When plugging a hole in this manner, you
The items in a plugging kit are as follows:
must contend with the metal edges that are protruding
· A c a nva s b a g w i t h a c a r r y i n g s t r a p
inward. You normally will not have this problem
approximately 30 inches deep and 12 inches in
when plugging a hole from the outside of the ship.
However, plugs on the outside of the ship cannot be
· Softwood plugs; a minimum of 10 plugs in
tended easily nor will they hold very well over an
extended period of time. If it is necessary to insert the
various sizes from 1 inch to 10 inches in
plugs from the outside of the hull, fit the inboard ends
of the plugs with screw eyes. A line running from each
· Five pounds of oakum or rags
screw eye and secured to a solid structural member
· One hatchet
inside the ship will help to keep the plug in place.
· One cold chisel
· One metal caulking iron
Box patches are effective for use over holes that
· Wedges made of softwood; a minimum of eight
have jagged edges projecting inboard. View A of
figure 8-3 shows a typical metal box patch; view B
wedges, 2 inches by 4 inches and 12 inches long