Yard patrol boat

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Yard Patrol Craft on the Delaware River in 2006

Yard Patrol craft are used by the United States Navy for training and for research purposes. They are designated as YP in the hull classification symbol system.

World War II[edit]

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor the United States Navy leased California based tuna boats for the duration of the war or "until victory".[1] On February 16, 1942, San Diego Port Director Commander W.J. Morcott called a meeting of tuna skippers and crews at the Naval Armory Reserve telling the men “The Navy needs men to man the [clippers] — experienced men, like yourselves. Needless to say, duty in the war zones will be hazardous.” Six hundred tuna boat men volunteered to join their boats in the navy.[2] The boats were painted navy grey and had their names replaced with numerical designations. The ships patrolled the coasts of the United States, the Panama Canal and served in several battles of the South Pacific, particularly the Battle of Guadalcanal.

Modern usage[edit]

The YPs are used to teach familiarization with water craft, Basic Damage Control and underway instruction of Basic to Advanced Seamanship and Navigation. Yard Patrol craft provide realistic, at-sea training in navigation and seamanship for midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and candidates at Officer Candidate School, Newport, Rhode Island. These craft can cruise for 1,800 nautical miles (3,300 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h) for five days without refueling.[3]

YP701 is used at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division in Keyport, Washington, to measure mobile underwater target and torpedo radiated noise plus ambient water noise conditions; serve as a platform for deployment of suspended, stationary, in-water acoustic targets during on-range torpedo proof and test operations; deployment of countermeasure emulator during torpedo operations; and deployment of oceanographic measurement instrumentation to determine seawater conductivity and temperature at the depth(s) of interest.

The new Training Patrol Craft (YP) are designated the YP 703 class. The general craft characteristics of the YP 703 class emphasize habitability, training areas, hull structure, integrated bridge, maneuverability, propulsion plant configuration, and, for training purposes only, simulated Underway Replenishment.[4] The main and auxiliary systems and electronics are state-of-the art, Commercial-Off-The-Shelf equipment. Design, construction, and selection of systems, sub-systems, and equipment along with associated software are consistent with reduced Total Ownership Cost and shall facilitate system maintenance and periodic upgrades.

The primary mission of the Training Patrol Craft (YP) is to provide the midshipmen professional training course with practical training afloat on a robust platform to conduct professional development in a safe shipboard environment equipped with systems essential to modern seamanship and navigation. Such training is designed to develop within midshipmen the abilities of an Officer-of the Deck, a proficiency in navigation, and a working knowledge of afloat operations.

Post USN usage[edit]

As of May 24th 2018, it has been learned that the YP 165, Norwester, which had been owned at one time by John Wayne and was previously reported to be open for tours at the La Conner, WA marina, has now ceased to operate as a museum. A call placed to the mayor's office suggested that the vessel may, in fact, have been sold. Further details may be forthcoming when additional information is received from the La Conner Washington Chamber of Commerce.

The web site: https://waggonerguide.com/john-waynes-boat-the-Norwester; reports that the famous actor, John Wayne, owned YP 165, which was named, Norwester, and was in service from 1941 to 1945, as represented by the plaque displayed in one of the photos for the boat. She is permanently moored at the La Conner, WA marina and is open for tours. Please check out the web site, listed above, for additional information. I have recently purchased the book, JOHN WAYNE, My Life with the Duke, by Pilar Wayne with Alex Thorleifson. Pilar Wayne was John Wayne's third and last wife. It was during my reading of this book that I learned about the Norwester from Mrs. Wayne and her references in the book to this boat. A good read if anyone enjoys learning more about the Duke and his love of US Navy vessels. Mrs. Wayne also reports about the next boat, Wild Goose, in her book at pages 160-161, 169-170, 202. The Duke had a great love affair with the US Navy that he was only able to accomplish by purchasing vessels that had been in service with the US Navy. YP 165, Norwester, is 76' and YMS-328, Wild Goose, is 136'.

YP679 is used as a training vessel for maritime students at the US Merchant Marine Academy. Three other YPs from the US East Coast have been sold from Navy inventory but their whereabouts are not presently known. One was for sometime moored near St. Michaels, Maryland in a dilapidated state but is no longer there as of spring 2017. Another was sold circa 2000 at Pensacola, FL and was converted to a pleasure/passenger vessel but also no known whereabouts of that vessel are known. YP697 was sold by the Navy in 2016 to a company in Seattle which as of 2017 is converting the vessel to becoming a small research and passenger charter vessel.

Boat classes[edit]

General characteristics, YP 654 class (YP 663)[edit]

  • Primary Function: Training.
  • Builder: Stephens Bros., Inc. (YP 665: Elizabeth City Systems).
  • Propulsion: Two 12V-71N Detroit diesel engines 165 shaft horsepower each @ 1800 rpm, 2 propellers.
  • Length: Overall: 81 ft, 24 meters; Waterline Length: 77 ft, 23.47 meters.
  • Beam: 18 ft, 5.5 meters.
  • Displacement: 66 tons full load, 67 metric tons; Dead Weight: 11 tons, 11.5 metric tons.
  • Draft: 6 ft, 1.8 meters.
  • Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h), 19.6 km/h.
  • Range: 1800 NM, 3300 km.
  • Hull Material: Wood hull, aluminum superstructure.
  • Crew: Officers: 2 Enlisted: 8; Safe capacity: 50 people.

General characteristics, YP 676 and YP 696 classes[edit]

  • Primary Function: Training.
  • Builder: Peterson Builders (YP 676 through 682) and Marinette Marine (YP 683 through 700). Differences between the YP 676 class and the YP 696 class are only minor configuration changes.[5]
  • Propulsion: Two 12V-71N Detroit diesel engines, 2 propellers, horsepower rating 437 shaft horsepower @ 2,100 rpm.
  • Length: Overall: 108 feet (32.9 m); Waterline Length: 102 feet (31.1 m).
  • Beam: 24 feet (7.3 m).
  • Draft: 8 feet (2.5 m).
  • Speed: 12 knots (19.6 km/h).
  • Range: 1800 nautical miles (3300 km).
  • Hull Material: Wood hull, aluminum superstructure.
  • Crew: Officers: 2 Enlisted: 4; Safe Capacity: 50 people.
  • Ships:
  • (T/V Liberator (YP 679)), United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY (USMMA)
  • (YP 680-692), United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD (USNA)
  • (YP 685), decommissioned sold at auction (sales information unavailable)
  • (YP 694), United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD (USNA)
  • (YP 695), United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD (USNA)
  • (YP 696), Decommissioned (sales information unavailable)
  • (YP 697), Decommissioned and sold in 2016 to Vessel Resources Company, Inc. of Seattle, WA which is equipping vessel for future research charters and expeditions
  • (YP 698), United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD (USNA)
  • (YP 700), United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD (USNA)
  • (YP 701), Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, WA
  • (YP 702), Decommissioned (sales information unavailable)

General characteristics, YP 703 class[edit]

YP704 on East River, NY
  • Primary Function: Training
  • Builder: C&G Boat Works Inc. (YP 703 through YP 708)
  • Propulsion: 2x600 bhp (2x448kW) Cat C-18 diesel engines @ 1,800 rpm, 2 fixed pitch propellers.
  • Length: Overall: 116 feet (35.5 m); Waterline Length: 109 feet (33.2 m).
  • Beam: 27.9 feet (8.51 m).
  • Displacement: 227.6 Metric Tonnes (223.9 long tons)
  • Draft: 7.87 feet (2.40 m).
  • Speed: 12.6 knots (23.3 kilometers per hour).
  • Range: 1,882 nautical miles (3,485.5 kilometers).
  • Hull Material: Welded steel, mono-hull construction.
  • Crew: Officers: 4 Crew: 6 Midshipmen: 30.
  • Ships:
  • (YP 703-708), United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD (USNA)


  1. ^ Former Tuna Boat Fishermen Sail "Yippie" Boats Against Japs Prescott Evening Courier Sep 7, 1943
  2. ^ Smith, Jeff Tuna Boats Go to War San Diego Reader March 20, 2013
  3. ^ "The US Navy – Fact File". Navy.mil. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  4. ^ "The US Navy – Fact File". Navy.mil. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  5. ^ "The US Navy – Fact File". Navy.mil. Retrieved 2010-06-14.

External links[edit]

Media related to Yard Patrol boats at Wikimedia Commons