Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater. A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. I plan on walking on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. You can contact me at:

More on the USS SLATER (

Sunday, June 28, 2009

6/28/2009 - Great Day

This Sunday was a great day - very, very busy. Don't know what happened but we had plenty of guides and we were aways giving tours. I gave three tours to groups ranging from 15-20 visitors. My voice was sore when I finished.

"Where did the USS Slater get it's Motor Whale Boat from?"

Today's stump the Docent question was asked when I was at the Slater's motor whale boat. During this part of the tour I usually describe the capture of U-505 by the USS Pillsbury (DE-133) (shown in the picture above). I start the narrative by noting that the motor whale boat is a prize artifact. It's one of the few wooden motor whale boats (that were used in WWII) that's still in existence.

After a little research I found the answer - In 2004 Tim Rizzuto (USS Slater's Superintendent) published a story: "....When the USS SLATER arrived in Manhattan in 1993, there was an appreciated treasure aboard, a US Navy 26 foot motor whaleboat. The Navy Historical Center estimates that 26,000 of these boats were built between 1927 and the late 1950's when the fiberglass boats were introduced. "

I really do read Tim's Slater signals, and I'm sure that I read the Whale Boat Story in 2004. I should have known the answer! Unfortunately, I find it nearly impossible to remember the vast amount of knowledge transferred to us volunteers in Rizzuto-grams.

More pictures about U-505 Capture are available at the U-Boat Archive. U-505 is an on display in Chicago, at the Museum of Science and Indusrty.

"How the sailors avoided slipping around on the floor? "

I told the visitor that large portions of the deck * (Floor) were covered with deck tread (a non-skid covering). Basically deck tread is paint mixed with sand. After the tour I decided to do a little research on the topic. The Navy has a way of making relatively simple concepts complex. Here's the navy specification about the topic - MIL-PRF-24667C. In the 42 page document the Navy details 11 different ways of mixing sand in paint.

* Deck - The floorlike covering of the horizontal sections, or compartments, of a ship.

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