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 (

Saturday, July 9, 2011

07/03/2011 - Compartment Labels, New Docent Policy

Sunday started out pouring buckets, I had trouble staying dry during my morning walk. Eventually the sun came out and it was a great day. I managed to give three tours and I kept everyone dry.

During one of the tours I was asked about compartment labels. The label above is an example. It's on the main deck, port side and it's between the 1st (Quarter Deck) and 2nd (Galley) tour stops.

The 1st line of the label is the door number: 1-81-2
(I added the colors for illustrative purposes):

  • 1 is the deck number (1 = main deck)
  • 81 is the frame number. Frame are vertical beams that extend from the keel. Hull plates are attached to frames. The SLATER has about 170fFrames. The lightly colored purple lines on the center of the USS SLATER Main Deck Plan are the frame numbers.
  • 2 indicates that the door is on the port side (left side).
The 2nd line of the label is a description of the space "Muffler Room". If you look on the USS SLATER Main Deck Plan you can see that there are four Mufflers (one for each main engine). The door in question is right before Muffler #4.

The 3rd line of the label is the number of the compartment (compartment is a navy word for room):

  • B - represents the section of the ship. A sections are before main machinery spaces; B sections are over main machinery spaces; C sections are aft of main machinery spaces. This is fairly clear when you look at the USS SLATER 1st Platform Deck Plan).
  • 103 is the compartment number. The one in the 103 indicates a compartment on the main deck. A 203 would indicate a compartment one deck down (2nd platform) and a 0203 would indicate a compartment one deck up from the main deck (referred to as the 01 level).
  • The final letter - E represents the usage of the compartment. E represents an Engineering compartment (contains machinery). A complete description of these codes are contained in the Navy Publication: Nomenclature of Naval Ships, February 1942. This letter has important significance for damage control parties. For example special attention was given to fire suppression near in a compartment with a F or M designation (F is for fuel, M is for magazine, explosive storage).
In 1949 the Navy changed the numbering system, but when the USS SLATER was built the 1942 Nomenclature was used (reference - Nomenclature of Naval Ships, February 1942). Today a different and more comprehensive system is used (example contained in 3M Company Compartment Damage Control Marking Guide).

Recently the USS SLATER has changed the manner that tour guides are assigned giving priority to volunteer tour guides:

  1. If you are a veteran and a tour guide, you have priority on whether  you take a group, or pass it on to an intern.
  2. The role of interns is to fill in when the veteran tour guides are  all busy, or when vets prefer to pass it on.
  3. If you would like to move to another day for tour guiding, that is  fine, but please know that the "original crew" of any given day has top  priority for their day, followed by interns.
In my opinion this is a very welcome change! As a veteran (4 years active and 4 years reserve) and a Volunteer Tour Guide (over 10 years, since 2000), I get a little disheartened when I am sitting on the bench waiting for a tour. One of the main reasons that I typically come on a Sunday is that it's a fairly busy day.

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