was sorting through some boxes in the attic, over the weekend. (working on my never-ending "honey-do" list), when i came across some old certificates, and a personal logbook from back in the '70's. in the late '70's, i was marine repair electrician in a shipyard, in jacksonville, fla. we had just finished refitting and upgrading an old 170 ft., wwII vintage "submarine chaser", actually a coastal patrol boat. this vessel had been bought by a government contractor in the late '50's,from the mothball fleet, i suppose, and converted to a "sonar-research vessel", doing "sensitive" sonar testing for the u.s. navy. anyway, at the end of the refitting in the shipyard i worked at, my employers were getting prepared to lay off a bunch of us, until the next contract came along. the captain of the research vessel was, at that very moment, looking for an electrician to sign on for a 6 month "shakedown" cruise, to get everything working in all the new electrical and electronic systems we had installed. high-frequency generators, computer communications circuitry ('70's technology!.
), as well as all the normal shipboard electrical systems. well, i talked to him about it, and told him the only time i had ever been on a ship was when i was in the military, being transported from one place to another, (i was a "grunt"), and he said "no problem". that he would help me get the proper papers.
so, i ended up with a U.S. Merchant Marine "3rd engineer" ticket, with a "general electrician" endorsement, and was assigned to midwatch, (night shift), in the engine room.
this vessel had been re-fitted, at one time or another, with twin GM Electromotive diesel engines, capable of about 2500 hp. each, at 1200 r.p.m., driving through 2 Allison reduction gears, driving 2 huge bronze props. this 170 ft. ship would do almost 30 knots!!...it was designed to be able to outrun and catch diesel submarines.
we used to tow sono-buoys and other "classified" apparatus behind it, and the "scientists" in the testing room would do their thing with the readings and test results. we spent 6 months crusing around the bahamas, andros island, and making high-speed runs in a very deep area that through there.
i remember once, one of the scientist "geeks" actually trying to ski behind the ship!...
....he almost did it, but the water was too turbulent.....lol!
we had a boston whaler "lifeboat", about a 20 footer, with twin mercs on the back, (i think about 75 hp. each, if i remember correctly), and we had a helluva time with that thing, on the occasions we had to hit a port for a few hours...
sorry for the long post, just reminiscing...