Floating Dry Docks for Ship Launching

by Kenneth R. Broome, (M.ASCE), Chf. Civ. Engr.; Scientific Development Dept., Bechtel Corp., San Francisco, CA,
William S. Gaither, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Delaware, Newark, Delaware; formerly, Chf. Engr. for Coastal and Harbor Facilities, Marine Dept., Bechtel Corp., San Francisco, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Waterways, Harbors and Coastal Engineering Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 1, Pg. 121-144

Document Type: Journal Paper


Modern techniques of mechanized, prefabricated shipbuilding are compatible with a method of ship launching using a floating dry dock. This system has significant economic and operational advantages over traditional sliding ways and recently developed basin-type graving docks. Investigated by the Bechtel Corp. as part of Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Co.'s new shipyard study program for the Navy's Fast Deployment Ship Project, the floating dock launch method is a revival of an approach used successfully over a century ago in this country and now being reconsidered in connection with new shipbuilding techniques. The floating dry dock method was compared with others, historical applications reviewed, an operational description presented, significant design parameters considered, practicable alternatives analyzed, possible hazards evaluated, and available testing methods described. With its structural flexibility, the floating dry dock launching method appears to be applicable to all sizes and types of ships with conventional hulls. Additionally, without extensive modification, such a dock could be used between launchings for ship repair purposes.

Subject Headings: Docks | Shipyards | Ships | Construction methods | Prefabrication | Economic factors | Basins | Parameters (statistics)

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