Shipyards produce seagoing vessels of all shapes and sizes. Some build barges for the shipping industry, while others craft battleships and small tactical vessels for the Navy. Along with this diversity comes a specialized vocabulary of shipbuilding terms, and you can benefit from understanding them. Whether you're looking for a job or are ordering a boat for your business, knowing these terms can help you navigate the process as smoothly as possible.
MachiningMachining is the industrial process shipyards use to manufacture custom components for boats. Using specialized (and often very expensive) equipment, shipbuilders can fabricate all sorts of nautical parts, from propeller shafts and rudders to pistons and chemical pumps. Shipyards can also use machining to repair and modify existing components.
Drydock,dry dockIn order to repair the hull of a ship or to build one from scratch, shipyards must have a drydock. Somewhat like the locks of a canal, a shipyard can drain a drydock of its water so that the boat inside it comes to a rest on a platform. This allows workers to access the different parts of the vessel's hull, including its propeller, keel and rudder.
PitchometerA pitchometer is a tool engineers use to measure the pitch, or angle, of propellers. Using one to accurately measure a propeller can take hours, but new computerized versions have made the process much more efficient.
StandpipeA standpipe is a system that uses hose connections and piping to supply water to fire hoses and sprinklers. Considering the volatility of certain building supplies, such as fuels, gas canisters and other ship components, standpipes and general fire safety are extremely important to shipyard operations.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a thorough glossary of shipyard-related safety terms that contains information on standpipes and standpipe operators.