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YPs Aboard NAS Pensacola Depart for Annapolis

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050323-07
Release Date: 3/23/2005 1:32:00 PM

By Sheri L. Crowe, Naval Air Station Pensacola Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The yard patrol (YP) service craft aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola departed March 18 to join the YP fleet at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

The 108-foot YP 696 and 702 have been aboard NAS Pensacola since 1989 providing Officer Candidate School (OCS) personnel with realistic, at-sea training in navigation and seamanship. Now, midshipmen will soon receive practical application training aboard them before going out into the fleet.

"The transfer of the Yard Patrol craft to the Naval Academy ends an era, but also marks a new beginning for officer training methods here at NAS Pensacola," said Capt. John Pruitt, acting commander, Navy Region Gulf Coast/commanding officer, Pensacola Naval Air Station. "The basic seamanship and navigation skills taught on the YPs are scheduled to eventually be replaced through simulation. This leveraging of digital technology is more cost effective and potentially more robust and challenging than the actual shipboard experience. That's good news for Pensacola."

Most of the Naval Air Station Pensacola Port Operations Department crew had mixed feelings about the YPs leaving. Some comments ranged from not wanting to see the YPs go because of the very valuable "hands on" training they provided, to being glad they're being sent on to Annapolis because there's plenty of service left for the YPs.

"It kind of a catch 22 with the YPs was nice to have a couple boats to call our own for awhile and train on," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Alvin Weidetz, NASP Port Operations leading petty officer. "This was our bread and butter.but good things are in store for the YPs in Annapolis."

The journey to Annapolis is expected to be a seven-day transit with a brief stopover in Mayport, Fla.

"We are looking into simulators and possibly incorporating them into the curriculum in the future," said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Ulrich, OCS director.

The overall chief engineer of both YPs prior to the departure, Chief Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) Ronald Seegert, NASP Port Operations, had the challenge of being caretaker of both boats with a crew of about 10 total.

"It's been a real learning curve keeping the YPs up and running to our specifications," he said. "Annapolis has a boat yard full service facility to better maintain the YPs, so they're going on to newer and better things."

YPs are used by the U.S. Navy for both training and research. They are arranged and fitted with navigational equipment normally associated with larger ships, and consist of a small crew of six to 10 officers and enlisted personnel. The YP has a transverse-framed wood hull, is powered by two 12V-71N diesel engines, and can cruise for 1,400 nautical miles at 12 knots for up to five days without refueling.

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