UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Chapter 17

Shipboard Expedients (Emergencies)

Landing craft crews must be prepared to deal with a number of emergencies that usual arise during operations. Each landing craft is equipped with certain emergency gear. The coxswain or master is responsible for ensuring that each crew member is familiar with the location, function, and operation of all equipment. Crew members must be thoroughly familiar with all of the operating procedures to be followed in emergencies. Some of the more important emergencies are loss of power to the ramps, damaged steering cable, a broken quadrant, or the loss of a rudder or an engine. If the rudders are lost completely, the tiller is useless and it will be necessary to use a "jury" rudder.

Note: The LCM-8 is designed and constructed to sustain damage in any one of the 6-foot-long compartments and retain sufficient stability for safe operation. It can withstand damage in any two 6-foot-long compartments forward of the engine room and retain sufficient stability for limited operation. This is true, except in case of damage in the two most forward compartments while loaded to maximum safe operating draft. This condition will result in the LCM-8 sinking by the bow to such an extent that some water will enter the cargo well through the forward freeing pipes. In this condition, the craft has little, if any, theoretical stability. Should this combination of events occur, the craft should be handled slowly and carefully and beached as soon as possible. In case of damage to the engine room, the LCM-8 will develop excessive trim by the stern but will retain considerable stability. The stern will have some freeboard and the bow will rise quite high. In this condition, the operation of machinery will become impossible and assistance from other craft will be necessary. Damage to the lazarette will not have a serious effect on stability or maneuverability of the LCM-8.


  17-1. The helm unit and other valves control the direction and volume of flow of the hydraulic oil in the steering system. The helm unit directs the oil to one side or the other of the cylinders and limits the flow according to the speed at which the steering wheel is turned. In the event of pump failure, the helm unit will also act as a pump when turned manually. If for some reason there is a total loss of steering, you can rig for emergency steering using the emergency tiller. Do this by using the following procedure.
  • Step 1. Remove the access plate from the deck over the rudder stock (Figure 17-1). There are two separate access plates. One is located on the starboard side and one is located on the port side just aft of the pilothouse. Either one can be used. The protective deck plate installed over the top of the rudder post should be loosened before all landing exercises so that the emergency tiller may be readily installed if necessary.
  • Step 2. Remove the emergency tiller from the side of the pilothouse.
  • Step 3. Insert the emergency tiller into the rudder stock (Figure 17-2).
  • Step 4. Go into the lazarette and pull out the eye pins (Figure 17-3) to disconnect the hydraulic cylinder and the tie rod.
  • Step 5. Use the emergency tiller to manually steer the LCM-8.

Figure 17-1. Access Plate

Figure 17-2. Inserting Emergency Tiller

Figure 17-3. Pulling Out Eye Pin

  17-2. It is important to grip the tiller tightly when backing because, if the boat starts to swing and the rudders are thrown hard over by the force of the water, the tiller will sweep across the after deck with force enough to knock a man overboard. In backing off a beach, particularly where bars are present, two members of the crew may be required to handle the tiller. Two important factors in connection with the use of this emergency rig are:
  • First, it should always be handy and ready for use. It should not be lashed in place except with a slipknot, and it should be kept in the after section of the boat as near the rudder post as possible.
  • Second, the method of steering with a tiller is exactly opposite from that of the wheel. To turn the boat to starboard, for instance, the tiller is put to port, and vice versa. This procedure is again reversed when backing up.


  17-3. Maintenance troubles may occur while the landing craft is being operated, where supplies and repair parts are not available, and normal corrections cannot be made. If so, expedient repairs may be used in emergencies. Equipment so repaired must be removed from operation as soon as possible and properly repaired before being placed in operation again.
  17-4. GI soap can be used to plug burned-out overboard discharge elbows. The soap is placed thickly in the hole and wrapped with rags to prevent it from coming out. Sometimes a wooden plug covered with rags may be driven in the hole. Plugs made to fit outside exhaust holes may be driven in from the outside to prevent leaking. This will help to maintain watertight integrity while the boat is idle or untended.
  17-5. A life jacket may be used for covering bad leaks in the hull. Cover the hole by using dunnage as shoring material and putting even pressure on the life jacket. Canvas floated under the hull and secured by line from the deck may slow or stop bottom leaks.
  17-6. If a wrench is too large for a particular job, the blade of a screwdriver can be inserted between the nut and wrench to narrow the gap.
  17-7. If the steering wheel is broken, a crescent wrench or a pipe wrench may be used to steer by fastening the wrench to the hub and using the handle of the wrench as a lever.
  17-8. Heavy cloth or cardboard can be used to make emergency gaskets for the freshwater manifold, but they should be coated with heavy grease before installing.
  17-9. Contaminated fuel can be controlled by letting the boat remain idle in a sheltered inlet or quiet water for a few minutes. Next, either drain off contaminated fuel from the bottom of the tank or use a long extension with a pump to take the contaminated fuel from the bottom of the fuel tanks.
  17-10. Water may enter the boiler stack and drown the flame when an LCU is on the beach in heavy surf. A large, empty can (such as a 20-pound coffee can) placed over the stack will keep the water out.
  Note: It is possible to steer an LCM with a damaged rudder by using the engines to reverse and/or varying the speed of the propellers. This method also applies to the LCU but should be employed only at low speed.


  17-11. Two or three crew members are required to set up and operate the emergency steering system on a 1600 class LCU. The procedures are as follows:
  • Step 1. The stern ramp must be raised.
  • Step 2. The deck access plug (Figure 17-4) is removed from over either the port or starboard rudder post.
  • Step 3. The tiller is put through the deck hole and onto the square head of the rudder post (Figure 17-5).
  • Step 4. The portable block davit (Figure 17-6) is installed in the pipe socket in the stern gate.
  • Step 5. Two block-and-tackle rigs are hooked up, one to each side of the tiller arm and to the deck pad eyes. The hauling part of the line is led through the blocks secured on the portable block davit. The hauling parts of the lines are then led into the well deck (Figure 17-7).
  Note: The block and tackle is stowed aft of the anchor winch compartment. The ramp bypass valve in the steering system is opened. Communications are maintained between the pilothouse and crew on deck by means of the sound-powered telephone.

Figure 17-4. Access Plug

Figure 17-5. Rudder Post

Figure 17-6. Portable Block Davit

Figure 17-7. Rigging of Steering Gear


  17-12. The ramp hoisting arrangement (Figure 17-8) on an LCM-8 consists of a hoisting cable deadheaded to one side of the LCM, running through fairlead sheaves through the ramp, and to a winch on the opposite side. The systems for hull numbers 8500 through 8519, 8520 through 8560, and 8580 through 8618 are similar in operation, even though they do not have the same components. On hull numbers 8500 through 8519, the ramp winch is located on the port side, and on hull numbers 8520 through 8560 and 8580 through 8618 the ramp winch is on the starboard side.

Figure 17-8. Ramp Assembly

  17-13. Use a manual brake release system on a craft with these hull numbers when lowering the ramp in an emergency. Emergency ramp controls are located in the forward well deck on the port side. Ramp lowering procedures are as follows:
  • Step 1. Disconnect the load binders (Figure 17-9).
  • Step 2. Put the ramp hoist control valve lever in the neutral position (Figure 17-10).
  • Step 3. Have the engineer disengage the ramp hoist pumps (located in the engine room).
  • Step 4. Check to be sure that the area under the ramp is clear of personnel and obstructions.
  • Step 5. At the emergency ramp control station, the ball valve is put in the open position. Pull the ball valve handle towards you.
  • Step 6. Lift up on the manual brake release handle (Figure 17-11) to control the rate of speed that the ramp will fall.

Figure 17-9. Disconnecting Load Binder

Figure 17-10. Ramp Hoist Valve
Lever in Neutral Position

Figure 17-11. Manual Brake System

  17-14. Craft with these hull numbers use the hand-operated, hydraulic pump brake release system. Emergency ramp controls are located in the forward well deck on the starboard side.
  17-15. To release the ramp on this craft with these hull numbers, use the following procedures:
  • Step 1. Disconnect the load binders.
  • Step 2. Put the ramp hoist control valve lever in the neutral position (see Figure 17-12).
  • Step 3. Have the engineer disengage the ramp hoist pump located in the engine room.
  • Step 4. Pump the hand pump to release the ramp.
  Note: The speed that the ramp will fall is controlled by opening the ramp emergency release valve (Figure 17-13). To open, turn the handle to the left.
  CAUTION: Periodically remove the plug to the oil filter hole. Oil level should be at the bottom level of the threads. If the oil level is low or there is no oil, the pump will not work. Refill if necessary, using only 2135 oil.

Figure 17-12. Ramp Control Valve Lever, Hull Numbers 8520 Through 8539

Figure 17-13. Ramp Hoist Control

  17-16. These landing craft use a different type of manual brake release system and emergency ramp release procedure. You must use the following procedures for these craft:
  Note: Emergency ramp controls are located in the forward well deck on the starboard side (see Figure 17-14).
  • Step 1. Disconnect the load binders.
  • Step 2. Put the ramp hoist control valve lever in the neutral position.
  • Step 3. Have the engineer disengage both hydraulic ramp pumps located in the engine room.
  • Step 4. At the emergency ramp control, close the upper shutoff value by pulling the handle out toward you.
  • Step 5. Open the lower hand pump shutoff valve by pushing it down.
  • Step 6. Close the hand pump bypass valve by turning it all the way to the left.
  • Step 7. Remove the hand pump handle and slip it on the lower hand pump.
  Note: A hydraulically actuated mechanical latch is used to secure the ramp in the up position. The latch is unlocked during an emergency (no pressure in the ramp hydraulic system or the engines not operating) by applying pressure with the winch brake release hand pump. A selector valve located on the starboard side of the forward cargo well is used to select the type of hydraulic pressure required to activate the latch. By turning the selector to the emergency position, the hydraulic pressure originates at the hydraulic ramp system hand pump.
  • Step 8. If necessary, put selector switch to emergency position.
  • Step 9. Pump the hand pump until the brake releases and the ramp starts to lower.
  • Step 10. Open the hand pump bypass valve to control the rate of lowering or to stop the lowering of the ramp.

Figure 17-14. Emergency Ramp Controls


  17-17. If the winch system fails or the ramp cable breaks, the ramp can still be raised by means of a ramp jacking lever (1 1/2-ton chain hoist). This ramp jacking lever is stowed in the lazarette. Procedures for raising the ramp are as follows:
  Note: Every 90 days, the ramp jacking lever should be brought out on the deck and inspected for breaks, missing parts, and for rust on chain links. It should then be wiped down with an oily rag to give it a light coat of lubrication and restowed in the lazarette.
  • Step 1. Bring the ramp jacking levers out from the lazarette and spread them out in the well deck to clear them for use.
  • Step 2. Inspect the chain links to ensure that they are free of breaks and rust.
  • Step 3. Hook the ramp jacking lever to the pad eye on the inboard side of the bulkhead on the main deck. This pad eye is located just aft of the load binder (Figure 17-15).
  • Step 4. Shackle the long leg of the chain with the traveling block into the pad eye on the face of the ramp. If you have two ramp jacking levers, rig one on the port and one on the starboard side.
  • Step 5. Take up on the chain hoists. A crew member is assigned to each chain hoist and they will take up on the chain hoist together and raise the ramp.
  • Step 6. Once the ramp is up tight against the bulkhead, drop the load binder into the slot and secure the ramp in place (Figure 17-16).


  17-18. Because of leaks or breaking waves, a landing craft may occasionally take in more water in the engine room than its pumps can handle. Since replacing a rudder or propeller is easier than repairing engines damaged by submersion in saltwater, it is advisable to beach a craft stern first if a sandy beach is available and the surf is light. To beach the craft in this manner, the rudders are put amidships and the engines are backed down until the boat is a few feet off the beach. The clutches are then put in neutral to allow momentum and wave action to beach the craft. When it touches the beach, antibroaching lines are put out immediately and the engines are shut off.

Figure 17-15. Securing Ramp Jacking Lever

Figure 17-16. Securing the Ramp


  17-19. To change propellers or do underwater work around the stern with no diver available, the vessel may be backed on the beach on high tide and a cofferdam built around the stern with sand and rock. A portion of the beach immediately under the stern of the vessel is dug away to obtain a working area. A bulldozer is helpful in this situation to launch vessels at high tide. However, if none is available, shovels or flat boards can be used to dig out the cofferdam to allow water to enter and float the vessel.
  17-20. Use the following procedures to remove a propeller (see also Figure 17-17):
  • Step 1. Remove propeller nut and jam nut.
  • Step 2. Remove propeller from shaft.

Figure 17-17. Propeller and Strut Assembly

  17-21. Propeller is installed in reverse order of removal. A light coating of graphite and grease is applied to the shaft taper.


  17-22. Table 17-1 shows some examples of expedient remedies for various types of problems that may be encountered in the operations of landing craft.

Table 17-1. Troubleshooting Chart



Expedient Remedy

Emergency clutch engagement (LCM-8).

Transmission cannot be engaged hydraulically.

Engage emergency engagement bolts.

Loss of fuel.

Fuel line is cracked.

Tape cracked line and use until defective line can be replaced.


Defective element (stopping flow of fuel).

Remove element and operate equipment until a new element can be installed.

Broken drive belts.

Alternator inoperative; bilge pump inoperative.

Replace drive belts.

Engine heats up.

Thermostat defective (closed).

Remove defective thermostat and operate unit until a serviceable thermostat can be installed.

Loss of lubricating oil.

Lubricating oil filter line broken.

Plug line and close filter return valve until oil line can be replaced.

Loss of electrical power.

Wire broken in electrical system.

Strip and splice ends of wire. Tape splice and continue operations until spliced line can be replaced.


  17-23. When a boat is disabled or broached on a beach and it is impossible to get a line to it by passing, one alternative is to float a line in. A life jacket, a life ring, or a piece of lumber may be used as a float, with a few hundred feet of light line secured to both the float and the regular towline. The towing boat must be positioned so that the current is flowing toward the disabled craft. The float is thrown overboard in the direction of the boat in distress and the line is payed out gradually as the float follows the current. No excess line is let out since the extra weight may impede the progress of the float. When the light line is taken aboard the disabled craft, the regular towline is payed out slowly until it can be hauled in and secured.







Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list