Big Buc's Blog: Watertight Doors - Thursday, February 20, 2020

Submitted by Big Buc on Thu, 02/20/2020 - 05:00
water tight door
watertight door
safety instructions on doors
lever to open watertight doors
pocket where door slides in.


Ahoy, Ye Mateys!

Yesterday, I went on a search for all of the Watertight Doors on the TS Kennedy.  It was quite a workout, but I found all six of them.  

Watertight Doors are special types of doors are placed on the ships to prevent water from flowing from one compartment to another in the event of flooding or accidents.

The WTDs are located in areas where the chance of flooding is high.  On the TS Kennedy, there are WTDs located on the Tank Top Deck and the Lower Tween Deck. 

Big Buc by WTD

I stopped at WTD #5, examined the hand lever, and read all of the warning signs.  A cadet explained that the doors may also be closed on the Bridge or on the Quarterdeck.  On the Bridge, there is a display that shows where the doors are located and whether they are open or closed. 

Until recently, the Quarterdeck controls for the WTDs were kept hidden behind two doors.  When the Quarterdeck was remodeled last fall, a decision was made to leave the controls exposed.  The photos to the right show what it looks like now.  In the event of an emergency the hand pump would removed and attached to the control box that corresponds to the door that is being closed.

Cadets are educated on safety practices related to the WTDs.  An alarm is sounded when the doors are being closed .  It is stressed that cadets should take the alarm seriously and not try to sneak through a WTD as it is about to close.  This could prove deadly.  SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations require that the doors close within 40 seconds - but take not less than 20 seconds to close. 

It is important that all cadets know multiple ways to reach their lifeboats.  Often a WTD will be closed during a drill.  Cadets must be able to quickly seek an alternate route to safety.  Because there are regular drills on the TS Kennedy, cadets do not panic when faced with this challenge. 

Do you enjoy reading about Titanic?  If so, then you probably already know that the ship had sixteen watertight compartments.  Even though the ship sank over 100 years ago, there is an ongoing debate about why Titanic’s WTDs failed to do their job.

Would you like to build your own WTD?  Click on the link to Titanic Science - The Teacher’s Guide.

Be sure to check out Watertight Bulkheads Or How To Carry Seawater As Cargo on pages 8 and 9.  This hands-on experiment is ideal for upper elementary, middle school, and high school students.  It takes just one class period and requires just three two-liter bottles, scissors, a dishpan, DUCT tape, a timer, and some type of weights such as clay balls or marbles.  If you're enjoying school vacation, maybe you and your family could  work on the project at home.

Here is a photo from the blog Teaching With A Mountain View.

It shows how one class completed the activity described above.  It sure looks interesting! 

photo of experiement with 2 liter bottle

One thing is for sure, if my pirate ancestors had had WTDs on their ships, I am certain that there would have been far fewer shipwrecks. 

Enjoy your day, Matey!

Your favorite Buccaneer,

Big Buc

WTD #2


watertight door controls
This control panel is found on the Bridge.

control panel on the quarterdeck.
This control panel is found on the Quarterdeck.

instructions on quarterdeck
control panel for #6
watertight door control box