|Yard Patrol Boats - U.S. Naval Academy"
by Paul McGehee.
Used for training purposes at the U.S.
Naval Academy, the Yard Patrol Boats (also known as YP boats) are a familiar
sight on Annapolis, Maryland's beautiful Severn River. Midshipmen learn
sailing, navigation and seamanship on these small craft, both at Annapolis
and at the Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.
The origin of these training vessels
goes back to the early days of World War II. In the dark days following
the December 7, 1941 attack on the Naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii,
the U.S. Navy put out the call for seaworthy craft that could be quickly
employed in the nation's defense. In San Diego, 600 tuna boat men volunteered
their services and their boats...a fleet of tuna fishing boats.
The Navy leased these tuna boats for
the duration of the war, painting them battleship- gray, replacing their
colorful names with numbers and sending many of them directly into combat
zones. Several of these tuna boats were sent to the South Pacific theatre
where the Japanese sought strategic control of many of the Pacific islands.
Many saw action during the long, hard-fought battle of Guadalcanal 1942-43.
Others in the "Yippie" fleet of YP's
patroled the coastal United States and the Panama Canal, and garnered a
fair amount of press back home in articles with headlines such as "Former
Tuna Boat Fishermen Sail Yippie Boats Against Japs" and "Tuna Boats Go
After the end of World War II in 1945,
some of these intrepid tuna boats were used as training craft for young
sailors and officers in training. Today, a modern fleet of Yard Patrol
Boats have assumed these training duties, providing a real at-sea environment
in which to "learn the ropes" of becoming a seagoing member of the United