Beaching Equipment & Procedures
General Beaching Procedures:
LST's purpose is to land combat ready men and materials directly to the enemy
shore. To do this the ship must be beached.
Generally, running a ship aground or intentionally beaching is something all
captains avoid. When it does happen, it is generally done because it is
the only way a captain can prevent a damaged ship from sinking. The LST
Captain, on the other hand, is not only expected to intentionally beach his
vessel, but also to back it off on his own, without assistance. Beaching
trim is obtained by flooding or pumping out the salt-water in the forward
ballast tanks, as well as changes in the fuel and fresh water ballast tanks
located farther aft.
The desire is to place the bow as close to the water’s edge as
most beaches, it was not possible to drop the leading edge of the ramp onto dry
land, so pontoon or bulldozed earthen causeways were often used effectively.
underwater beach sand contains a considerable water content which acts as a
lubricant to slide the LST’s bottom up onto the beach closer to the shoreline.
The disadvantage is that under the pressure of the ship it causes the
sand to produce a suction which will resist the forthcoming retraction.
an LST beaches on a normal sand bottom, there is no sudden jolt, it is more like
a toboggan coming to the end of its run.
Damage can occur when rocks, coral heads, or metallic objects are struck.
and retracting is a complex exercise, and will be further explained in its
two-parts, but the general requirements are:
to discharge cargo:
a normal beaching to discharge cargo, in the change from ocean-going to beaching
trim, we pump out ballast forward and may take on ballast aft to obtain the
bow doors would be undogged except for the top dog
the stern anchor placement position.
The stern anchor will be placed about 900 feet from the shoreline.
The calculation of about 600-feet of cable, plus 300-feet of ship from
bow forefoot to stern winch,
plus 150 feet from the bow to shoreline, less 50 feet of slack, less 100
feet of offset to windward.
The anchor will be in about 4 to 5- fathoms of water, and permits a
safety margin of about 300-feet of cable on the winch drum.
The cable is marked with yellow bands at each 100-feet -- 1 yellow band
at 100-feet; 2 yellow bands at 200-feet; etc.
As a warning, the stern cable is painted yellow the entire distance
between 700 and 800-feet, and painted red between 800 and 900-feet (the bitter
engine speed used in beaching is generally TWO-THIRDS or even STANDARD, with the
objective to place at least 30% of the area of the hull bottom aground.
The bow must be forced a considerable distance beyond the point of
contact, even with as little as a 4-foot draft on the forefoot of the bow.
It was common to drive the ship up onto the beach sand for about another
full-foot of water depth or more, or about another 50 to 100-feet after first
contact of the bow forefoot.
Basically, with 30% of the hull bottom in contact with the beach, it
means the contact would extend to a point slightly aft of the main deck ramp.
the ship has grounded and has been driven as far up the beach slope as she will
go by use of the ship’s engines, it is desirable to take steps to insure that
the ship will remain in place.
The salt water ballast tanks are re-flooded to hold the ship on the beach
more firmly, and to partially compensate for the weight being off-loaded.
a strain on the stern anchor cable would be taken to assist in preventing
remaining bow doors dog would be removed, the doors opened, and the ramp
ramp may very well be lowered into a depth of 3-feet of water at a distance of
some 150-feet from shoreline, to as much as a 5-feet depth at a distance of
250-feet, without consideration being given for sandbars.
This would exist on the designed beach gradient of 1-foot drop in every
50-foot distance to seaward from the shoreline.
This would be the case when assuming a forefoot draft of as little as
4-foot to as much as a 6-foot draft.
Marrying to a pontoon causeway may be required if the cargo needs to be
the beach after discharging cargo:
discharge of cargo, the ramp would be washed and raised, the bow doors would be
closed and dogged.
All equipment used in tie-downs, etc. would be stowed, and the ship made
ready for sea.
ready to retract from the beach, the forward ballast is pumped out, lightening
the bow and letting it come free from the sand more easily.
The stern anchor would have been winched to take a strain once the ship
was beached. The
stern anchor now has the job of helping to keep the ship from broaching in the
surf while retracting from the beach, until the ship can be effectively
maneuvered by engines and rudder control in the deeper waters.
suction can be a significant factor in retracting operations.
Due to the weight on the sand, the lubricating water has been squeezed
out and friction replaces it.
The objective is to move sand away and reintroduce the water film
necessary to lubricate our hull’s movement.
Many times the engines must be ordered “all back full” to create a
propeller wash strong enough to move the sand away from the hull.
In addition, it may be necessary to swing the stern from side to side
with engine power, but not so radically as to induce a severe swing that risks a
the use of fire hoses being directed on the sand at the edges of the hull have
a crowded beaching area, some skippers have dragged the bow anchor underfoot to
prevent the bow from swinging into another vessel as it backs from the beach.
stern anchor cable must have a continual strain taken to prevent overriding it
and fouling the screws.
laid the stern anchor (kedge) out about 600-feet has the advantage of a
sufficient scope of cable to provide maximum holding power, and once the anchor
is aweigh while retracting from the beach, a good decision can be made of the
water depth sufficiency to begin the maneuver of turning the bow to seaward.
Other factors in deciding to make the turn would be the strength and
direction of the surf, and the wind.
the ship would be re-ballasted to provide the desired ocean-going trim.