Written By: Camryn Keeble

Asbestos on Navy Floating Drydocks

Navy floating drydocks are specialized vessels used by the United States Navy to repair and maintain ships. These vessels have been used throughout history to provide support to the fleet and have played an important role in ensuring the readiness of naval forces. Unfortunately, floating drydocks contain a large amount of asbestos-containing materials, which can lead to complicated health conditions.

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

Reviewed By

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

VA-Accredited Claims Agent

Health Risks Associated with Asbestos on Navy Floating Drydocks

The United States Navy floating drydocks – like many other Navy ships – were built with an alarming amount of asbestos, a cancer-causing substance. Shipbuilders favored the material for its durability and heat resistance, an important characteristic of a material used to construct such powerful vessels. 

Asbestos can be found all throughout floating drydocks. For instance, it was heavily used in engine and boiler rooms, in the deck tiles, pipe and electrical insulation, HPACs, bulkheads, overheads and much more. Because of the frequent use of asbestos on floating drydocks and similar vessels, many veterans were exposed to asbestos on active duty. This is called military asbestos exposure

Exposure to asbestos of any kind can lead to serious health issues. Asbestos is known to cause different types of cancer, including mesothelioma. Other health conditions caused by asbestos are lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural plaque.  

If you are a Navy veteran and served on a Navy floating drydock, you may have been exposed to asbestos. Contact our VA-Accredited Claims Agent, retired LCDR Carl Jewett, to find out more information or for assistance filing your VA claim.

About Navy Floating Drydocks

U.S. Navy Floating Drydocks are specialized vessels designed to facilitate the repair, maintenance, and inspection of naval ships without the need for that ship to return to port. These drydocks enable the Navy to perform essential maintenance and repair work on vessels without the need to return to a land-based shipyard, increasing operational efficiency and reducing downtime for ships.

Floating drydocks operate by submerging a portion of their structure below the waterline, allowing the ship requiring maintenance to be floated into position over the submerged drydock platform.

Once the ship is in place, the drydock is then gradually raised by pumping out the water from its ballast tanks, lifting the ship clear of the water. With the ship now supported by the drydock, maintenance and repair work can be carried out on the hull, propulsion systems, or any other components below the waterline that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Navy floating drydocks have played an important role in the maintenance and repair of the Navy’s ships, ensuring the fleet is always ready to carry out its missions. Their ability to be moved to remote locations has allowed for repairs to be made in areas where traditional shipyards are not available, making them a critical asset for the Navy’s operations.

Sources & Author

  1. USS Los Alamos (AFDB-7). Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9855391. Accessed: 09/05/2023.
Camryn Keeble image

About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is the senior content writer and editor for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates informative content to educate mesothelioma patients and their loved ones on news, treatments and more. She also works diligently to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and the effects of mesothelioma.