Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA


 "She's Gonna Blow"

By: Doug Smith WT 2/c


Jake's story about the fireman running up the ladder hollerin' "she gonna blow!" is a silly joke we used to pull on new boots and other sailors that came aboard. We only pulled this joke in port... never at sea. I assume Jake never knew the rest of the story. We black gang sailors would entice a new guy or a visiting sailor from another ship that had never seen a boiler to come below into the firer room to see the boiler. As you probably know there was a small hatch inside the boat deck (on the main deck) that had a steel ladder going straight down 2 levels to the front of the boiler where all the burners and gauges were. When the "target" was in front of the boiler, one of the Water Tenders would start seriously explaining "this and that" about the boiler, it's various parts and operation.

What the Water Tender on the upper level boiler gauge glass (where you watched the level of the water in the boiler) would suddenly do is loudly scream, "Oh my God! The boiler's gonna'
blow!" At the same time he would snap open the valve that was normally used to blow any sludge that was accumulated inside the gauge glass. This sludge and high pressure steam was piped to the bilge, just below the lower level in front of the boiler. Horrendous amounts of steam an noise would scare the liver out of the "target"!

But that's not all. With the steam billowing out surrounding the men, the firemen and explaining Water Tender would show terrific fear on their faces, jumping as if to try to control the boiler. Another guy at the back of the boiler had a big bucket filled with big bolts and nuts, chunks of iron, short pieces of Iron rod, etc. He would throw the bucket and it's contents across the deck plates behind the boiler making a racket sounding as if the boiler was splitting apart! You can't believe how fast the "target" would fly up that ladder to the main deck taking two or three steps at a time in his stride screaming, "She gonna blow!" Of course, we fire room sailors would "roll on the deck plates" holding our sides and laughing!!! It was great fun in the course of a day!

See Jake Dumelle's story Near Misses


Gonna Blow

Killing the Black Snake

Them's not Bullets

What on Earth am I Doin

Doug Smith's Service

Doug Smith's Photo Page


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