Fitting-out, or "outfitting”, is the process in shipbuilding that follows the float-out of a vessel and precedes sea trials. It is the period when all the remaining construction of the ship is completed and readied for delivery to her owners. Since most of the fitting-out process is interior work, this stage can overlap with latter stages, such as the sea trials.

Launching or floating

After a vessel has been floated (in contemporary shipbuilding) or launched (in traditional shipbuilding), it is then towed out of its drydock and moored at a fitting-out berth. While still afloat, its construction is then continued. Depending on the type of vessel, fitting-out can last weeks or many months. Vessels with comparatively little space for human occupation, such as oil tankers, bulk carriers and container ships, can take the least time for fitting. Conversely, passenger ships take the longest. The process can include:

  • completion of the superstructure,
  • installation of the ship’s power plant, engines, and other machinery,
  • interior equipment and systems, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC,
  • finishing of interior spaces,
  • and installation of furnishings.

Whatever construction is completed during fitting is also dependent on the shipyard’s capabilities and the availability of equipment prior to floating. For example, Queen Mary 2 was originally to have its propeller pods installed prior to floating, but this was not done until the fitting-out stage.

Contemporary ship construction usually has the vessel returning to drydock several times for installation of propulsion mechanisms (such as propulsion pods in contemporary vessels) and for the painting of surfaces below the waterline.

Falaj 2-class patrol vessel

The Falaj 2 class are patrol boats of the United Arab Emirates Navy classified as stealth inshore patrol vessels (IPVs).


Float-out is the process in modern shipbuilding that follows the keel laying and precedes the fitting-out process. It is analogous to launching a ship, a specific process that has largely been discontinued in modern shipbuilding. Both floating-out and launching are the times when the ship leaves dry land and becomes waterborne for the first time, and often take place during ceremonies celebrating and commemorating that event.

Gepard-class frigate

The Russian Gepard-class frigates (Project 1166.1) is a class of frigates that were intended as successors to the earlier Koni-class frigates and Grisha, and Parchim-class corvettes. The first unit of the class, Yastreb (Hawk), was laid down at the Zelenodol'sk Zavod shipyard at Tatarstan in 1991. She was launched in July 1993, after which she began fitting out; fitting was nearly completed by late 1995, when it was suspended due to lack of funds. Renamed Tatarstan, the ship was finally completed in July 2002, and became the flagship of the Caspian Flotilla. She has two sister ships, Albatross (renamed Dagestan), and Burevestnik (Storm Petrel), which was still under construction as of 2012.

Guided missile destroyer

A guided-missile destroyer is a destroyer designed to launch guided missiles. Many are also equipped to carry out anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations. The NATO standard designation for these vessels is DDG. Nations vary in their use of destroyer D designation in their hull pennant numbering, either prefixing or dropping it altogether. The U.S. Navy has adopted the classification DDG in the American hull classification system.

In addition to the guns, a guided-missile destroyer is usually equipped with two large missile magazines, usually in vertical-launch cells. Some guided-missile destroyers contain powerful radar systems, such as the United States’ Aegis Combat System, and may be adopted for use in an anti-missile or ballistic-missile defense role. This is especially true of navies that no longer operate cruisers, so other vessels must be adopted to fill in the gap.

HMAS Adelaide (L01)

HMAS Adelaide (L01) is the second of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Construction of the ship started at Navantia's Spanish shipyard with steel-cutting in February 2010. The ship was laid down in February 2011, and launched on 4 July 2012. Delivery to Australia for fitting out at BAE Systems Australia's facilities in Victoria was scheduled for 2013, but did not occur until early 2014. Despite construction delays and predictions the ship was commissioned in December 2015.


HMSAS Natal (pennant number: K10) was one of three Loch-class frigates in the South African Navy (SAN). It was built as HMS Loch Cree (K430) for the Royal Navy during World War II, but was transferred to the SAN before completion in 1945 and renamed as HMSAS Natal. Just hours after finishing fitting out, the ship sank a German submarine off the coast of Scotland in early 1945. It was assigned convoy escort duties for the remaining few months of the war in Europe. Natal had her anti-aircraft armament reinforced for service in the Far East after arriving in South Africa in June. In September–October, the ship participated in the reoccupation of British Malaya before returning home the following month.

It was assigned to ferry troops home from Egypt afterwards and participated in the annexation of the Prince Edward Islands in late 1947. Together with her sister ships, Natal made port visits in Middle Africa in 1948. It was placed in reserve in 1953 and was converted into a survey ship during the mid-1950s. The ship participated in the 1957–58 International Geophysical Year and the 1962–63 International Indian Ocean Expedition. Natal was obsolete by 1972 and was sunk as a target that year.

HMS Valiant (1759)

HMS Valiant was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, modelled on the captured French ship Invincible and launched on 10 August 1759 at Chatham Dockyard. Her construction, launch and fitting-out are the theme of the 'Wooden Walls' visitor experience at Chatham Historic Dockyard. She served under Augustus Keppel during the Seven Years' War, and under George Rodney at the Battle of the Saintes. Valiant also served under Admiral Prince William in 1789 and fought at the Glorious First of June in 1794. In 1799 she was placed on harbour service, and was eventually broken up in 1826.

INS Vikrant (2013)

INS Vikrant, also known as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1), is an aircraft carrier under construction by Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, Kerala for the Indian Navy. It is the first aircraft carrier to be built in India. The name Vikrant (Sanskrit vikrānta, literally "stepping beyond") means "courageous". The motto of the ship is Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah, which is taken from Rigveda 1.8.3 and can be translated as "I defeat those who fight against me".

Work on the ship's design began in 1999, and the keel was laid in February 2009. The carrier was floated out of its dry dock on 29 December 2011 and was launched on 12 August 2013. As of 2018, the ship is expected to start sea trials in 2020 and enter into service in 2021. The project cost has escalated to ₹19,341 crore (US$2.7 billion) as of 2014.

Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano

Shinano (信濃) was an aircraft carrier built by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during World War II, the largest such built up to that time. Laid down in May 1940 as the third of the Yamato-class battleships, Shinano's partially complete hull was ordered to be converted to a carrier following Japan's disastrous loss of four fleet carriers at the Battle of Midway in mid-1942.

Her conversion was still not finished in November 1944 when she was ordered to sail from the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal to Kure Naval Base to complete fitting out and transfer a load of 50 Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka rocket-propelled kamikaze flying bombs. She was sunk en route, 10 days after commissioning, on 29 November 1944, by four torpedoes from the U.S. Navy submarine Archerfish. Over a thousand sailors and civilians were rescued and 1,435 were lost, including her captain. She remains the largest warship ever sunk by a submarine.

Kashalot-class submarine

The Project 1910 Kashalot class submarine (NATO reporting name: Uniform) is a class of research and special operations submarine constructed by the Soviet Union during the late 1970s and early 1980s.Two boats of the class were constructed, AS-13 and AS-15, with the first boat of the class being laid down in 1977 and commissioned in 1986, the second being laid down in 1983 but not commissioned until 1991. A third class boat, AS-12, reached the fitting-out stage before being cancelled in 1998.Displacing 1,580 tons submerged, the Kashalot class was constructed using a single titanium hull design, and is powered by a nuclear reactor; they were the first Soviet nuclear-powered submarines to have a single hull. The boats each have a crew of 36 officers and men.

RMS Queen Elizabeth

The RMS Queen Elizabeth was an ocean liner operated by Cunard Line. With Queen Mary she provided weekly luxury liner service between Southampton in the United Kingdom and New York City in the United States, via Cherbourg in France.

While being constructed in the mid-1930s by John Brown and Company at Clydebank, Scotland, the build was known as Hull 552. Launched on 27 September 1938, she was named in honour of Queen Elizabeth, then Queen Consort to King George VI, who became the Queen Mother in 1952. With a design that improved upon that of Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth was a slightly larger ship, the largest passenger liner ever built at that time and for 56 years thereafter. She also has the distinction of being the largest-ever riveted ship by gross tonnage. She first entered service in February 1940 as a troopship in World War II, and it was not until October 1946 that she served in her intended role as an ocean liner.

With the decline in the popularity of the transatlantic route, both ships were replaced by the smaller, more economical Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969. Queen Mary was retired from service on 9 December 1967, and was sold to the city of Long Beach, California. Queen Elizabeth was sold to a succession of buyers, most of whom had unsuccessful plans for her. Finally Queen Elizabeth was sold to Hong Kong businessman Tung Chao Yung, who intended to convert her into a floating university cruise ship called Seawise University. In 1972, while undergoing refurbishment in Hong Kong harbour, fire broke out aboard under unexplained circumstances and the ship was capsized by the water used to fight the fire. In 1973, the wreck was deemed an obstruction to shipping in the area, and so was partially scrapped where she lay.

River-class mine hunter

The River-class mine hunter is a class of ships ordered in 1978 as research vessels to be operated by the South African Navy for the Department of Transport to circumvent the arms embargo in place at the time. They were originally named Navors (Afrikaans for "research") and numbered 1 to 4The first ship Navors I was shipped to Durban from Germany in June 1980 for fitting out, shortly followed by the second. The last pair were built in Durban. The vessels were painted blue with white upperworks and formed the First Research Squadron. They were renamed in 1982 after South African rivers - (Umkomaas, Umhloti, Umgeni, Umzimkulu) but continued to fly the national flag and not the naval ensign. The prefix RV was only changed to SAS on 3 February 1988 when they were formally accepted as naval ships.

SS Albertic

SS Albertic was a British ocean liner that served during the 1920s and 1930s.

The ship was laid down in 1914 by AG Weser of Bremen, Germany, but construction was halted during the war. Work resumed in 1919, and she was finally launched on 23 March 1920 as the München for Germany's Norddeutscher Lloyd Line. However, before she could enter service for NDL, she was handed over to the British government as war reparations, and promptly sold to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company who renamed her Ohio. After a prolonged fitting out, the Ohio finally made her maiden voyage on 3 April 1923, sailing from Hamburg to New York. In 1927 Ohio was transferred to the White Star Line and renamed Albertic. As a White Star Line ship she served on the trans-Atlantic service between Britain, Canada and the United States from April 1927 until August 1930, when she was laid up in the River Clyde. Albertic was broken up for scrap at Osaka, Japan, in 1934. This is because Cunard, facing a dramatic drop in passenger bookings during the Great Depression, decided to scrap older White Star Line ships like Albertic, to focus their resources on completing the new and larger RMS Queen Mary.

Sea trial

A sea trial is the testing phase of a watercraft (including boats, ships, and submarines). It is also referred to as a "shakedown cruise" by many naval personnel. It is usually the last phase of construction and takes place on open water, and it can last from a few hours to many days.

Sea trials are conducted to measure a vessel’s performance and general seaworthiness. Testing of a vessel’s speed, maneuverability, equipment and safety features are usually conducted. Usually in attendance are technical representatives from the builder (and from builders of major systems), governing and certification officials, and representatives of the owners. Successful sea trials subsequently lead to a vessel’s certification for commissioning and acceptance by its owner.

Although sea trials are commonly thought to be conducted only on new-built vessels (referred by shipbuilders as 'builders trials'), they are regularly conducted on commissioned vessels as well. In new vessels, they are used to determine conformance to construction specifications. On commissioned vessels, they are generally used to confirm the impact of any modifications.

Sea trials can also refer to a short test trip undertaken by a prospective buyer of a new or used vessel as one determining factor in whether to purchase the vessel.

Titan Clydebank

Titan Clydebank is a 150-foot-high (46 m) cantilever crane at Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It was designed to be used in the lifting of heavy equipment, such as engines and boilers, during the fitting-out of battleships and ocean liners at the John Brown & Company shipyard. It was also the world's first electrically powered cantilever crane, and the largest crane of its type at the time of its completion.

Situated at the end of a U-shaped fitting out basin, the crane was used to construct some of the largest ships of the 20th century, including the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth 2. The Category A Listed historical structure was refurbished in 2007 as a tourist attraction and shipbuilding museum.

Type 052D destroyer

The Type 052D destroyer (NATO code name Luyang III class, or Kunming class after the lead ship) is a class of guided missile destroyers being deployed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force. Currently it is being built at two different Chinese shipyards.

After the Type 052C destroyer (NATO code name Luyang II class, or Lanzhou class after the lead ship), two new hulls were spotted under construction at Changxingdao-Jiangnan Shipyard (JNCX) in August 2012. According to imagery, they were armed with a new 130 mm main gun and new AESA radar system. Altogether nine vessels of this class are now fitting out or under construction, two vessels are on sea trial and eleven vessels are active.

Despite being only halfway through the 052D production run, the PLAN has begun serial construction of the class successor, the larger and more powerful Type 055 destroyer. The Type 052D Luyang destroyers are not quite as large and capable as their latest Type 055 program. They are, nonetheless, modern and competent warships.

USS Glide (1862)

The first USS Glide was a sternwheel tinclad gunboat in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.

Glide originally built in Shousetown, Pennsylvania in 1862 and purchased by Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 17 November 1862. She was taken to Cairo, Illinois for fitting out and commissioned on 3 December 1862, Acting Lieutenant Selim E. Woodworth in command.

After fitting out, Glide departed on 3 January 1863 for the lower Mississippi River as part of the Mississippi Squadron. She participated in the fierce engagement at Fort Hindman, or Arkansas Post, 11 January as part of the division of light-draft gunboats under the overall command of Lieutenant Commander Watson Smith. As army forces launched the assault, Glide and the other gunboats helped to silence the powerful batteries. She passed the fort under heavy fire and proceeded upstream to cut off possible escape routes for the garrison.

After aiding in the important victory at Fort Hindman, helping to open the White River, Glide served briefly there as a gunboat and supply ship until she was sent to Cairo for repairs in early February 1863. While she was repairing there on 7 February 1863, an unexplained fire broke out forward and within a few minutes the tinclad was entirely destroyed.

USS Pert (PG-95)

USS Pert (PG-95), the second United States Navy ship of that name, was one of eight Canadian-built corvettes turned over to the U.S. Navy for operation by the United States Coast Guard. She was laid down by Morton Engineering and Dry Dock Co., Ltd., Quebec, Canada, 22 July 1942; launched 27 November 1942; and commissioned at Quebec 23 July 1943, Lieutenant A. L. Cunningham, USCG, in command.

Pert remained at Quebec until 7 September; thence, she sailed with USS Prudent via Halifax to Boston where she arrived 18 September. After fitting out, she carried out an intensive shakedown off Bermuda early in November. Returning to New York 20 November, she was assigned to the Eastern Sea Frontier, and began convoy escort patrols 28 November.

Between 28 November and 4 December, Pert screened Convoy NG-401 from New York City to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 2 December she carried out a depth charge attack against a suspected submarine without results. The gunboat made the return run to New York 9–17 December, and on 23 December she joined the screen of her next Cuban-bound convoy, NG-406.

During the remainder of the war Pert continued her important escort and patrol operations along the East Coast and into the Caribbean. Based at Tompkinsville, N.Y., she served with sister gunboats including USS Action and Impulse. Their outstanding performance helped lessen the threat of U-boats against Allied shipping. Moreover, they permitted the larger destroyer types to wage aggressive hunter-killer patrols against the German submarines.

Following the defeat of the Axis powers, Pert operated out of the 3d Naval District until 3 October 1945 when she decommissioned. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 24 October 1945. Transferred to the Maritime Commission on 18 October 1946, she was immediately delivered to her buyer, United Boat Service Co. of City Island, N.Y.

Ex-Pert was renamed Olympic Leader in 1950. Sold to a Japanese company, she was renamed Otori Maru No. 1 in 1956, and Kyo Maru No. 15 in 1957.

USS Pheasant (AM-61)

USS Pheasant (AM-61/MSF-61) was an Auk-class minesweeper named after the Pheasant, a large game bird found in the United States and other countries. Pheasant was laid down on 22 July 1942 at the Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan; launched on 24 October 1942, sponsored by Mrs. Harry J. Defoe, wife of the shipyard owner; and commissioned on 12 December 1942, with Lieutenant Commander John B. Burnham in command.

Following fitting out at Boston, Massachusetts, Pheasant helped to protect convoys along the eastern and gulf coasts of the United States beginning in early 1943. Immediately preceding the Normandy invasion of 6 June 1944, she swept dangerous mines from fire support areas used by the battleships Texas and Arkansas. From 29 June until her departure for Oran, Algeria, on 15 July 1944, she cleared areas to be used for the invasion of Cherbourg, France. Later, in the Mediterranean, she made exploratory sweeps prior to the invasion of southern France. She swept successfully in the Mediterranean until May 1945 when she received orders to return to the United States.

Pheasant entered the Reserve Fleet at San Diego, California, in December 1945. She was reclassified MSF-61 on 7 February 1955, struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 December 1966, and later sunk as a target.

Pheasant received two battle stars for World War II service.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.