The Scale Of Aircraft Carrier Maintenance Is Ridiculous

Person, for scale, on the stairs. (Photo Credits: Daily Documentary/YouTube)

The Nimitz, deployed in 1975, is the oldest U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in service today. Just keeping a small boat alive in salt water that long takes some work, but when the ship is over 1,000 feet long the scale of maintained projects is just incredible.

This clip from the show Dry Dock takes us through just a few elements of a year-long maintenance regiment that the U.S.S. Nimitz was put through a few years ago before returning to duty. When it is active, the ship is home to over 3,000 servicemen and women and some 60 aircraft.


With a 134 foot beam, that’s the ship’s widest point at the waterline, the Nimitz pushes about 97,000 tons of water out of its way with propellors the size of suburban houses.

One of the jet wing-sized rudders comes out of the vessel like a giant’s door hinge, and has to be completely sand-blasted and repainted before going back into service.

Salt water loves metal, but metal does not like salt. (Photo credit: Daily Documentary/YouTube)

Just putting a chain together is a laughably massive project when that chain has to hoist a 30 ton anchor into the air.

Man, this is frustrating when the chain fits in your hand!

Aside from the very large and significant task of maintaining the Nimitz’s pair of nuclear reactors and of course cleaning the aircraft-catching cables, a lot of these chores are the same things your uncle dreads when he pulls is boat out of its slip for the winter and gets to work replacing things the ocean has eaten.


The sheer size and weight of everything on this vessel is just awesome to see. Gives you some good perspective on what this equipment is really like up close, and just how hard a Navy mechanic’s job can be.

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