Home ]  [WWII

PRB - Plane Rearmament Boat


I am looking for ANY info on WW II US NAVY PRBs, Plane Rearmament Boats. These were plywood boats, used to carry bombs and torpedoes to seaplanes such as PBYs. They are approx 34 ft in length built out of mahogany plywood over oak frames. 

My PRB came with a single Gray Marine 671 diesel engine just like the LCVP landing craft, but I have been informed by a warboats member that the PRBs were originally equipped with 6 cylinder Chrysler Crown gasoline engines. The Crowns could run on the avgas used in planes. My boat has unusual riveted copper fuel tanks that still do not leak one drop. I'd like to know if these were original. It also has some lifting rings bolted into the keel and accessible in the bilge.

My PRB has been converted to an active commercial fishing boat berthed at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.  It was (according to its USCG document) built in 1944 in Dark Harbor Maine at the Norton yard. It has been a surprisingly good sea boat even though it was not designed as such. I used it to earn my way through school fishing salmon commercially. Even after I got my degrees I still fished during the best parts of the season because I liked it so much and could make good money. My best PRB delivery was 2438 lbs of King (Chinook) salmon caught near the Farallon Islands off SF.

I do not fish for a living today. Commercial salmon fishing was banned in CA last year and 2009 looks the same. I am very fond of the boat. I am restoring it and plan to fish when I retire (I am 59 now). The quality of the original USN mahogany plywood is extraordinary. The only wood I have had trouble with is postwar civilian wood used for decking and cabin structure. I wish they still made plywood as good as that which was used to build PRBs.

I can find lots of info about PBRs LCVPs PTs, etc, but very very little on PRBs. I'd love to see some WW 2 photos of these boats in service.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Mark Meltzer,