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A plank owner (also referred to a plankowner) is an individual who was a member of the crew of a ship when that ship was placed in commission. Originally, this term applied only to crew members that were present at the ship's first commissioning. Today, however, plank owner is often applied to members of newly commissioned units, new military bases and recommissioning crews as well

Plankowner is a term used by the United States Navy, and has consequently been variously defined by different units. The origin of the term is the implication that a crew member was around when the ship was being built and commissioned, and therefore has bragging rights to the "ownership" of one of the planks in the main deck.

Historically, a plankowner in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard, or his widow, could petition the Naval Historical Center's Curator Branch for a piece of the deck when the ship was decommissioned.

Sailors who are plank owners at their current command often have the word "PLANKOWNER" embroidered on the back of their uniform ball cap to denote this designation. A plaque is placed aboard the ship with the crew names. When in port, the departure of a plank owner for the final time is usually announced on the 1MC public announcing system with a bell-ring, as <ding, ding> "Plank owner, departing."

In lieu of an actual 'plank' from the deck of a newly commissioned ship (these being pretty hard to come by in this day and age) crew members are presented with a Plank Owner Certificate commemorating their unique status of being part of the Original Crew when the ship became part of the U. S. Navy.*

* information from wikipedia.org

MPA members who signed up in our inaugural year (before September 1, 2012), are considered our MPA "Plank Owner" members! Click here to become a member today!

The Maritime Patrol Asssociation, Inc. is a Florida not for profit corporation. It was formed in 2011 and is
tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax ID No. 45-1968605).
Copyright 2011-2012.

The Martime Patrol Assocition is a non-federal entity operated and controlled by individuals acting in their private capacities.
It is not a part of the U.S. Department of Defense or any of its components and has no governmental status.