USS Kanawha II, later renamed USS Piqua, was a private yacht prior to her World War I Navy service. She received the section patrol number SP-130.
The troopship America was the former German ocean liner Amerika. She was assigned the U.S. Navy ID number 3006.
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Section patrol craft" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Ships of the United States Navy
Ships in current service
Ships grouped alphabetically
Ships grouped by type

A Section Patrol Craft was a civilian vessel registered by the United States Navy for potential wartime service before, during, and shortly after World War I.

Historical overview

The SP/ID registration system

In 1916, with World War I raging abroad, the U.S. Navy began a registry of privately owned pleasure craft and yachts that were available for patrol service in the event the United States was drawn into the conflict, which it eventually entered on 6 April 1917. Naval Registry Identification Numbers were assigned in a "Section Patrol" series beginning with SP-1 and ultimately extending to well over 4000.

As the registration process continued, other types of ships and craft (such as cargo ships, tankers, and passenger ships) were included which were not suited or intended for patrol duty and for which the "Section Patrol" designation was clearly inappropriate, and these were generally given "Identification" ("ID") numbers in the same series as the "SP" numbers. In addition, some vessels that were numbered with an "SP" prefix before 1918 later had that prefix changed to "ID". Many of the ships and craft assigned SP or ID numbers had no Navy service, while others that were acquired and employed by the Navy received no numbers.

The registry, and the SP/ID number series, was continued at least into the early 1920s, with new numbers being assigned to ships completed or examined after World War I ended on 11 November 1918. The latter category included some ships that served in the Navy without SP or ID numbers between 1917 and 1919.

SP/ID numbers and U.S. Navy hull numbers

The SP and ID registry numbers were not U.S. Navy "hull numbers," which would not be formally adopted until 17 July 1920. However, like hull numbers, the SP and ID numbers were used for record-keeping purposes and were often painted on the exterior of vessels (especially patrol types) to facilitate identification. They can therefore be considered precursors of the U.S. Navy hull number system instituted in July 1920 and still in use today. At least 67 vessels with ID / SP numbers were later given modern hull symbols, with a few (at least 7) retaining their ID or SP numbers under the new system.

World War I section patrol (SP) and identification number (ID) series

Incomplete listing of civilian boats and ships commissioned during World War I for use as section patrol (SP) craft and civilian cargo ships, tankers, transports, etc., commissioned for U.S. Navy use during World War and given non-"SP" identification numbers (ID) in the "SP" numbering series.

Identification numbers (ID)

See also: List of mine warfare vessels of the United States Navy § Converted steamships and freighters (ID)

Many of these ships would be later sunk during World War II while in commercial service. Two would be deliberately sunk as Mulberry harbor breakwaters during the invasion of Normandy. Only sinkings while in US Navy service with an ID number are listed.

Section patrol (SP)

See also