What is a Plankowner?
A Plankowner is a ship’s crewmember who is assigned to a U.S. Navy ship on the day of the ship’s commissioning. The naval term “plankowner” finds its origin back in the days of sailing ships when sailors slept on deck. Because some planks of the deck were softer than others, the crew would select those to sleep upon, and in time would regard them as their own. In many cases, when the ship was dismantled, crew members would, in fact, lay claim to these planks as mementos of their seagoing days. In today’s Navy, plankowner’s receive Plankowner Plaques since they can no-longer lay claim to a piece of wooden plank on the ships deck. The sense of ownership felt by a ship’s crew, especially by its commissioning crew, has carried this naval term into the twenty-first century – to today’s steel ships with their advanced multi-mission capabilities to defend our nation and project power to the furthest reaches of the globe.
Honorary Plankowners are a select group of individuals who have helped bring a U.S. Navy ship to life by supporting the commissioning week events and ceremony — either thru their efforts or financial assistance. Honorary plankowners receive a Plankowner certificate and in many cases receive a personalized Plankowner Plaque which they can proudly display. Honorary Plankowner’s also receive a commemorative Commissioning Coin, something not available to all commissioning ceremony attendees. Here’s how you can be an HONORARY PLANKOWNER of USS RAFAEL PERALTA (DDG 115).