P-520: WWII & Korean War Crashboat


The P-520 is garnering interst from many organizations and individuals. Keep up with the latest news about the boat.

Ariticle by Donna Cole   Click the link to read

P-520 at Stoney Creek


Feb 7, 2023   Click this Link to Read this story

ThoseFightingCrashBoatsWebFebruary 2018 Vol 51/No 2

We didn't like to be called a "crash boat." True enough, our official Navy designation was Patrol Aircraft Rescue Boat, but from the first, before we ever left the States for the invasion of North Africa, we were checked out by high-level gold-braid and classified "for special purposes." At first, vague references were made to commando raids, but as the war developed, so did our role. Sixty-three-feet of streamlined plywood boat, we were a smaller edition of the PTs. Where the bigger craft had three banks of 12-cylinder, 1200-horsepower Packard engines, we had two. Like the PTs, we carried twin-mount .50-cal machine guns; unlike them, we carried no torpedos. But fast! We were the fastest surface raft in the Navy, planing along at 54-kts even when fully loaded...


10964 The Palisades Newsletter: Mar 2009 - Issue 204
By Carol Knudson Guzewich

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News20220511aLong-time Palisadian Bill Knudson started working at Petersen’s Boatyard in the summer of 1941 as a carpenter. The boatyard, at the foot of Van Houten Street on the Hudson River in Upper Nyack, is one of the oldest on the Eastern seaboard dating back to 1787.

Originally known as “Tallman’s Dock” for Abraham Tallman who purchased the riverfront plot in 1793, it saw the building of schooners, paddle-wheel steamers and pleasure craft through the 1800s. During World War I the shipyard built submarine chasers. Following the war, the boatyard specialized in yacht building until the 1929 depression.

Julius Petersen who owned a small yard at the foot of Burd Street acquired the yard around this time. In early 1941, with the Second World War imminent, Petersen received government contracts to build two 110- foot wooden-hulled sub chasers. The yard would go on to produce about ten sub chasers and over forty 85-foot airsea rescue boats during WWII. Bill remembers this busy time. There were more than 300 men employed there with an office set up by the Navy. It was a seven-day a week operation. All the hulls were hand-framed; patterns and templates were shaped in the yard’s three-story mold loft. Workmen laid out whole ships on the floor of the loft from blueprints. At one point, Bill won a lottery among the workers to choose a sponsor for a sub chaser. He chose his mother, Anna Knudson, to christen U.S.S. P.C. 1315.

After a deferment for shipbuilding, Bill was drafted in 1943. He joined the Merchant Marines and within two weeks he was on a Liberty ship taking troops to North Africa as part of a convoy of almost 80 ships. He continued with the Merchant Marines as ship’s carpenter and got to see quite a bit of the world until 1950. Shipping was slowing down at that time so Bill resumed his job at Petersen’s. They had stopped building boats by this time, but remained active as a storage and repair marina, in part due to their large travel-lift and sheds for indoor storage space for boats.

News20220511bAround WWII, Julius Petersen’s son Arthur assumed ownership upon the death of his father. He then sold the boatyard to partners Craig Carle, Bill Gould, Stanley Sargeant and Joe Rasso. Craig Carle ended up buying the others out and when he died in the early 90s his grandsons Tom and Jeff Benneville, inherited the yard.

By the time Bill rejoined Petersen’s he was not only a carpenter, but an electrician and a plumber as well because, as he puts it, “you need to know everything when you’re working on a boat.” Bill worked regularly at the yard until the mid 1990s, occasionally working there afterwards as an outside contractor.

A large store on the site sold boating equipment; it has been torn down along with a number of buildings. While Petersen’s is still a boatyard, its future is in doubt. The owners have applied to the Village of Upper Nyack to change the zoning from water-dependent business to residential and have stated their intentions to build townhouses on the property.

The P520 was pulled into dry dock for routine maintenance.

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U.S.A.A.F. P-520
WWII & Korean War US Army Air Force Crashboat