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Reading about engines: I see that today there is an internationally recognised colour code for pipes found in ship engine rooms (e.g. for Sea water, potable water, fuel, etc). Does anyone know if there was an agreed colour coding for pipes and machinery in British ships in the 1940s and 1950s? I cannot find anything on this, I wonder if pipes just carried printed labels e.g. 'Seawater', 'freshwater', 'fuel' etc. - Peter
 

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Sea Water - Green
Fresh Water - Pale Blue
Fire Main - Red
I seem to remember Pale Cream was Lube Oil, Fuel Oil was Brown... or similar.

As cadet O was painting vales on deck of a tanker. No brown so I 'made some'. The Bosun said, "Looks like the same colour as scared woman ****e!"
 

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From my time on Merchant ships 70s and 80s We only painted the valves and handwheels to represent what was in the pipes although many of the handwheels had engraved brass discs on top of the hand wheel. I do not remember any regulation for this just seemed good practice.
 

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In the engine room it used to be that the pipe flanges were painted, e.g. seawater green, fresh cooling water blue, fuel brown etc. When I finished 5 years ago it was sticky tape on the pipes conforming to the ISO code.
 

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First time I asked question about pipe colours was in 1965 age 12 in tug MARINIA. The pipe in question was green and there was a glass view set in the pipe, sea water cooling pipe. A couple of weeks ago I was told to check out some 'tugporn' on You Tube. Found the clip: SEA HORSES - TUGBOATS FROM THE 1960's. What a clip! Wonderful and perect colour. There in the middle clip shows MARINIA departing Rotterdam. Also a shot of the ER. Just as I remembered althought in this clip it looks more 'brown', but my own photo is in B&W, definitely green. The engineer in the clip looks like Wally Martin, Ch Eng. Also in the clip is Capt George Leggate. Fine fellow and he allowed to to come on board the tug and make trips aroung the harbour. MARINIA was based in Bermuda for 18 months. Capt Leggate told me to come sea on deck. The Ch Eng told be to become an engineer. I was smart... I went to Bda Technical School after that, but went to sea for 'deck'!

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There’s an international standard now ISO14726.
 

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Sea Water - Green
Fresh Water - Pale Blue
Fire Main - Red
I seem to remember Pale Cream was Lube Oil, Fuel Oil was Brown... or similar.

As cadet O was painting vales on deck of a tanker. No brown so I 'made some'. The Bosun said, "Looks like the same colour as scared woman ****e!"
ED's was yellow for lube oil, pale blue for fresh water, green for seawater, brown for fuel and black for bilge. Start air was purple. was the norm in the 60's.
 

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Building yard was supposed to attach sticky tape but never did - handed over rolls of different colours to us to attach. Needless to say never got done!!
Dannic
 

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I remember one ship I sailed on where one Second Engr on one swing liked the pipework colour coded and had the Chinese E.R crew paint it to his satisfaction and then the Second Engr on the other swing did not like that and had them paint the pipes white again. This was a regular fight and if you sailed with both Seconds during your time you were caught in the middle. At one stage in all the confusion even the handrails were colour coded!
 

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There is, perhaps, a possibility of someone going from sea to land or vice versa. It could get confusing:

In land based environments we have BS1710, used in factories etc:

Green - Water
Silver, Grey - Steam
Brown - Oils (mineral, vegetable or animal)
Yellow Ochre - Gases (in either gas or liquid phase - except air)
Violet - Acids/Alkalis.
Light blue - Air
Black - Other liquids
Orange - Electrical Services & Ventilation Ducts

and the subsidiary:
Red- Fire fighting
Yellow - Warning
Auxiliary blue - Fresh water
(All with their BS4800 colour)

Or then again, the HSA guidelines, used for duct-work but extending into premises.
Red - High tension electricity or public lighting.
Black - Low tension electricity
Yellow - Gas, also for other flammables.
Blue - potable water.
Green, or Grey - Telecoms
Orange - Signals.
Purple - data lines.
Terra Cotta - Drainage.
 
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