|Naval Shore Facilities|
A fleet is more than just a collection of ships. It requires an organisation and support ashore to keep it afloat and battle worthy.
Ships at sea requires regular repairs, even if they are not fighting, as wind and wave will take a toll of even the strongest vessel. Even ships that are not active require some maintenance support, as barnacles and weeds must be removed if sailing performance is not to be compromised. A warship requires a prodigious quantity of stores, food, water, and ammunition too: all of these must be collected, properly preserved and then loaded quickly and efficiently.
All of these tasks mean that navies must have their own shipyards, repair shops and warehouses available at all times. It is not enough to rely on civilian capacity.
Historically, the Royal Navy was the largest single industrial "business" in the 18th Century world. A huge fleet demanded shore facilities such as dockyards on an equally vast scale, and in every part of the world. Just supplying the fleet with food, drink, and spare parts required tremendous purchasing organisation, but the Navy was also capable of building and repairing vessels. Even British foreign policy in places like the Baltic was dominated by the need to keep the navy supplied (with mast timers and tar, in the case of the Baltic).