Initial places to check for information about a ship or boat are:
Jane's Fighting Ships -- Use the yearly print volumes back to 1898 for older ships no longer in service (i.e., decommissioned). The print volumes are at call number VA40.F52 on the third floor of Nimitz Library.
Searching the library catalog for your ship can sometimes be tricky, see a librarian for assistance. For example, the USS New Jersey is officially listed under the subject heading:
E. Andrew Wilde, Jr., Commander, USNR (Ret.) edited a series of illustrated ships’ histories primarily of destroyers sunk in World War II. In them, he included primary source documents such as action reports, ships’ war diaries, medal citations and muster rolls as well as many firsthand accounts. Nimitz Library has 50 of these published histories and more than 30 of the Illustrated Ships Histories are available in pdf format at the Destroyer History Foundation's website.
Check for journal or newspaper articles from when your ship or boat was commissioned or in the news for some reason. A librarian can help you find these, no matter how old your ship is. The U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, which began in 1874, may be another good source for articles. Check the index to the Proceedings - the index is a print volume that tells you what articles were published when. Ask the librarians for help at any time!
There are also some Congressional or Navy Dept. Hearings on shipbuilding programs which are another possible primary source, but they are not online. For example, Hearings Before the General Board of the Navy, 1917-1950 is a useful collection on 15 reels of microfilm under VA52.A834H43. Or older Naval Affairs Committee Hearings are in the general collection book stacks under VA53.A2.
Other kinds of primary sources might include:
There may be some original primary source material in Nimitz Library's Special Collections and Archives Division, so you might want to check with them as well.
For more on logbooks available outside of USNA you may want to take a look at "Logbooks of the U.S. Navy at the National Archives"
Ask a librarian for additional assistance or contact the History Librarian, Michael Macan