In the last post on the CSS Indian Chief in Charleston Harbor, I mentioned that it was a receiving ship. I, at one time, believed that receiving ships were posted in harbors to receive ships into the the environs, register them and meet foreign dignitaries. That is not so.
From the U.S. Militaria Forum.
A receiving ship is any vessel serving as a point of induction into the naval service for new recruits. Naval vessels are not built specifically for this duty. They are relegated to it, normally at the end of their careers.
After the ship's condition is such that it had best remain in port and/or at anchor, they become receiving ships.
Modifications might include the removal of weaponry and the erecting of housing structures on the main deck.
Usually upon release from receiving duties, the ship is decommissioned or turned over to state naval militias.
Another person commented says a receiving ship was where sailors reported after training and before their permanent assignment and not a place of induction.