Retired Navy Capt. Robert Forrest Hale, 89, a specialist in ship design and construction, a veteran of both world wars and a former university professor, died Friday at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had a kidney ailment.

A 1914 graduate of the Naval Academy, Capt. Hale served aboard the battleships USS North Dakota and the USS Wyoming during World War I.

After earning a master's degree in ship design and construction from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1920, he was a marine engineering and naval construction specialist at the New York Navy Yard, the Naval Academy and the Navy Department's bureau of construction and repair in Washington.

From 1934 to 1941, he was planning and production officer at the Norfolk and Portsmouth (Va.) navy yards. He then served as supervisor of ship-building in New York until his military retirement in 1947.

Capt. Hale, who was born in Johnson City, Tenn., earned a law degree and a doctor of laws degree from the University of Maryland. He was an associate professor of business law at the university from 1948 to 1953 and also taught mechanical engineering at the University of Tennessee for a year. a

Before retiring a second time in 1960, he was New England representative for the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp. for about six years.

He and his wife, the former Lucy R. Rose, moved to Chevy Chase in 1960.Mrs. Hale died in 1968.

Survivors include three sons, John I. Jr., of Severna Park, Ret. Navy Capt. Robert R., of Alea, Hawaii, and Randolph M., of Gaithersburg, and four grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Diabetic Foundation Inc., Boston, Mass., or to the National Kidney Foundation in Washington.