Other seafaring terms that intrigued me
LarrySheldon at COX.NET
Tue Mar 13 06:53:52 UTC 2012
In no particular order.....
The bosuns pipe--and annoying piercing whistle--no practical use now
except tradition--was used for relaying commands to men aloft where the
wind noise would swamp shouted orders.
A bugle was also used, but I think mostly for things that involved the
"bells" for indicating time. Actually, time was kept in two
granularities. The coarsest was "watches" four-hour on-duty periods
(starting at midnight: midwatch, morning watch, forenoon watch,
afternoon watch, first dog watch (short, see below), second dog watch
(balance of four hours), evening watch). The dog watches straddle the
evening meal--the person assigned to the second dog watch is supposed to
eat as quickly as practical and then assume their watch so the person
relieved can go eat. Give normal-steaming 4-on-8-off the assignments
drift around the clock because of the dog watches. Sirius (The Dog
Star) comes into view int the early evening.
Withing a watch, time was kept with 1/2 hour glass, when the sand ran
out and the 1/2 hourly tasks were done, the quartermaster rang the bell
once and turned the glass over. When it ran out again, two bells, and
so on to the end of the shift. You could not pass on incomplete tasks
to the next watch, everything had to be up-to-date, When that had been
accomplished, the quartermaster called out "Eight bells and all is
well", rang the bell 8 times and the ship was handed over to the next watch.
There are other terms but I am tired.
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