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Glossary -Continued: Thwart - Yaw
Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
Naval Terms and Customs -Continued: Bilge - Chaulk
APPENDIX  II NAVAL TERMS AND CUSTOMS Persons entering a new profession must learn the   vocabulary   peculiar   to   that   profession   to understand and make themselves understood by their   associates.   The   Navy,   too,   has   its   own vocabulary,   containing   unique   expressions   for many commonplace terms. You will soon realize that the language of the sea has a great deal of merit.  You  will  come  to  understand  that,  under certain circumstances, a word or a few words have a precise meaning or require a certain sequence of  actions.  You  will  notice  that  the  use  of  such words  will  eliminate  the  need  to  accompany  an order  with  extended  explanatory  details.  When  the proper  order  is  given,  the  desired  response  is obtained. You  will  notice,  too,  that  when  a  chance  for confusion  exists,  a  strange,  new  term  may  be substituted for an old, familiar one. For example, the word stop may be used in orders for the ship’s engines but never for the anchor windlass or for the helm. An officer conning a ship issues many different  orders  when  a  ship  is  getting  under  way, mooring,   or   anchoring.   Yet,   when   couched   in proper,   seaman-like   language,   the   orders   are understood  and  are  carried  out  by  the  proper individual  or  group.  To  stop  all  the  engines,  to stop the swing of the ship, or to stop the anchor windlass, the conning officer gives the order “All engines  stop, “Meet  her,”  or  “Avast  heaving.” These  terms  leave  no  chance  for  confusion.  The person  on  the  engine-order  telegraph  rings  up stop, the steersman puts the rudder over, or the proper  talker  relays  the  order,  “Avast  heaving,” to  the  anchor  detail  on  the  forecastle. An  order  or  a  term  may  have  its  origin  in antiquity,  or  it  may  have  been  recently  coined; but  that  is  not  important.  What  is  important  is that the expression conveys, in as few words as possible, an exact meaning with little or no chance for confusion. Those that fit this requirement live on as long as there is need for them; those that do  not  are  soon  replaced. It behooves you to learn and use this language because  it  is  a  necessary  tool  of  your  trade. This appendix describes many of the customs, terms,   or   expressions   that   form   our   nautical language. ANCHOR   WATCH Years  ago  ships  were  equipped  with  anchor cables  of  hempen  rope  and  oil-burning  riding lights. While the ship was riding at anchor, special care was taken to see that these lamps were not extinguished, that the cables did not part, and that the  ship  did  not  drag  its  anchor.  The  watch responsible for this particular duty was designated the  anchor  watch.   The  anchor  watch,  as  a  sea term, is still retained although the duties of the watch  have  changed  considerably  since  the  old days.  Today,  the  anchor  watch  is  a  detail  of personnel on deck at night safeguarding the vessel when  at  anchor. BELLS Certain  words  and  expressions  preserve  for  us old  customs,  as  in  the  instance  of  bells  struck aboard ship. They are not primarily intended to replace  clocks  for  telling  time.  But  they  do  tell clock time by measuring the periods when certain members  of  the  crew  are  standing  watch. This custom started with the hourglass—which really wasn’t an hourglass but a half-hour glass. The quartermaster on watch turned the glass at the end of his first half-hour and struck the bell one  time.  He  then  struck  the  bell  an  additional stroke  at  the  end  of  each  half-hour  after  that. At  the  end  of  4  hours,  he  would  strike  the  bell eight times, signaling the completion of his watch and  the  beginning  of  the  next  4-hour  watch.  So it  went  during  the  six  watches  of  the  24  hours, ending at midnight. While the hourglass has long been out of date, the bells are still used aboard ship. AII-1

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