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Seaman - Military manual for the Seaman rate
Duties of a Messenger
CHAPTER  1 WATCHES As a Seaman, you are a part of the backbone of the Navy. Depending upon the location of your duty station, you may be assigned to do anything from clerical work to helping run a ship. Since most Seamen have duty assignments on board ships, this course will deal basically  with  that  situation. On board a ship, you will be assigned to jobs such as  keeping  up  the  ship's  compartments,  decks,  deck machinery  and  other  equipment,  external  structures, and lines and rigging. You will also be standing deck watches, such as helmsman, lookout, and messenger watches underway and in port; standing sentry, fire, security, anchor and other special watches; manning and operating small boats, booms, cranes and winches; and acting as a member of gun crews and damage control parties. Without personnel with the skills to do these jobs, the power of the Navy would be nonexistent. We will talk about watch standing in this chapter. A Navy ship in commission can never be left unattended. In port or underway, the security of the ship and the safety of personnel are vital. As an underway watch   stander,   you   have,   by   necessity,   a   great responsibility  placed  upon  your  shoulders.  Outstanding performance is the only acceptable performance, and it is also the minimum standard. WATCHES LEARNING   OBJECTIVE:   Identify   the different types of watches aboard ship. When assigned to a watch, you are responsible for the proper performance of all the duties prescribed for that watch. You should remain alert, be prepared for any emergency,  and  require  all  subordinates  to  be  attentive. Orders must be issued in the customary style of the U.S. Navy. When you are on watch, it is your duty to promptly inform the officer of the deck (OOD), the Boatswain's Mate, or the petty officer of the watch of any matters about the watch. Do not relieve another watch stander until you are thoroughly acquainted with the standards and responsibilities pertaining to the watch. You may decline to relieve your predecessor if you feel it is justified,  but  you  must  immediately  report  that  action  to the officer of the deck (OOD). Finally, as a watch stander, do not leave your post until relieved or secured by proper authority. Clearly, the  highest  level  of  professional  performance  is expected when on watch. TYPES OF WATCHES Civilian companies that work around the clock are said to have shifts. In the Navy, the ship's day is divided into  watches.  These  watches  follow  one  another continuously, and not only keep the ship in operation but also keep it ready for possible action. The term watch is used in several ways. Most of the watches are of 4 hours' duration. Usually, it means one of the periods into which the day is divided, as in the following  watch  periods. 0000-0400 0400-0800 0800-1200 1200-1600 1600-1800 1800-2000 2000-2400 MIDWATCH MORNING  WATCH FORENOON   WATCH AFTERNOON   WATCH FIRST  DOG  WATCH SECOND  DOG  WATCH EVENING  WATCH The 1600 to 2000 watch is dogged, which means it is divided to allow personnel to be relieved to eat their evening meal. The dog watches also permit rotation of the watches. Otherwise, personnel would stand the same watch each day. (Usually, the 1600 to 2000 watch is dogged only at sea.) DUTIES OF A WATCH STANDER A watch, in-port or underway, sometimes refers to the location of the member on watch, such as the quarterdeck watch. It may also refer to the section of the ship's crew on duty or to a member on watch, such as the  lookout  watch. 1-1

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