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.
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.
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.
FIRST DOG WATCH
SECOND DOG 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.