In this chapter, you will learn about the basic
shipboard watch organization. You will learn about a
typical watch, quarter, and station bill; the terms used
during watches; and some typical watches, both ashore
and afloat. You will also learn about procedures for
reporting bearings and using binoculars.
Learning Objectives: When you finish this chapter,
you will be able to
Recognize the responsibilities of personnel for
the Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill.
Identify types of watches, general orders of a
sentry, procedures to follow when relieving an
armed watch, and when a weapon may be fired.
Recognize the duties of lookouts.
During a ships entire commissioned life, it will
always have Sailors on watch. There are probably more
than a hundred different types of watches, depending on
the ship or station.
Whatever type of watch, the watch stander must
devote full attention to it. The ships organization and
the watches manned by its personnel keep the ship
running smoothly 24 hours a day. Watches vary, of
course, depending on both the type of ship and whether
the ship is under way or in-port. Even when the ship is
moored in-port and receiving hotel services (utilities,
such as steam, water, and electricity) from the pier or
another ship, its necessary to maintain a watch for
communications, security, and safety.
During your time in the Navy, you will be required to
stand many watches. Some watches will be of a security
nature, such as a pier sentry or roving patrol; others will
be operational, such as a telephone talker and/or status
board operator. Whatever the type of watch, you must
devote your full attention to it. Inattention or negligence
on your part can result in serious consequences for the
ship and your fellow shipmates.
Probably the most important log you will maintain
is the ships deck log. The basic requirements for
maintaining the deck log are contained in the U.S. Navy
Regulations and Standard Organization and
Regulations of the U.S. Navy. The ships deck log is a
complete daily record, by watches, of every event of
importance or interest about the crew and the operation
and safety of the ship.
A ships deck log has both historical importance and
legal standing. At times, it may be used in naval,
admiralty, and civil courts. In an incident involving the
ship, the log may be the only available evidence on which
to base a legal decision. At sea, the ships deck log is kept
by the quartermaster of the watch (QOOW). In-port,
chronological entries are made, but these entries are
made by the petty officer of the watch (POOW).
Entries in the ships deck log are handwritten using
a black, ball-point pen. Entries must be neat and legible.
Use only standard Navy phraseology. Because the log
may be used as evidence in legal proceedings, do not
erase an entry. If you make a mistake, draw a single line
through the original entry (so that it remains legible),
insert the correct entry, and place your initials in the
margin. The log is signed at the end of each watch by the
OOD. The name of the officer of the deck must also be
printed beneath the signature. Facsimile signature is not
The following are entries that are always recorded:
Convening of courts-martial or fact-finding
Inspections held, including administrative,
material, personnel, lower deck, and magazine
Injuries, accidents, and casualties
Salutes fired and flags displayed
Thank God I have done my duty.
Admiral Horatio Nelson