The term official means a formal visit of courtesy
requiring special honors and ceremonies. An informal
visit of courtesy requiring no special ceremonies is a call.
HONORS FOR OFFICIAL VISITS
The honors specified for an official visit are
rendered on arrival as follows:
When the rail is manned, personnel are spaced
uniformly at the rail on each weather deck, facing
outboard. The command Attention is sounded as the
visitors boat or vehicle approaches the ship.
If a gun salute is prescribed on arrival, it is fired
as the visitor approaches and is still clear of the side. The
proper flag or pennant is broken on the first gun and
hauled down on the last gun except when it is to be flown
for the duration of the visit. Other ships firing a
concurrent salute also haul down, on the last gun, the
flag or pennant displayed in honor of the visitor.
If the ship visited is moored to the pier in such a
position that it is impractical to render the gun salute
before arrival on board, the salute is rendered (provided
local regulations dont forbid gun salutes) after the
official arrives on board and the commanding officer is
sure that the dignitary and party are moved to a position
in the ship that is well clear of the saluting battery.
The boat or vehicle is piped as it comes
The visitor is piped over the side, and all persons
on the quarterdeck salute and the guard presents
arms until the termination of the pipe, flourishes,
music, or gun salute, depending on which is
If the gun salute is not prescribed on arrival and a
flag or pennant is to be displayed during the visit,
it is broken at the start of the pipe.
The piping of the side, the ruffles and flourishes,
and the music are executed in the order named. In
the absence of a band, To the Colors is sounded
on the bugle, instead of the national anthem,
The visitor, if entitled to 11 guns or more, is
invited to inspect the guard upon completion of
the gun salute or such other honors as may be
On departure, the honors prescribed for an official
visit are as follows:
1. The rail is manned, if required.
2. The command Attention is sounded as the
visitor arrives on the quarterdeck.
3. When the visitor is ready to leave the ship, the
guard presents arms, all persons on the quarterdeck
salute, and ruffles and flourishes, followed by music, is
sounded. The visitor then is piped over the side. The
salute and present arms terminate with the call. If no gun
salute is fired, the flag or pennant displayed in honor of
the visitor is hauled down.
4. The boat or vehicle is piped away from the side.
5. If a gun salute is directed upon departure, it is
fired when the visitor is clear of the side. If a flag or
pennant is displayed in honor of the visitor, it is hauled
down with the last gun of the salute.
When possible, the same honors and ceremonies
are rendered for an official visit to a naval station.
When required for attending the side, the required
number of side boys will be on deck in the uniform of
the day. Side boys are mustered, inspected, and
instructed in their duties by the OOD and BMOW. They
are stationed on either side of the route across the
quarterdeck taken by arriving and departing
high-ranking officers or civilian officials who are
making official calls to the ship. When the side is piped
by the BMOW on the boatswains pipe, from two to
eight side boys, depending on the rank of the honored
official, will form a passageway to or from the gangway.
They salute on the first note of the pipe and drop the
salute together on the last note.80
Side boys must be particularly smart in appearance
and groomed with polished shoes and immaculate
uniforms. Enlisted women detailed to this duty are also
called side boys.