flag displays on boats. The Navy uses many different
flags and pennants to identify persons, ships, and
events and to communicate information to others. You
are probably familiar with many of them.
Do you know the conditions under which our flag
is displayed in a small boat? Is any flag or pennant
flown superior to the national ensign? How do you
know when an officer of flag rank is embarked in a
boat? If you do not know the answers to these
questions, you should review the material in Basic
Military Requirements, NAVEDTRA 14277.
SIDE HONORS.Side honors, rendered to
officers and officials boarding and departing the ship,
are part of the honors stipulated for an official visit.
The honors consist of parading the proper number of
side boys and piping the side by the honors boatswains
mate. Officers appropriate to the occasion also attend
the side. Side boys are not paraded on Sunday or on
other days between sunset and 0800 or during meal
hours of the crew, general drills and evolutions, and
periods of regular overhaul, except in honor of civil
officials and foreign officers. Then side boys may be
paraded at any time during daylight hours. Side boys
are paraded only for scheduled (official) visits.
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
Honors for Official Visits.The honors
specified for an official visit are rendered on arrival as
1. When the rail is manned, personnel are spaced
uniformly at the rail on each weather deck, facing
2. The command Attention is sounded as the
visitors boat or vehicle approaches the ship.
3. 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
renderedprovided local regulations do not 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.
4. The boat or vehicle is piped as it comes
5. 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 rendered last.
6. 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.
7. 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, when required.
8. The visitor, if entitled to 11 guns or more, is
invited to inspect the guard upon completion of the gun
salute or is given such other honors as may be accorded.
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 terminates 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.
Side Boys.Sides boys is a traditional term that is
used for male and female members of this detail. As
mentioned earlier in this chapter, the first impression a
visitor gets of your ship or unit is that of the
quarterdeck area. When side honors are rendered, side
boys are usually posted. They always should appear
sharp and squared away. Their uniforms should be
immaculate, and their hair should be well trimmed.
They must be properly trained to perform their duties.