Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Boy's Manual of Seamanship and Gunnery

Boat Exercise


Q. You have been taught to pull an oar, and you are now stationed in a boat. What is the first thing you would attend to on your boat being ordered to be manned alongside ?

A. Take my place on the thwart I am stationed on, and see I have the right oar corresponding to the number of my thwart, put the fender next me out, and see my oar ready for tossing.

Q. What precaution, is necessary in manning a boat at sea, or when a ship is rolling much ?

A. Not to toss the oars, or ship the mast until clear of the ship, for fear they should catch under the ports, or any other part of the ship's side, and go through the bottom of the boat.

Q. What is to be done at the order " shove off " ?

A. In fenders, the off bowmen haul in, and coil the painter down if out, the bowmen nearest the ship or landing-place hear the boat off

Q. What precaution would you take at the word " down oars ?

A. Ease the oar down by the hand nearest the gunwale.

Q. What is to be done at the word " bow " ?

A. The men pulling on the foremost thwart to give one stroke after the word bow, if a double-banked boat, look at each other, lift the hand nearest the gunwale as a signal to toss together, toss their oars, and boat them, take up their boat-hooks and, stand firmly on the head-sheets, the man nearest the ship or shore to fend the boat off, the outer man to hook on, all fenders to be put out.

Q. What is to be done at the order "way enough" ?

A. Give one stroke after the order, lift the hand nearest the gunwale, as a signal, toss the oars together, always waiting for the order to boat them ; when it is necessary, the short boat-hook will be used by the man sitting on the after-thwart nearest the ship or landing place, who will boat his oar for that purpose.

Q. When the boat you belong to is ordered to be lowered, what are the necessary things you should attend to ?

A. See the plug in, rudder shipped, oars and boat-hooks properly secured, the falls clear for running, and a proper turn taken for lowering, life-lines clear, and the lanyards of the gripes gone.

Q. What is a boat's fall ?

A. A tackle by which a boat is hoisted up to the davits.

Q. You say you would see the life-lines clear, and lanyards of gripes gone ; explain what they are, and their use ?

A. Gripes are made of sword matting, made fast to the davit-heads, usually crossed outside the boat, and passed under her, and secured by lanyards in-board, to keep the boat steady when at sea, or when the ship is rolling ; life-lines are also secured to the davit-heads and are used for steadying the boat when being hoisted, also to keep her from sending fore and aft, which is done by crossing the life-lines ; that is, the man in the stern taking the foremost, and the man in the bow taking the after life-line ; when the boat is high enough to take a turn with the falls, the bight of the life-lines is rove through the slings, and over the davit-heads, then two or three round turns round all parts.

Q. What is to be done when a boat is ordered to be hoisted up ?

A. The coxswain and one of the bowmen generally go into the boat, hook the slings in their proper places, haul taut the steadying lines, and make them fast, see that the oars and boat-hooks are properly secured, and before hooking on the boat's tackles, look over their heads to see they are clear of turns ; the foremost tackle should always be hooked first when a ship is lying in tide way, or moving ahead at sea, the danger of the after tackle being hooked first, and the boat having no boat-rope in from forward is, she may swing broadside to the tide, and cause some accident ; when the order is given to " haul taut and hoist away," the men in the boat should take hold of the life-lines, and light themselves up, taking their weight off the boat until high enough ; the man tending the foremost tackle should stand before, and the man tending the after-tackles abaft the boat's-tackles. When the boat's-tackles are belayed, it is the coxswain's duty, or the man tending the after-tackle, to see the plug out, so as to prevent the boat holding water in the event of rain ; life-lines, if not required, to be properly coiled down in the boat, rudder unshipped, rowlock plates shipped, fenders in, gripes properly passed and secured, and the falls clear for lowering ; the bowmen, after assisting in those things, if at sea, will see a boat-rope passed forward ready for lowering.

Q. What is a steadying line, and its use ?

A. Slings are hooked to the bottom of a boat, steadying lines are secured to the boat's gunwale, from a hook in the upper part of the slings, so as to prevent a boat capsizing when a strain is brought on the tackles ; boat's tackles should always be fitted with a thimble (instead of a hook) to take the hook in the slings; hooks in boat-tackles are very dangerous when a ship is rolling much, as if not rounded up out of the way smartly they may catch some part of the boat, or even hook a man out of the boat, and cause some serious accident.

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