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

Boat Exercise


Never put the helm down suddenly. When about to tack always ease it down ; putting the rudder right across the stern : deadens a boat's way ; about three-quarters down will be found quite sufficient for any purpose.

Never go away in a boat without your shoes, as it will give your ship a slovenly name, as also smoking in a boat, lounging on the gunwale, hailing a ship or boat in passing, or the shore. STRICT SILENCE should always be observed, for the credit of the ship you belong to.

Never leave a boat without leave, and never sit on the gunwale.

If a boat has stern way, put the helm the opposite way you wish her head to go, as it has the opposite effect to what it has in head way.

If sent to another ship on duty in charge of the boat, deliver your message, and return to your boat immediately. If required to remain alongside in a tide way, make fast to the swinging boom, unless ordered to lay off on your oars.

Always clearly understand a message yon are to convey also the answer given, before leaving the respective ships.

If under sail, and meeting another boat on opposite tacks, the boat on the port tack gives way to the boat on the starboard tack ; that is, she passes to leeward of her ; boats going free, or running before the wind, give way to boats on a wind.

If sent to convey stores or luggage keep the weights as much amidships as possible; above all things see the well clear, ready to bale the boat out if required.

Before going alongside of a ship under weigh or hove to, observe if she has head or stern way.

Never overload a boat, more particularly with men or sand ; the former may be attended with loss of life, and it should always be remembered that sand is much lighter when dry than when wet.

A boat fast to the swinging boom, or astern, may be kept clear of the ship by making a wash deck bucket fast overboard to her stern.

If going up a river, where a bridge is too low to admit of your passing under, or any weight that cannot be moved, and it only requires a foot or some inches for the gunwale of the boat to clear, take the plug out, and sink her to the required distance.

If in charge of a boat under sail, get your oars out directly the wind falls light ; nothing denotes laziness so much as to see a boat drifting about under canvas waiting for a breeze.

Always learn your boat's recall, which in well-regulated ships is painted on a board ; also the general recall, secured in a safe place in the boat, sometimes on the back-board.

If ordered to lay a warp out, coil enough of it forward in the boat to take two round turns and two half-hitches the instant your boat gets to the buoy or ship you are going to secure to.

If you are going to lay a warp to windward or against a tide, coil the whole of the warp in the boat, pall to the place you are ordered to, make it fast, and drop down on the ship, paying out as the boat goes; this is called making a guess warp of it, as you have to well judge your distance to your ship, and in many cases, when you have paid the warp out too quickly you are unable to reach the ship, and another boat is obliged to bring a line to your assistance, which denotes a lubberly way of performing the duty intrusted to you.

It should ever be borne, in mind by young and inexperienced seamen, that you cannot carry as much sail on a wind as you can running before it, therefore before rounding to, or hauling on a wind, great caution should be observed, and the sheets and halyards kept well in hand, ready to shorten sail at the shortest notice ; the crew for this purpose ought to be properly stationed.

Great care should be observed in running in a fresh breeze dead before the wind ; if taken by the lee you are nearly certain to capsize the boat if the sheets and halyards are not well in hand. When unable to lay your course by the wind coming on the sheet quarter, haul up a little, lower your sail and shift over, and resume your course.

When in charge of a boat watering with casks, or taking in provisions, always, if possible, stow the midship casks with slings on, ready for hoisting out.

Never take more in a boat than she will carry ; great judgment is required, whether in loading a boat with luggage, provisions, or water, not to risk the safety of the boat or crew.

If watering from the beach, keep the end of the suction hose in a tub, or a piece of rag round the brass strainer on the end of the suction hose, as the least thing drawn in, such as small gravel, will choke the valves and stop the work.

If sent to take another boat in tow, pull well ahead clear of her oars without fouling her, and directly you have the end of her painter inboard and secured, give way ; when well done it causes no delay ; but should you pull alongside of lea, or get athwart-hawse, you considerably delay the work, and in many instances lose more ground than yon can possibly gain for some time again.

In a cutter, or any large boat, if sent to weigh an anchor of any heavy thing over the stern, place the rope over the roller fitted to the taffrail, and ship the awning stanchion over it, which is fitted with two legs, so as to prevent the possibility of its slipping, flying over the quarters, and capsizing the boat ; also take care to keep your crew well forward, to counter balance the weight brought on the stern.

Paddle-box boats are stowed upon the tops of the paddle-boxes, and are most useful in embarking or disembarking troops, baggage, coating, or for provisioning and watering ship.

Q. How are boats built ?

A. All cutters, gigs, and small boats are generally clinker, commonly called clinker-built boats.

Launches, pinnaces, barges, and paddle-box boats, are either carvel or diagonally-built boats.

Q. What is a clinker, or clinker-built boat?

A. Where the lower end of one plank in the side of a boat overlaps the next plank below it.

Q. What is a carvel-built boat ?

A. When the planks lie in a fore and aft direction flush with each other, the edges close together, and caulked to make them water tight.

Q. What is a diagonally-built boat ?

A. A diagonally-built boat resembles a carvel-built boat, only the planks lie obliquely across the boat's timbers, instead of fore and aft.

Q. What wood are boats built of ?

A. In the Navy they are built of elm or mahogany; light gigs are built of fir.

Q. Name the purchases used for hoisting boats in and out?

A. For a launch, a regular purchase is fitted, called the launches purchase, consisting of a runner and tackle at the yard-arms.

Stay-tackles, fitted with a span between the fore and main mast, and the fore and main tackle to the lower pendants or preventers.

Q. How do you secure the lower yards for hoisting a launch in or out?

A. The top burtons are hooked to the lower cap and the lower yard-arms, to assist the lifts, taking care to have an equal strain on each ; luffs are hooked as rolling tackles to the quarter strops on the lower yards, and to strops round the hounds of the lower masthead, to strengthen the yard in the bunt and assist the trusses.

Q. What precaution - would you take before hoisting a launch, or any other heavy boat in ?

A. Pass all the movable gear out of her.

Q. What purchase is used for hoisting a pinnace or barge in ?

A. Yard and stay-tackles.

Q. In hoisting a boat in, in a sea way, when there is a motion, or a ship is rolling, what precaution ought to be taken ?

A. A luff-tackle should be hooked in a fore and aft direction, the fall led in on the forecastle, and steadied well taut, to keep her from serging ; a sufficient number of men should be stationed in the boat, to keep her clear of the ship's side and sheet anchor.

Q. Name the principal parts of a boat?

A. Keel, keelson-board, stem, stem-board, sternpost, and board ; rudder-irons, knees, timbers, thwarts, stern-sheets, head-sheets, gunwale, thole-pins or rowlock-holes.

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