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BY the traveller seamanship and navigation are too often confounded. Navigation in brief is the conducting of the ship as it were along a certain preconceived path or track of the ocean, from port to port. Seamanship, on the other hand, whether in the old sailing ship or the modern steamship, includes the general care and labour given towards keeping the ship in seaworthy condition and the command and control of the men exercised by the officers in each department, in order to insure, as far as possible, the safe and quick prosecution of the voyage.
The COMMANDER, or Captain, as he is still often called, is the absolute authority, whether civil or naval, on board ship, and may demand the entire compliance of the passengers and crew alike should he require it. He is responsible for the safe and efficient navigation of the ship, as well as for the proper performance of the duties of the officers under him; for the internal discipline down to the humblest member of the forecastle or the stoke-hold, and for the comfort and satisfaction of the passengers as well.
The CHIEF OFFICER is generally charged with the entire responsibility of the care and upkeep of the ship; and though he may sometimes stand watches With the junior officers, it is usually the Second, Third and Fourth officers who, dividing the time amongst them, are the real navigators of the ship, and who keep it on the courses and under the speed set down by the captain, who, however, usually confers with the officer then on duty.
Whether at sea or in port, one of the officers must always be on duty in charge of the ship, his proper station being, in the former case, the upper bridge. The officer on duty is strictly forbidden, by an obvious necessity, to enter into conversation, but should give his whole and undivided attention to his Work, If in the execution of his duties he should have arty reason to anticipate the arising of any immediate risk or danger to the ship from the course upon which she is being steered, he is required to take action at once upon his own initiative and to send word of the Whole circumstances at once to the captain. Every such officer on duty is further forbidden to go below until his watch is ended, and indeed even then, unless he is relieved by the officer whose watch next succeeds his own.
It should be added here that passengers are never allowed on the bridge, or in the wheel or chart-house.
With regard to the SURGEON, the rule in the case of most companies is that they do not forbid their surgeons to accept any honoraria spontaneously offered them, but at the same time it must not be forgotten that they are not entitled to any sort of fee for their services, Which should be rendered entirely free of charge to all sections of the community alike.
The PURSER may be called the "business manager" of the ship. In conjunction With the Chief Steward, he contracts for the ship's supplies, and supervises the various duties connected with clerical work and accounts.
The CHIEF STEWARD has charge of the details for messing and berthing the passengers and crew, and might be best described as a "Maître d'Hotel," in charge of the corps of bedroom and table stewards, cooks and bakers.
Divine service is held in the saloon on Sunday morning, the Commander (or some clergyman among the passengers of whom he may ask the favour) officiating.
Inspection of all parts of the ship usually takes place daily at 11 a.m., by the Commander, Surgeon, Purser and Chief Steward.
The Captain, Officers and Stewards are alike required to show all possible attention and courtesy to passengers on board and to afford all possible assistance to them when entering or leaving the ship. They are also required to see that the crew interfere as little as possible, when performing their duties, With the passengers' comfort. On the other hand there is to be no familiarity between the passengers and the officers which might be in any way prejudicial to the maintenance of good discipline, this last being a point to which the Captain is especially required to attend. Officers on duty should be courteous enough to give a polite reply to questions which may be addressed to them by passengers, but are strictly forbidden to converse with them.
On the modern ocean liner the traveller feels at once that he is in an admirably appointed and well-disciplined vessel, in which the elements of speedy locomotion, safety and comfort, together with the appliances and attendance of a first-class hotel are combined and placed at his command, at an expense which is small indeed compared with hotel life in most large cities. Freed for the time being from the worry of daily letters and telegrams, he enjoys an ideal existence, if the weather is fine; and if it is not he has under the same roof (as it were) nearly all the social attractions of a large hotel at a tourist resort.
It is generally conceded that sea air, healthful and invigorating as it is, and conducive to appetite, does not tend to encourage mental labour or study, hence the lightest and most whimsical of literature is that best suited to steamer requirements. In the Ship's Library is usually found a good selection of the Works of standard and popular novelists, but as it can hardly be expected that the company would at once put on its shelves the latest sensation of the day, it is as Well to remind the voyager that a fair supply of magazines and a paper-covered novel or two are sure to be found useful.
It has been said by some unappreciative person that only six occupations could be indulged in at sea — eating, drinking, sleeping, flirting, quarrelling and grumbling. To these he might have added smoking — of all seven we get each day, no doubt, quite an abnormal share.
Some energetic persons usually form themselves into an Amusement Committee, to seek out the latent musical or histrionic talents of their fellow-voyagers and turn them to the general amusement and edification. Deck Quoits and Shuffle Board still hold their own in seasonable weather on deck, and the tug-of-war and the egg and spoon race still serve to amuse.
Each day as the hour of noon approaches there reigns a mild excitement, which is caused by speculation as to the length of the ship's "run" during the previous twenty-four hours; the number of miles to be posted on the chart being the raison d'être of the smoking-room "pool."
With the view of increasing the security of the voyage, and of lessening the risks of collision, the steamships of the trans-Atlantic lines follow certain prescribed courses outward and homeward, the more northerly of which is to be followed in summer, and the more southerly in winter, though in neither case do the ships follow in the same "lane" going east or West, but are always on separate tracks, in some places one hundred or more miles apart.
A vigilant and careful Watch is kept by the officers on the bridge at all times of the day and night, and in foggy or thick weather a look-out is also posted in the crow's nest on the foremast. The boats are given constant care and attention, and are at all times ready to be launched at a moment's notice. They are manned by a crew and in charge of an officer according to a list posted in a conspicuous place in the crew's quarters, and the utmost care is taken that each and every member of the crew fully knows his particular station and his duty in case of any emergency, such as fire, collision or running on shore, for all of which there are special "drills" and inspections. The crew is usually mustered on deck, in clean clothes, on Sunday morning, and boat drill often takes place at sea, where it may be watched by the passengers.
A ship "rolls" when the port (left) and starboard (right) sides of it rise and fall alternately: until the addition of the modern "bilge keel" or "rolling chock," steamships were wont to roll more than sailing vessels. "Pitching" is the plunging of ships lengthwise into the sea's trough, and "scending" is a sort of combination of pitching and rolling.
Modern steamers carry little or no sail, their masts and yards, when they have any, being used merely for signalling purposes and for rigging the tackle for handling cargo.
The rudder swings upon the stern-post, and to its head is attached the tiller, which in all large steamers is controlled, with the aid of steam or hydraulic gear, by the wheelman on the bridge forward, under supervision of an officer in charge. In the event of anything happening to the rudder, it is possible to rig up a substitute by towing astern a spar, from each end of which a line is passed to the stern of the ship. When either of these lines are drawn inboard the action is, to a certain extent, analogous to that accomplished by the rudder.
A ship's anchors are of various kinds, and are used to perform various duties. The "stream anchor" is for light and quick work and for any sudden emergency; the "sheet anchor" is a spare anchor; the two "bower" (i.e. "bow") anchors are kept at the bows for ordinary work, and to them are attached the cables (or, more usually, the chains) which are run through the "hawse holes" out of the chain lockers.
At sea the anchors are lashed on deck, at the bows, ready for use the moment they may be required. When wanted they are "unstowed" and at the right moment "let go"; as soon as the requisite amount of cable or chain has been run out, it is "bitted" or made fast, and the ship is allowed to swing with the tide.
When an anchor is " weighed," the cable is first drawn in by means of winch or windlass. When first the anchor breaks away from bottom it is said to be "apeak," when it reaches the surface "a-wash," and when finally brought to its place at the bows, the order is given to seize or "eat and fish" — which means that it is to be lifted inboard and stowed in its usual place.
A vessel is "moored" when it is made fast to buoys or any stationary mooring, or when two anchors are made use of at the same time.
Aids to Memory in Four Verses by the late Mr. Thomas Gray, C.B.
(1.) Two Steam Ships meeting.
When both side-lights you see ahead —
Port your helm and show your RED.
(2.) Two Steam Ships passing.
GREEN to GREEN — or, RED to RED —
Perfect safety — go ahead!
(3.) Two Steam Ships crossing.
Note. — This is the position of greatest danger; there is nothing for it but good look-out, caution and judgment.
If to your starboard RED appear,
It is your duty to keep clear;
To act as judgment says is proper;
To Port — or Starboard — Back — or Stop her!
But when upon your Port is seen
A Steamer's Starboard Light of GREEN,
There's not so much for you to do,
For GREEN to Port keeps clear of you.
(4.) All Ships must keep a good look-out, and Steam Ships must stop and go astern, if necessary.
Both in safety and in doubt
Always keep a good look-out;
In danger, with no room to turn,
Ease her, Stop her, Go astern.
The general rule of the road at sea for steamers is the same as for foot-passengers in towns. Under ordinary circumstances two steamers meeting face to face, or so near as to involve risk, have to "port," that is, to keep to the right and pass one another on the left.
When crossing, the steamer that has another on her own right-hand side has to get out of the way. No collision can happen between two passing ships whilst a Green light is opposed to a Green light or a Red to Red.
A steamer gives way to a sailing ship.
PORT is the left-hand side of a ship looking to the bow, and is denoted at night by a red light.
STARBOARD is the right-hand side, and is denoted after dark by a green light.
Navigation or piloting has always been roughly divided into (1) Common Piloting, which consists in coasting along shore, or within sight of land, and (2) Proper Piloting, which consists in navigating, out of sight of land, by the aid of the celestial bodies.
For the deep sea "navigator" it is always of the first importance that he should know the exact position of his ship on the surface of the globe, as regards latitude and longitude. Latitude is his exact distance north or south of the Equator. Longitude is his exact distance east or west of the meridian of Greenwich. The degrees of latitude, of which there are ninety between the pole and the equator, are measured on the meridians, and are equal to each other. The degrees of longitude, unlike those of latitude, vary according to the latitude in which they are reckoned.