Lookouts' job during the day


Hitch

Member
Feb 4, 2004
122
1
183
What did Fleet and Lee do over day? I assume they did end sit 24hours a day in the crow nest. There job probably started at evening/night, right? But what did they do over day?

Thanks in advance.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
104
333
UK
There were two lookouts on watch in the crows nest at all times of the day and night. 6 men were employed as lookouts, each pair working four 2-hour shifts per day. They had no other duties. At the time of the collision, Fleet and Lee were on the 10-12 watch; they had taken over from Symons and Jewell, who had the 8-10 watch, and were due soon to be relieved by Hogg and Evans on the 12-2 watch.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Hitch

Member
Feb 4, 2004
122
1
183
Thank you Bob, for your information. So what did the other men do when they weren't on duty?
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,619
740
563
Easley South Carolina
And I would point out that when they weren't on watch, they were probably turned into their bunks catching up on some sleep. The two on four off rotation wasn't as brutal as some watches were, but it did make it a certainty that you wouldn't catch the six to eight hours uninteruppted sleep we tend to take for granted almost as some sort of birthright.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
104
333
UK
Apart from sleep, there were the traditional seaman's leisure activities of eating, drinking tea, smoking and complaining! Along with conversation and reading, there wasn't much else to do when off-duty.
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,619
740
563
Easley South Carolina
Seamen manage to indulge in the activity of complaining on and off duty. Trust me on this one!
wink.gif
 
May 3, 2005
2,599
284
278
Are lookouts in crow's nest still present on any ships- military or civilian ?
If not, when were they last present ?
 
Last edited:
May 3, 2005
2,599
284
278
First hand experience? ;)
I don't know about merchant marine, but I had a bit of personal fiirst hand experience when I was in the U.S. Navy.
I was the Acting Division Senior Petty Officer during the last months of my enlistment and I heard plenty of complaints - off duty and on duty.
I think a lot of it had something to do with an old navy term called "scuttlebutt."
 
Last edited:
May 3, 2005
2,599
284
278
There were two lookouts on watch in the crows nest at all times of the day and night. 6 men were employed as lookouts, each pair working four 2-hour shifts per day. They had no other duties. At the time of the collision, Fleet and Lee were on the 10-12 watch; they had taken over from Symons and Jewell, who had the 8-10 watch, and were due soon to be relieved by Hogg and Evans on the 12-2 watch.
Thanks, Bob-
I am assumimg - under normal conditions on a normal 24 hour day - that Symons and Jewell would be back on the 2-4 watch and the cycle would repeat ?
Did the lookouts have duties when the ship was in port ?
Was there such a thing as "Liberty" for the Officers and Crew on those ships while in port?
How did they manage their meal times ?

Old Navy Joke-
Captain to the Crew : "There will be no Liberty today ! "
Voice from someone in the Crew : "Give me Liberty or give me Death !"
Captain to the Crew : " Who said that ? ! "
Voice from someone in the Crew : " Patrick Henry ! "
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2000
58,619
740
563
Easley South Carolina
No U.S. Navy vessel has a crows nest...anywhere....unless you're talking about the old sail frigate, USS Constitution. Lookouts, where and when needed can be posted on the fantail, the bridge wings or in the case of a low visibility watch, all the way up forward in the very eyes of the ship.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,193
1,123
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Thanks, Bob-
I am assumimg - under normal conditions on a normal 24 hour day - that Symons and Jewell would be back on the 2-4 watch and the cycle would repeat ?
Did the lookouts have duties when the ship was in port ?
Was there such a thing as "Liberty" for the Officers and Crew on those ships while in port?
How did they manage their meal times ?

Old Navy Joke-
Captain to the Crew : "There will be no Liberty today ! "
Voice from someone in the Crew : "Give me Liberty or give me Death !"
Captain to the Crew : " Who said that ? ! "
Voice from someone in the Crew : " Patrick Henry ! "
Hi, Robert.

In port. most of the crew were on day work. and went ashore in the evening. There was also a night Watch...6pm to 6 am. This was manned by a skeleton crew of ABs. and a gangway Quartermaster. The lookouts were also ABs so I suspect they would take a turn. it depended on whether there was any overnight cargo work being done or there was hold cleaning needing doing, etc.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads