Officers Duty - "Going Around the Decks" Meaning?


A

Aaron_2016

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Does anyone know exactly what 4th officer Boxhall was referring to when he said:

"At 10pm I told Moody to take over the bridge and I reported to the first officer that I was going around the decks, it was a customary thing."

This apparently lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes and then he heard the crows nest bell. Would it normally take that long? He said he was sitting in his cabin drinking tea when he finished that duty. Was he resting his feet after a lengthy walk around the ship?


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Dec 4, 2000
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Aaron--

“Going rounds” for a junior officer like Boxhall was outlined in the IMM/White Star rulebook under “Sea Watches” (opposite Art. 17). “...The Junior Officers, where five or more Officers are borne, will keep watch and watch with the seamen, the Third Officer having charge of the port watch, and the Fourth Officer the starboard watch.... They are also to go the rounds ever hour during watch on deck, reporting having carried this out to the Senior Officer on watch.”

In non-sailor terms, Boxhall was the department manager of the starboard watch. Once an hour he would check on the men under his direct supervision. This would take him “around the ship,” hence the term “rounds.” Depending upon the Captain’s preferences, he may also have checked specific areas as well. It was virtually impossible, however, for Boxhall (or any officer) to have walked the whole ship bow to stern, or deck to deck. The time required would have gotten in the way of his other duties.

We have a hint of the time required to go rounds of the full ship in the IMM/WSL rules governing the Night Watchman. In Rule 17 it says, “...in addition, the Night Watchman is to visit all parts of the vessel after the day’s work is over, as a safeguard against fire. He is also to got the rounds every hour during the night... .”

One of those other duties falling to Boxhall was performing compass checks. Although the Officer of the Watch was responsible for performing these compass tasks, the work would have been done by the junior officers under his direct supervision. Here’s the IMM/WSL rule governing these checks:

“253. Steering And Compasses. – He (Officer of the Watch) must pay particular attention to the steering and the course the ship makes. He must stead the ship on hour course by standard every half-hour, and must compare the compasses every Watch.... He will also ascertain the deviation as often as possible.”

Two officers were necessary. One would be on the standard compass platform, while the other was stationed in the wheelhouse. All comparisons were to the standard compass by which the ship was navigated. The steering compass was simply an aide by which the quartermaster could maintain course. Obviously, both had to remain in synch for the ship to make good the desired course.
So, twice each hour Boxhall would have been on the compass platform and once each hour he would have gone rounds. When he wasn’t doing those tasks, his presence was required on the bridge where he could assist the Officer of the Watch or Captain as required. Boxhall’s duties explain the words you quoted in the post above. "At 10pm I told Moody to take over the bridge,” meaning that Sixth Officer had to be responsible for answering requests from seniors as well as doing his own work overseeing the quartermaster and keeping the scrap log. But, Boxhall could not...repeat COULD NOT...leave his duty station without one more detail, “I reported to the first officer that I was going around the decks, it was a customary thing."

One thing certain, at no time between when he came on deck and assumed the watch would Boxhall have gone off duty to sip tea, or massage sore toes, or court mermaids. The IMM/WSL rules spelled it out:

17. Watches.– “...No Officer, Engineer, or other member of the Crew on watch shall go off duty without being properly relieved.”



– David G. Brown
 
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Rob Lawes

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It's when you read posts like yours David, you really understand how much bovine excrement some of Boxhall's statements throughout the remainder of his days were.

Rob.
 
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I am a great fan of ANTR.
I realize quite a bit of it is fiction.

As far as "Going Around The Decks" is Concerned would the the scenes in ANTR of the activities of Lightolller be a "customary thing " ?
Such as :
He is relieved of the watch. Makes an inspection walk on the boat deck. Checks a lifeboat. Comes across a couple "romancing " in the dark. Crosses one of the passenger areas. The "Hey Lieutenant ! episode. Then retires in his bunk, etc. Appears to be a relatively short period of time.

Would this be typical of "Going Around The Decks"after after having been relieved of a watch ?
 
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Motion pictures! Ain't they wunnerful? Movies exist for the purpose of turning excrement into gold plated s#%t.

By the way, ANTR is a book...and a pretty good one. It came first and is contains more useable detail in any two pages than the whole movie which came later to capitalize on the work by author Walter Lord. The relationship of book-then-movie should not be overlooked. Lord did the legwork, the film industry took the money. Lightoller never went the rounds as depicted. That sequence used the Second Officer as a "plot device" so the studio could stretch out the film by showing scenes of life aboard ship.

According to IMM/WSL rule 118, "Commanders of the passenger steamers are required to make a thorough inspection of the ship accompanied by the Chief Engineer, Purser, Assistant Purser, Surgeon and Chief Steward, at 10-30 a.m. daily, Suyndays excepted... . The Purser, Assistant Purser, Surgeon and Chief Steward will make an evening inspection of the Passenger Department at 9 o'clock ..." It is significant that the Second Officer (Lightoller's rank) is never mentioned, so that officer was not involved in these inspections.

The Chief Officer (Wilde) is mentioned several times. He is to have the ship ready for the daily inspections mentioned in Rule 118. Another of his duties was to personally inspect the (life) boats once each week. This included the davits, tackle, and emergency supplies. As to "going rounds," the Chief Officer's responsibilities were detailed in rule 206.

"206. Evening Inspecton. -- at 8-0 p.m. the Chief Officer or Senior Officer of the Watch when relieved, will make an inspection of the ship, satisfy himself that the Fire Gear is ready for use, Sluice Valves shot. Fire Detectors in order, Emergency Boats clear and ready for lowering, that proper arrangements are made for closing any Side Ports that may be open on the cattle deks when necessary, and will report the same to the Commander as soon as possible afterward."

So, the scene in ANTR (the movie) didn't happen. Jack never had dinner in First Class. And, Rose never walked through a boiler room without soiling her white dress.


-- David G. Brown
 
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May 3, 2005
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Motion pictures! Ain't they wunnerful? Movies exist for the purpose of turning excrement into gold plated s#%t.

By the way, ANTR is a book...and a pretty good one. It came first and is contains more useable detail in any two pages than the whole movie which came later to capitalize on the work by author Walter Lord. The relationship of book-then-movie should not be overlooked. Lord did the legwork, the film industry took the money. Lightoller never went the rounds as depicted. That sequence used the Second Officer as a "plot device" so the studio could stretch out the film by showing scenes of life aboard ship.

According to IMM/WSL rule 118, "Commanders of the passenger steamers are required to make a thorough inspection of the ship accompanied by the Chief Engineer, Purser, Assistant Purser, Surgeon and Chief Steward, at 10-30 a.m. daily, Suyndays excepted... . The Purser, Assistant Purser, Surgeon and Chief Steward will make an evening inspection of the Passenger Department at 9 o'clock ..." It is significant that the Second Officer (Lightoller's rank) is never mentioned, so that officer was not involved in these inspections.

The Chief Officer (Wilde) is mentioned several times. He is to have the ship ready for the daily inspections mentioned in Rule 118. Another of his duties was to personally inspect the (life) boats once each week. This included the davits, tackle, and emergency supplies. As to "going rounds," the Chief Officer's responsibilities were detailed in rule 206.

"206. Evening Inspecton. -- at 8-0 p.m. the Chief Officer or Senior Officer of the Watch when relieved, will make an inspection of the ship, satisfy himself that the Fire Gear is ready for use, Sluice Valves shot. Fire Detectors in order, Emergency Boats clear and ready for lowering, that proper arrangements are made for closing any Side Ports that may be open on the cattle deks when necessary, and will report the same to the Commander as soon as possible afterward."

So, the scene in ANTR (the movie) didn't happen. Jack never had dinner in First Class. And, Rose never walked through a boiler room without soiling her white dress.


-- David G. Brown

As in many other characters in ANTR, Lightoller seems to be a composite of the actions of several other officers. He couldn't have been in all those places at the same time as he is potrayed in ANTR as a sort of a hero.

Just one instance is :
I don't believe an Officer such as Lightoller would go into public passsenger areas and engage in conversations with passengers. This is in reference to the scene where the group portrayed as "Ugly Americans" try to get Lightoller to tell of the expected time when Titanic will land in New York on which they are betting.

Never happened.Movies ? Ah Yes ! Entertaining but not always factual.
They probably took some liberties on the book for the movie, too.
"The Caine Mutiny" (1954) is another example where book and movie are quite different.

So the scene in ANTR did not happen. And in "Titanic (1997)" .:
Mrs.J.J. Brown wasn't called "Molly" back in those days and she didn't just happened to have her son's Tuxedo along with her that just happened to fit Jack exactly for him to wear to dinner. LOL.

I am also in the opinion of the portrayal of Mrs. Brown in ANTR and Titanic (1997).:
And this is just my opinion.
The portrayal by Kathy Bates in Titanic (1997) is much closer to reality than the "hick" portrayed by Tucker McGuire in ANTR.
 
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