Times In Port for Officers and Crew ?


May 3, 2005
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How much time would ships such as Olympic spend in ports such as New York ?
(If Titanic had reached New York ?)
That is, the time between when they first completed docking until all passengers had been boarded and they set sail for the return voyage ?

Did Officers and Crew have some time off for shopping or sight-seeing while in New York ?
Anything like "Liberty" in the USN ?
Or was it just "business as usual"....watch standing, etc ?
In ANTR, Lightoller mentions he was going to shop for "Some garters with big frilly bows" for his wife while in New York.
Would he have had some time off for this ?......That is , if Titanic had reached New York on time ?

Question for some old sailors. :
In some of those old movie reviews - some of those old movies about sailors in the USN - they mention them being on "Shore Leave". Was this an old term for "Liberty" or what civilians called it for "Liberty."?
I never heard of this when I was in the USN. It was either "Liberty"- off duty until maybe back on board by Midnight or up to 72 hours on a weekend if there was a Holiday on a Monday. "Leave " was anything longer, usually 14 to 30 days, once a year.
 
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Dave Gittins

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Titanic was supposed to arrive in New York at around 9-00am on Wednesday, 17 April and depart at noon on Saturday, 20 April.

That doesn't seem to allow for much time off for anybody, especially the stewards, who had to prepare to receive hundreds of passengers. I don't have the full White Star regulations for Captains.

Maybe the movie makers figured that "Shore Leave" would be understood.
 

Jim Currie

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Before arrival, department heads would compile requirements on docking. These would be passed to the Master who would compile a list which would be wirelessed to the Company Office or in some cases, direct to the Agent.
After Customs, Emigration and Medical clearance, the ship would dock. Longshoremen, Victuallers and other suppliers would be standing by.
Immediately on docking, the hatch covers would come off and the cargo would be discharged. At the same time, the passengers would be cleared for disembarkation and the supplies would be brought on board.
The Deck crew would be put on Day Work except for a night Watch.
Normally in a 3, 4 or 5 mate vessel, the Third Officer would be in charge for the first night and thereafter, rotate with the Second Officer. The First or Chief Officer would be on Day duty.
Sea Watches would be kept up to arrival. Normally, the 3rd officer would knock-off at Noon and get a good 6 hours kip then turn-to again at 6 pm.
The 2nd Officer would work until 6 pm then he as free to go ashore if he wanted to. In Titanic, I suspect that the 2nd and First Officers worked Days in Port and relieved each other to day time shop or whatever. The 4th and 3rd would do the night work. Since Titanic also carried cargo, it is possible that she would be working 24 hours, discharging and loading. We certainly did on that run.

What is absolutely certain is the strange fact that seamen in port can survive on zero sleep if there is any chance of a run ashore.
 
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May 3, 2005
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Before arrival, department heads would compile requirements on docking. These would be passed to the Master who would compile a list which would be wirelessed to the Company Office or in some cases, direct to the Agent.
After Customs, Emigration and Medical clearance, the ship would dock. Longshoremen, Victuallers and other suppliers would be standing by.
Immediately on docking, the hatch covers would come off and the cargo would be discharged. At the same time, the passengers would be cleared for disembarkation and the supplies would be brought on board.
The Deck crew would be put on Day Work except for a night Watch.
Normally in a 3, 4 or 5 mate vessel, the Third Officer would be in charge for the first night and thereafter, rotate with the Second Officer. The First or Chief Officer would be on Day duty.
Sea Watches would be kept up to arrival. Normally, the 3rd officer would knock-off at Noon and get a good 6 hours kip then turn-to again at 6 pm.
The 2nd Officer would work until 6 pm then he as free to go ashore if he wanted to. In Titanic, I suspect that the 2nd and First Officers worked Days in Port and relieved each other to day time shop or whatever. The 4th and 3rd would do the night work. Since Titanic also carried cargo, it is possible that she would be working 24 hours, discharging and loading. We certainly did on that run.

What is absolutely certain is the strange fact that seamen in port can survive on zero sleep if there is any chance of a run ashore.
Looks as if Lightoller worked until 6 PM he wouldn't be able to much shopping unless a store stayed open on late hours. Of course they probably worked out those things amongst themselves so that they could have some time off for doing other things while in port. I know we had some trading for "stand by duty" for someone who wanted to attend to some business "ashore" on his regular duty day.

After reading all this, we sure had it easy when I was in the Navy.
 

Mark Baber

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The times ships would spend in port varied over the years; I've come across examples of White Star ships spending a week or more at New York. I also have numerous examples of crew members playing soccer, cricket or baseball in ports in all parts of the world.
 

Jim Currie

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The times ships would spend in port varied over the years; I've come across examples of White Star ships spending a week or more at New York. I also have numerous examples of crew members playing soccer, cricket or baseball in ports in all parts of the world.
Back in the 50's I was "tramping" in the south Pacific. A week was more than normal. Most ports did not have dock cranes. Ships used their derricks (booms in the US) to and discharge. Some cargoes took a very long time to load and discharge... particularly if they had to be brought in dribs and drabs to the dock side.
 
May 3, 2005
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Back in the 50's I was "tramping" in the south Pacific. A week was more than normal. Most ports did not have dock cranes. Ships used their derricks (booms in the US) to and discharge. Some cargoes took a very long time to load and discharge... particularly if they had to be brought in dribs and drabs to the dock side.
Jim and Mark -
Your reports of your experiences make this website one of the most interesting on the Internet .Many thanks.
Also keep in mind that life on a Seaplane Tender in the United States Navy during Peace Time (Post Korean Conflict -Mid to Late 1950's) must have been vastly different than yours on civilian ships.

Anyway, maybe Lightoller did find a way to have some time to buy those garters ! LOL
 
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May 3, 2005
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Back in the 50's I was "tramping" in the south Pacific. A week was more than normal. Most ports did not have dock cranes. Ships used their derricks (booms in the US) to and discharge. Some cargoes took a very long time to load and discharge... particularly if they had to be brought in dribs and drabs to the dock side.
Jim-
Re: Derricks and booms
Derricks in the US are usually assciated with oil fields.
Not being familiar with either in a nautical sense, I have always heard the term "crane" or "hoist" to be used for both those on docks and those on ships.

One of the features of Seaplane Tenders was a large heavy duty derrick/boom/crane/hoist to lift Seaplanes,,such as the PBM or PBY out from the sea and up to the Seaplane Deck for repair or maintenance.
When not in use, a screen was rigged up, chairs were brought, and movies were shown each evening after dark on the Seaplane Deck.
On one such showing, a rain squall came up during the Typhoon scene in "The Caine Mutiny" which added a bit of reality to the movie. LOL.

I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said :
"England and America are two countries separated by the same language."
 
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Jim Currie

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Jim-
Re: Derricks and booms
Derricks in the US are usually assciated with oil fields.
Not being familiar with either in a nautical sense, I have always heard the term "crane" or "hoist" to be used for both those on docks and those on ships.

One of the features of Seaplane Tenders was a large heavy duty derrick/boom/crane/hoist to lift Seaplanes,,such as the PBM or PBY out from the sea and up to the Seaplane Deck for repair or maintenance.
When not in use, a screen was rigged up, chairs were brought, and movies were shown each evening after dark on the Seaplane Deck.
On one such showing, a rain squall came up during the Typhoon scene in "The Caine Mutiny" which added a bit of reality to the movie. LOL.

I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said :
"England and America are two countries separated by the same language."
Another wee story for you, Robert.

Way back in the good old bad days, we, in British ships, could tell an American ship long before we could see her name of colours. We simply had o look at her derricks (booms).
A US vessel. when at sea, raised and stowed hers vertically against the mast. We lowered ours and stowed them horizontally in crutches.
Movies? Chocolate cake? Ice cream, even? You guys were spoiled out your boxes. Always love to visit our "Yank" cousins when in port.

The only time we ever saw movies (pictures) was after the late 50s when they gave us 16mm projectors (which we had to teach ourselves to use) and the "Mish" ( Mission to Seamen) supplied us with a box of 6 reels which we exchanged in ports which had a "Mish" and these were few and far between.
Believe it or not, I am a Graduate of "The Offshore Drilling School" which back in the 70s, had its headquarters in Dallas and a branch in Aberdeen, Scotland. I was also an Offshore Tow Master in the North Sea so the other kind of Derricks are old friends, so to speak. Still have my Diploma. lol,
 

Doug Criner

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Best when we moored alongside a Canadian destroyer in Halifax - back before they, like the U.S., became dry. As a lowly third-class midshipman, we were (mis)classified as officers, and welcomed at their bar. As I recall, Canadian beer and whiskey shots were 25 cents - except our money was no good. Couldn't wear working clothing.
 

Stephen Carey

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"Shore Leave" is the term for both the British merchant service and the Royal Navy. Jim's experiences are earlier than mine as I went to sea in the late 60s, just as the "halcyon days" were beginning. To me, Wednesday to Saturday in port is more than enough time to get ashore to buy frillies for your wife/girlfriend/mistress, as well as get pissed as a rat in some low-life dockside bar. This would be especially so on a large liner where there were more officers than on cargo ships. Only where there was a work-up down below would we engineers not manage to get ashore, but on well-run ships we could manage to do the work on what was known as "Job and Knock" or "finish the job and then knock-off". On really hard worked ships such as tankers that had a propensity to fall apart, shore leave was something we could only dream about, owing to fast discharges and short turnarounds in port - if you even got into port; as the ships got larger, you would either lighter off or come alongside a sea jetty miles from anywhere.
I remember Jim's derricks well. My company had many cargo ships and were engaged in the "Carriage of loose cargoes in open stows" which pretty much meant that the sacks of whatever, baulks of timber, lengths of steel, cars, crates of whisky, grain etc were all loaded via the ship's derricks, usually using "Union Purchase" driven by the crew. I saw a ship doing this in Davao (Philippines) where I live the other day, and it took me back many years, as it's quite a difficult thing to drive using the winch controllers with Union Purchase.

Time in port in UK in later years was often a bonus as on one ship we discharged half the cargo in 24 hours in Rotterdam (they had a quota, and actually finished in 18 hours "Job and Knock"). We sailed on time to Tilbury in London. Here we spent 3 weeks as the dockers had disputes over disputes over disputes, with the ship lying idle alongside, great for getting families down for an extended stay! Suffice it to say this couldn't last, and UK docks disappeared with the advent of containerisation where the cranes offloaded you without any need for dockers in any great number. Shot themselves in the foot. London Docks are now just about extinct and turned into "features" such as Docklands, with the container trade moved elsewhere - Harwich I think.
 
May 3, 2005
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Couple of "wee stories" for you Jim-

Most USN ships, at least on the larger ones, had something called a "Geedunk Stand" where you could get snacks, such as cheese, crackers, cookies and ice cream, etc. They also had little tins of "potted meat." One of our shipmates was fond of this until he read the ingredients printed on the label.He never ate any after that.

The Mess Deck usually had a pretty good menu with some very good pies and cakes for desserts.
On Sundays, the off duty members of the crew could sleep in as late as they wished. Since breakfast on the Mess Deck was not too busy you could get steak and eggs cooked to your order. I realize this might sound like Science Fiction to some. I never missed a meal while I was in the Navy. We diid have some Battle Drills where sandwiches and orange juice were distributed to men at their battle stations.

There were some who griped and complained about their service in the Navy. There was one elderly member of the crew.I think he had nearly twenty years service but was still just a Seaman (SN, Enlisted Pay Grade E-3).
He once said " Wot's wrong wit dis Navy ? Dey gives ya a rack to sleep in, three squares a day, and dey pays ya fer it, too ! "

In the movie "The Caine Mutiny" (1954) there is a scene in which a "Hopalong Cassidy" movie is being shown.
An irate Captain Queeg (played by Humphrey Bogart) comes in during the movie , stops the showing, and demands to know why he wasn't told the movie was being shown, When told that they thought he wasn't interested, the Captain gets even more irate and says there willl be no more movies for thirty days.
 
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Jim Currie

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Thanks for these Robert. Love these wee stories.

My goodness! You speak of things we lowest Form of Animal Life i.e. Apprentices, Cadets and Midshipmen, could only dream of.

I remember loading Trochas Shells in bags and Copra in bags and being invaded by creepy -crawlies. The Flies loved the milk in tea, we fought hand to hand with the weevils for a Corn Flake and a Copra Bug in your bunk could mean a nasty bight where you needed it least. Having a ball had a completely new meaning.
Every Sunday we had Board of Trade Centipede Chicken. it was called that because everyone got a leg. We also had the luxury of Bread and Butter Pudding but only if there was enough blue moldy bred to make it. In that particular ship, we had two cooks... Bill and Ben. They had been captured by a German surface raider and handed over to the Japs, spending 3 years in a camp. We swore that's where they got their cooking diplomas. Eggs were powdered and always scrambled.
 
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But it wasn't all fun and games in the USN.
One of the things we had to endure in Navy Boot Camp was a week of "Mess Cooking."
We were up before dawn and a few hours before Reveille and worked until nearly just a few hours before night and Taps.
I never could understand why anyone would even want to be a Mess Cook ? ! :-(


One time I was on one of the Key System trains which ran across from Oakland and San Francisco on the Bay Bridge and served passenger service (on Yerba Buena Island) for those at the Treasure Island Naval Station where the Electronics School was located.
There was a man in Navy Uniform on the train with the 3 Gold Stripes of a Seaman in the Mess Steward Rating on his shoulder and the 3 Gold Stripes on his sleeve of at least 12 years service. You must have been very dedicated for that.
 
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May 3, 2005
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Correction to previous post.

After a little additional research , I believe the Gold Seaman Stripes were not for a special rating, but were worn instead of the usual color stripes if a man had 12 years continuous service, all of which had no blemish and Good Conduct Medal for all 12 years. But it would be unusual for someone who had served in the Navy for 12 years with Good Conduct and still be only a Seaman (E-3) which caught my eyes.

White on Navy Blue, Black on Whites - Seamen - SR,SA,SN
Red-Firemen - FR,FA,FN
Green-Aviation Men-AR,AA,AN
Light Blue-Construction Men-("Sea Bees")-CR,CA,CN

I was slightly below the usual in my service. In my four years in the USN , I had advanced from ETSR (Electronic Technician, Seaman Recruit) to ET2 (Second Class Petty Officer) but not quite to ET1 (First Class) as many did. It was a matter of timing. My promotion to ET1 would have been in September, but my enlistment was completed in May.

This is all a bit off-topic and just a bit of trivia if anyone wants to compare the USN to other Navies.
 
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