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The Men on Deck Master, Mates and Crew. Their Duties and Responsibilities

The Men on Deck
Master, Mates and Crew. Their Duties and Responsibilities
Title: The Men on Deck Master, Mates and Crew. Their Duties and Responsibilities
Release Date: 2018-08-31
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber's Note.

Apparent typographical errors have been corrected. The use of hyphenshas been rationalised. Sub-paragraphs and lists have been indented. Aline in blackletter font in the dedication has been bolded.

An advertisement for another book by the same author has been shiftedto the back of the book.

Chapter XVIII describes the Rules of the Road as they apply to theHigh Seas and to U.S. Inland Waters. In the original work correspondingpassages are set out on opposite pages. In this version the Rulesapplying to the High Seas are followed by those applying to InlandWaters. Inland Waters are defined in Chapter XIX.


Master, Mates and Crew
Their Duties and Responsibilities

The American Merchant Service

Master Mariner (Sail and Steam)
Superintendent, New York State Nautical School,
Commanding Schoolship "Newport"
Author of "Under Sail"


25 Park Place

Copyright, 1918


Captain Reginald Fay


In the days of sail, the duties ofmasters, mates, and crews, were well defined. Sea practice, in thevarious rigs, had become standard with the authority of an ancientcalling.

The art of sailing, and of rigging ships, was a precisematter. Gear remained standard for a century. The mainto'bowline of a Black Ball Liner, tearing to windward ina North Atlantic hummer, was rove and led in much thesame fashion as the main to'bowline of the ships of Nelsonand Van Tromp. And the old time seamen, in their usageand habits, followed the regularity of the ships upon whichthey sailed.

The gradual transition from sail to steam carried withit, for a time, the old system of sailing ship routine. Butto-day the sailing ship sailor is a thing of the past; the worksof steam and steel are upon the waters—we are in the ageof engines and the engineer. Great problems of mechanicalpropulsion, and of construction, are constantly presentingthemselves, and the successors of the ancient mariner, themodern master, mates, and crew; the "deck department,"if you will, of the present day steamer, find themselves afloatwith different gear and under different conditions every timethey change vessels.

No standard form of sea training has yet come to take theplace of the old-time apprentice system of sail, and in additionto ships that are far from standard, we find that many ideasprevail as to the duties and organization of the seamanshipbranch of the modern steamer.

Able as they may be individually, officers of mixed trainingare constantly being thrown together in vessels of themerchant service, while in most cases crews are picked uphaphazard from the beach. It is not to be wondered at thatmany ideas prevail as to the proper way of doing things.Indeed, many otherwise intelligent officers often have a veryhazy notion as to just what they are supposed to do, or toknow.

Seamen are often confused, through lack of knowledge, asto what may be expected of them; one vessel is run one way,and another one may be quite different. In fact the lack ofuniformity at sea breeds uncertainty and makes for disorderin situations where order and discipline are essential.

Among many junior officers in the merchant service a notionprevails that their main object in life is to get along withas little effort as possible while awaiting early promotion andincreased pay—they look forward hopefully to that glad daywhen they will wear the Master's stripes, with all day ashore,while in port, and all night in, while at sea—this book willnot be agreeable reading for them.

In the following pages an attempt is made to point outthe things the various members of the deck department ofan ocean steam vessel may reasonably be expected to know,and the things that they may be required to do. The bookdoes not pretend to tell HOW, but the object is to showWHAT a modern American Seaman ought to know, andto do, and to lay before him the laws by which his calling isregulated.

It is also hoped that the book will help to inform ownersand shore managers of the kind and quality of service thatthey should expect from sea officers and men. It is hopedthat it will also aid in creating a greater respect for the qualityof the men who go down to the sea in steamers; sail hasgone, but a mighty wake of heavy gear and great responsibilityhas come along to take its place.

Great Lakes officers and seamen, who are being called tosalt water during the winter season, as a matter of war emergency,will, it is hoped, find the following pages of use intheir new situations.

In conclusion it may be well to remind the hard-workingmerchantman that while many things are expected of himfortunately he is not required to do them all at once, nordo the United States Local Inspectors examine him upon allof the things mentioned in the pages of this little book.

The American who goes to sea to-day will not contenthimself with minimum requirements. He means to be morethan a ten-per cent seaman. War emergencies have sentmany men out on blue water who formerly would never havereached the deck or bridge. They know their limitations—allwe can do is to point out the way.

The Author will welcome suggestions and criticisms fromofficers and men of the Merchant Marine who happen to readthe pages of this book. Standard practice at sea is desirable,and such practice can best be achieved by some commonground upon which all minds may meet and reasonably agree.

Letters addressed in care of my publishers, D. Van NostrandCompany, 25 Park Place, New York, will be forwardedto me and be appreciated.

F. R.
Schoolship Newport
May 1, 1918.

Table of Contents

I. The Master 1
II. Laws affecting the Duties of the Master 9
III. Entry and Clearance 18
IV. Entry of Merchandise 27
V. Liability of Owners, Masters, and Shippers 53
VI. Miscellaneous Laws 59
VII. The Chief Mate 72
VIII. The Chief Mate (Continued) 92
IX. Rules of the U. S. Supervising Inspectors Relating to Lifesaving 103
X. Passenger Act of 1882 116
XI. The Second Mate 128
XII. The Third Mate 131
XIII. The Junior Officers 133
XIV. Cadets 145
XV. Laws Defining Officers of the Merchant Marine 146
XVI. Examinations for Licenses; Master and Mates 153
XVII. The Watch Officer 167
XVIII. The Rules of the Road—International—Inland 184
XIX. The Limits of U. S. Inland Waters 222
XX. The Quartermasters 229
XXI. The Carpenter 231
XXII. The Boatswain 234
XXIII. Able Seamen 236
XXIV. U. S. Navigation Laws Relating to Merchant Seamen 241
XXV. Discipline at Sea 286
Appendix A. Customs Districts, Ports and Sub-Ports of the United States 305
Appendix B. The Sea Library 319



The Master Mariner who has the vessel in charge iscalled the CAPTAIN, or the MASTER, the latter beinghis official title. It is correct, however, to address the masterof a vessel as CAPTAIN, a courtesy to which the MasterMariner is fully entitled through ancient sea usage.

Among seagoing people, the Master Mariner who is incharge of a vessel is in complete charge at all times; dividedauthority in this matter is intolerable to the minds of menaccustomed to the sea.

The Master is responsible as follows:—

For the safe handling of his vessel in and out of port.

For the safe and expeditious navigation of his vessel fromport to port.

For the good management, and order, of the various departmentsthat constitute the internal economy of his vessel—deck—engine—steward's—etc.

He is responsible for the safety of the lives of passengersand crew.

He is responsible for the safe stowage, carriage, and unladingof the cargo.

{2}The vessel is his direct responsibility. If the Pilot isin charge, this does not relieve the Master of his full responsibility.

The Master is responsible to the owners.

He is also responsible to the insurance underwriters.

He is also responsible to the Government of the UnitedStates, under which he receives his license as a Master Mariner.

The Master Mariner who is well qualified to bear thegreat responsibilities of his station; to have the keeping ofmany lives in his charge; to be the sole judge of what isright and proper in times of emergency; such a man is notmade in a year, nor is he the product of any short-cut systemof training. His sea lore must be learned at sea. His dutyto ship and cargo must be truly come by through close andthorough contact with the great vessels he is called uponto command.

The Master Mariner must be a student of the laws governinghis business upon the sea, and of the laws defining hisduties and responsibilities to ship, passengers, crew, andcargo.

Briefly, he is charged with the following specific dutiesand responsibilities:

1. The safe navigation of his vessel.

2. The general management and care of his vessel.

3. The proper coaling—provisioning—supplying of water—etc.

4. That she be fully found—anchors—cables—warps—hawsers—boats—rafts—life-saving equipment—fire-fighting equipment, as required bylaw—compasses—chronometers—charts—sailing directions—sextants—andstores of all kinds needed to safely navigate her.

5. The proper signing of the ship's articles.

6. The keeping of the Official Log.

{3}7. The carrying of a properly equipped medicine chest.

8. The carrying of a required slop chest, and compliancewith the laws regulating the sale of slops.

9. He is liable for the wrong delivery of specie and cargo,or for loss or damage to the same due to carelessness or mismanagementon the part of the crew.

10. He is responsible for any neglect through which thevalidity of the insurance to ship or cargo is called into question.

11. He must enforce the rule that the vessel is never tobe left without an officer in charge, either at sea or in harbor,day or night.

12. He shall see that a licensed engineer officer is on dutywhen steam is up on a boiler.

13. When maneuvering—in and out of port—or at sea, heshould see that the most qualified engineer officers on boardare in charge of the working of the engines.

14. He must see that no waste or extravagance is practicedwith the ship's stores and provisions.

15. He must see that the lawful scale of provisions is issuedto the crew.

16. He must see that no prohibited cargo or stores comeaboard, and that his hatches are battened down before goingto sea. He is responsible for the correct lading of the vessel.

17. He must enter and clear his vessel at the custom house.He must see that the proper papers are produced. Ship'sregister (with his name entered as master); Manifest;Bills of Health; Passenger and stores list; and any other papersthat may be required.

18. He must be familiar with the laws, rules, and regulationsin force in the various countries and at the variousports he visits.

19. He should find out where to obtain the services of thelocal medical authorities, and the police authorities, when in astrange port.

{4}20. He should study the charter under which he is operating—ifunder charter. Is it a "time charter" or a "trip charter"?He will be largely responsible for the carrying out of his owner'spart of the contract. If abroad he may sign the charter party,as agent of the owner.

21. He is the accredited representative of the owner. Hehas the authority to act contrary to

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