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ship a person found competent may be rated as able seaman after having served on deck twelve months at sea, or on the Great Lakes,” the following regulations are prescribed for determining the knowledge of the duties of seamanship of such persons who make application for examination for a certificate of service as able seaman:
1. Any person who has had twelve months' service on deck at sea or on the Great Lakes on any vessel of 100 tons gross and upward (except those navigating rivers exclusively and the smaller inland lakes, and except fishing or whaling vessels or yachts), including decked fishing vessels, naval vessels, and coast-guard vessels, may make application to any board of local inspectors for a certificate of service as able seaman, and upon proof being made to said board by affidavit as to service, and examination as to physical condition and knowledge of the duties of seamanship, showing the nationality and age of the applicant and the vessel or vessels on which he has had service, the board of local inspectors shall issue to said applicant a certificate of service which shall be retained by him and be accepted as prima facie evidence of his rating as able seaman.
2. No person shall be examined who does not produce satisfactory affidavit or affidavits that he has served at sea or on the Great Lakes as prescribed in paragraph 1.
3. Each applicant shall pass the prescribed physical examination before a medical officer of the Public Health Service before being permitted to take the examination to determine his knowledge of the duties of seamanship.
4. The professional examination to determine the applicant's knowledge of the duties of seamanship shall be oral, and shall be conducted in the form of questions and answers and by practical tests. The applicant shall be examined in each of the prescribed subjects and given a mark in each based on a scale of 100.
5. No person shall be recommended for or shall receive the certificate of service as able seaman who fails to attain a general average of merit of 70 per cent.
6. The professional examination may be conducted by an officer of the United States Navy, the Coast Guard, Lighthouse Service, Coast and Geodetic Survey, Navigation Service, or any other marine officer designated by the Secretary of Commerce. When any such officer conducts the examination the board of local inspectors shall issue to the applicant a certificate of service as able seaman upon receiving notice in writing from such an officer that the applicant has passed the prescribed examination as to the knowledge of the duties of seamanship.
7. The professional examination will be conducted as concisely as possible, with the view of determining the applicant's qualifications, and will embrace the following subjects:
(c) Boxing the compass.—The applicant will be required to box the compass by points or degrees, according to the experience he has had in the use of either method.
(6) Lights and fog signals.-A knowledge will be required of the running and anchor lights for steam and sailing vessels on the sea, inland waters, or Great Lakes, and a like knowledge of fog signals, according to the waters on which the applicant has served.
(c) Signals for starting, stopping, slowing down, and backing the engines of steam vessels. This examination will be restricted to the signals in use on the sea, or Great Lakes, according to the waters on which the applicant has served. In view of the widespread use of engine telegraphs, knowledge of engine bell signals, while deemed advantageous, will not be required if in other respects the candidate qualified.
(d) Passing signals for steam vessels.—To be confined to vessels meeting or passing under ordinary conditions.
(e) Knotting, bending, splicing, and hitching.--The applicant will be required to make a few of the principal knots, bends, splices, and hitches in common use by sailormen.
Ability to pull an oar.-The applicant's knowledge of pulling an oar will be determined by actual trial in a boat.
(8) Clearing away, lowering, and getting away from the ship.-The applicant's ability will be determined by actual trial aboard ship.
(h) Handling boats at sea.—This examination will include questions relative to the proper handling of a boat in running before a heavy sea; in pulling into a sea; the trim of the boat; and steering with an oar, tiller, or yoke.
() Knowledge of nautical terms.-The applicant will be required to definitely locate different parts of a ship, and to give the names of the different masts, sails, rigging davits, etc.
6) Steering.--The applicant will be required to demonstrate his knowledge of handling the wheel of a steamer by obeying orders passed to him as “ wheelman.”
WILLIAM C. REDFIELD,
The able seaman should also know the following:
Use of the life line and breeches buoy—that is what to do on the ship end of the line.
Use of rockets.
An able seaman might know a lot more, but the above coupled with the things mentioned by Mr. Redfield, should turn him out as a competent American sailorman.
The following common sense advice taken from the pages of the Coast Seamen's Journal, on “Teaching Seamanship,' is given it clearly sets forth the things a modern merchant sailorman should know.
Were we asked to prescribe a course of instruction in seamanship for beginners, we should arrange it somewhat as follows:
First-Teach the pupil the names, locations and uses of the different parts of the ship, and of her spars, sails, standing and running riggings; together with the meaning of such terms as port, starboard, lee, weather, astern, ahead, abaft, aloft and alow.
Second—Show him how to box the compass and, if possible, how to steer. Explain to him the meaning of the commands, "Hard up" and “Hard down the helm," and why he must turn the wheel to port when ordered to starboard the helm, and vice versa. Also show him the marks on the hand leadline.
Third-Teach him how to whip a rope; how to make a clinch; how to tie a reef knot; how to make the bends and hitches commonly used on a ship, such as a bowline, clove hitch, sheet bend, anchor bend, rolling hitch, timber hitch, bow line on a bight, cat's paw, blackwall hitch, midshipman's hitch, single carrick bend, sheepshank, etc. Also how to put on a strop and how to shorten a cargo sling.
Fourth-Take up splicing and knotting-eye splice, short splice, long splice, crown and wall knot, lanyard knot and manrope knot. Instruct the learner how to worm, parcel and serve a rope; how to put on a seizing; how to pass the head earing on a sail; how to put on a ratline; how to make plain sennit and paunch mats, and explain their uses.
Fifth-Give the pupils a thorough drilling in the loosing, setting, taking in, reefing and furling of the sails; in bracing the yards; in catting and fishing the anchors; in pulling boats and handling of oars; in sending the lighter spars down on deck and up again, and such other maneuvers as are generally recognized as necessary to the safe navigation of ships. In fact, these drills might, with great benefit to the learners, alternate daily with the instruction in the other details of seamanship.
A willing, healthy young fellow, who has gone through a course of training as outlined above, will, with two or three months of actual seafaring behind him, be well worth his keep and wages as a sailor. The experience he will then be daily gaining will soon fill up the gaps in his nautical education necessarily left by his hurried training ship instruction, till in another year or two he will have developed into a full-fledged able seaman. If he then chooses to take up with “fancy work”—and they usually do—all good and well. But safety first. And safety for a man before the mast lies in knowing how to perform in a ship-shape manner the daily, prosaic, everyday routine duties of an able seaman.
The laws governing the American Seaman, in which are incorporated the laws known as the “Seamen's Act,” follow. They are of interest to every one who is governed by them. Laws are made to provide for the proper regulation of our affairs, and no matter how wordy, the intent is to uphold recognized authority, and be just to all-sea lawyers take notice.
U. S. NAVIGATION LAWS GOVERNING MERCHANT
In the construction of this Title [R. S., 4501–4613), every person having the command of any vessel belonging to any citizen of the United States shall be deemed to be the “ master thereof; and every person (apprentices excepted) who shall be employed or engaged to serve in any capacity on board the same shall be deemed and taken to be a seaman; " and the term “ vessel” shall be understood to comprehend every description of vessel navigating on any sea or channel, lake or river, to which the provisions of this Title may be applicable, and the term owner shall be taken and understood to comprehend all the several persons, if more than one, to whom the vessel shall belong. (R. S., 4612.) Exemption for militia duty.
Pilots, mariners actually employed in the sea service of any citizen or merchant within the United States, and all persons who are exempted by the laws of the respective States or Territories shall be exempted from militia duty, without regard to age. (Jan. 26, 1903; sec. 2.) Form of articles of agreement.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
(Date and place of first signature of agreement, including name of shipping-office.) It is agreed between the master and seamen or mariners of the of which
is at present master, or whoever shall go for master, now bound from the port of to
-, (here the voyage is to be described, and the places named at which the vessel is to touch, or if that cannot be done, the general nature and probable length of the voyage is to be stated.)