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WATCHKEEPING STANDARDS

With our interest in maritime history here at NAUTICAL LOG we sometimes come across interesting items. The Blue Funnel Line of the British Merchant Navy was rightly famous for its high standards. Starting in the Shipbuilders Yard at construction it used the finest materials and equipped its vessels with the latest instruments in all departments. The Company trained its own Midshipmen and all Officers held at least one grade higher than rank of Certificate of Competency until appointed as Master. They were self insured as a Mutual Company from 1870's and never lost a vessel except from enemy action in WW1 and WW2. Blue Funnel Line was the first to utilize detailed passage planning. All the charts were prepared by a section of the operations department and placed aboard the ships. Courses, bearings and distances were in ink and each officer used a different coloured pencil assigned to his rank. Thus when reviewed there was no doubt as to whom had plotted the position. The basics were also not forgotten as this piece of rhyme from one Master illustrates;

"A watchful look-out do not cease
Nor observation ever miss;
Be of compass changes wary;
Running near to danger chary;
On duty personally attend;
And above all on Providence depend."

This is possibly a rhyme to print up and place as a frontispiece in the Passage Plan Book.

Good Watch

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