Navpers 16118


June 1944


Bureau of Naval Personnel · Training · Standards and Curriculum Division


This volume is under construction and will be completed as soon as time allows. HyperWar



Chapter 1. Introduction  
A. The History and Traditions of the United States Navy 1
B. Customs of the Service 6
C. Rank and Insignia 9
Chapter 2. Naval Organization  
A. Introduction 16
B. Administrative Organization 17
C. Shore Establishments 23
D. The Naval Forces of the United States 26
E. How the Navy Department Functions 28
Chapter 3. Types of Naval Vessels  
A. Introduction 33
B. Battleships and Aircraft Carriers 33
C. Cruisers and Destroyers 35
D. Specialized Combat Vessels 40
E. Auxiliaries and Designating Symbols 46
Chapter 4. Warship Nomenclature  
A. Introduction 49
B. Hull 49
C. Superstructure 56
D. Other Equipment on or Above Decks 60
Chapter 5. Deck Seamanship  
A. Rope 69
B. Marlinspike Seamanship 76
C. Handling of Weights 82
Chapter 6. Deck Seamanship: Continued  
A. Boats 89
B. Ground Tackle 107
Chapter 7. Organization of the Ship  
A. The Chain of Command 120
B. The Heads of Departments 121
C. Divisions 123
D. The Ship's Organization Book 128
Chapter 8. General Drills  
A. Introduction 130
B. Drills 130
C. Preservation of Life in Abandoning Ship 139
Chapter 9. Rules of the Road: Inland Rules  
A. Introduction 143
B. Enacting Clause and preliminary Definitions 143
C. Lights and Shapes 144
D. Sound Signals for Fog 146
E. Steering and Sailing Rules 147
F. Special Rules and Distress Signals 153
Chapter 10. Rules of the Road: International Rules  
A. Introduction 154
B. Enacting Clause and Definitions 154
C. Lights and Shapes 154
D. Sound Signals for Fog 157
E. Steering and Sailing Rules 157
F. Special Rules and Distress Signals 163
G. Tabular Summary of Signals and Lights 163
Chapter 11. Ship Handling  
A. Introduction 185
B. Rudder 185
C. Engines 186
D. Maneuvering With Rudder and Engines 188
E. Other Factors in Ship Handling 190
F. Handling Alongside a Dock 192
G. General Rules in Ship Handling 196
Chapter 12. Ship Handling: Related Subjects  
A. Steering 197
B. Sounding 198
C. Anchoring 200
D. Mooring to a Buoy 201
E. Towing 201
F. Fueling at Sea 204
G. Maneuvering to Avoid Collision 205
H. Stranding 206
Chapter 13. Ship Formations and Maneuvers  
A. Introduction 207
B. Basic Formations and Maneuvers 209
C. Station Keeping 217
D. Close Order Maneuvers 220
E. Special Circumstances 223
Chapter 14. Watch Standing  
A. The Officer of the Deck: General 226
B. The Officer of the Deck Underway 227
C. The Officer of the Deck in Port 237
Chapter 15. The Log  
A. Introduction 245
B. Current Instructions for Keeping the Log 247
C. Typical Log Entries 252
Chapter 16. Weather  
A. Introduction 256
B. Instruments 256
C. Cloud Formations 259
D. Winds 268
E. Storms and Storm Charts 271
Chapter 17. The Lookout  
A. Lookout Duties 281
B. Night Vision 285
Chapter 18. Supplies and Accounts: Ships Without Supply Officers  
A. Introduction 289
B. General Information 289
C. Procurement 290
D. Stores 302
E. Commissary 307
F. Clothing and Small Stores 314
G. Surveys 317
H. Payment of Personnel 320
Chapter 19. Naval Law and Discipline  
A. Introduction 321
B. Captain's Mast 322
C. Deck and Summary Courts-Martial 323
D. General Courts-Martial 328
E. Courts of Inquiry and Investigations 329
F. Discipline Aboard Ship 330
G. Suggestions on Legal Procedure for Newly Commissioned Officers 330
Chapter 20. Communications: Organization  
A. Introduction 333
B. General Organization 333
C. Organization Aboard Ship 334
Chapter 21. Communications: Visual Signaling  
A. Introduction 343
B. Flag-Hoist Signaling 345
C. Simple Tactical Flag Signals 351
D. Special Flags and indicators 353
E. Flashing Light 359
F. Semaphore 362
Chapter 22. Communications: Radio and Written  
A. Radiotelephone 364
B. Radiotelegraph 370
C. Correspondence 378
Chapter 23. Communications: Security  
A. Classification 384
B. Safeguarding Classified Information 386
C. Physical Security 388
D. Transmission Security 392
E. Cryptographic Security 395
F. Preparation of Dispatches 396
G. Processing of Messages 399
Appendix A. Buoyage System of United States Waters 402
Appendix B. Uniform System of Buoys, British Empire 404
Appendix C. Reporting to First Ship or Station 404
Appendix D. Leave and Liberty 406
Appendix E. Wardroom Mess Accounts 407
Appendix F. Pay Grades--Enlisted Men 407
Appendix G. Glossary 411
Appendix H. Index 432


For some time it has been apparent to officers teaching seamanship in the Naval Reserve Midshipmen's Schools that new instructional materials in this subject were needed. Accordingly this manual, SEAMANSHIP, was conceived and prepared with particular attention to the problems met in these schools. No attempt has been made to prepare a definitive text on seamanship. The objective, rather, has been to prepare a manual which would contain the subject matter called for by the standardized seamanship curriculum as now established by the Standards and Curriculum Division, Training, Bureau of Naval Personnel. For this reason certain topics generally included in standard seamanship texts have been omitted and other subjects, such as communications, naval law, and supplies and accounts, have been included.

Illustrations for SEAMANSHIP were produced by the U.S. Naval Training Aids Development Center.

Suggestions for the improvement of SEAMANSHIP are invited.

First printing: June 1944.
Second printing: January 1945.
(With minor changes.)


Compiled and formatted by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation