Life in a Blue Suit
www.bluesuit.co.nz

|    Home    |

A friend asked me for: Brief Treatise on watches and bells at sea ...

Traditionally, a watch is 4 hours long. In the Navy they are named, in the merchant navy they are referred to by the hours they span.

Bells are rung at the end of each half hour, starting with 1 bell at 30 minutes into the hour, 2 bells an hour into it etc. 8 BELLS marks the end of each watch (and thus the start of another)

In the Navy the watch between 4pm and 8pm (1600 to 2000) is split into two 'dog' watches and whilst the bells follow the above rule, 4 bells is rung at the end of the first dog watch and 8 at the end of the last dog.

Bells are rung in pairs (eg five bells is rung "ding-ding, ding-ding, ding"

By tradition, 16 bells (two groups of 8) are rung at midnight on New Year's Eve. 8 bells for the old year and 8 for the new. They are traditionally rung by the youngest person on board.

See table below:

 

 

NAVY

Middle

Morning

Forenoon

Afternoon

First

Dog

Last

Dog

First

BELLS

 

MERCH

12 to 4

4 to 8

8 to 12

12 to 4

4 to 8

 

8 to 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0030

0430

0830

1230

1630

1830

2030

1

 

 

0100

0500

0900

1300

1700

1900

2100

2

 

 

0130

0530

0930

1330

1730

1930

2130

3

 

 

0200

0600

1000

1400

1800

 

2200

4

 

 

0230

0630

1030

1430

 

 

2230

5

 

 

0300

0700

1100

1500

 

 

2300

6

 

 

0330

0730

1130

1530

 

 

2330

7

 

 

0400

0800

1200

1600

 

2000

2359

8

 

Copyright(c) 2005, Larry Robbins - Reproduction of any part of this site without prior written permission is prohibited
Larry@bluesuit.co.nz