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What do they do? Boatswain's Mates

June 11 2008 at 2:02 PM

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It takes many specialties to keep a ship in working order. I thought you might like to know who some of these hard working people are and what they do.

Boatswain's Mates train and supervise personnel in all activities relating to marlinspike, deck, and boat seamanship, and oversee the maintenance of the ship's external structure and deck equipment. They act as petty officers in charge of small craft and may perform duties as master-at-arms, serve in or take charge of gun crews, and damage control parties. Originally they were the gang responsible for moving the lifeboats and whaleboats on and off the ship. As ships became larger and more complicated, so did the job of the Boatswain's Mates. On larger ships Boatswain's Mates may specialize in certain jobs. On smaller ships they generally do not have this luxury and must become proficient in many duties.
We have all heard the Boatswains pipe. The historical use of the boatswain's call was as a signaling device on a ship. Because of its high pitch, it could be heard over the activities of the crew and bad weather.

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