Home' Navy News : March 3rd 2011 Contents Port
The term'port' was mentioned as far back
as 1580. Legend has it that the name is
derived from the ancient practice of plac-
ing the left side of the vessel towards the
shore when going alongside, owing to the
fact that the leeboard side could be easily
unrigged so as to avoid damage to the
rigging, while the starboard side would be
required to safely navigate the vessel.
NAVY NEWS COMMEMORATIVE LIFT-OUT -- March 3, 2011
The sailors and officers who serve in the Royal
Australian Navy are custodians of the traditions that
make the senior Service unique. Many naval customs
can trace their origins back to the days of sail, yet
remain just as important as ever today and are integral
in maintaining Service pride and esprit de corps.
The correct and seamanlike reply
on board a ship upon receipt of an
order. The literal translation is 'at
your service always'. "Aye Aye"is
also the reply in the Royal Navy
from a boat which had an officer
below the rank of CAPT embarked.
This word is derived
from Arabic; it is a
corruption of Amir-
Commander of the Sea.
Traces of the origin of saluting can be seen in the con-
ventional exchange of this courtesy between officers
and sailors today. Saluting with an open hand indicates
friendly intentions and can be traced back to the Stone
Age, when this form of salute indicated to people that
both were unarmed -- the hand being raised to indicate
that it was clear of any object that could be used to
injure the other. The hand carried to the head in salute
has also descended to us from the Middle Ages and
is a further indication of friendship between people.
The present day salute is a symbol of greeting, mutual
respect, trust and confidence, initiated by the junior in
rank, but with no loss of dignity on either side.
Salutes between ships
This is a naval tradition that dates
back to the days of sail. If during an
engagement a sail was lowered by one
vessel to reduce speed, thus allowing her
to be overtaken, it was an indication of
submission to the other ship.
It was common practice for
seamen to wear a gold earring
in the left ear.The piercing of
the ear was said to improve the
health and sight of the wearer.
Beat to Quarters and Ceremonial Sunsets are perhaps the old-
est and most significant of naval ceremonies. Although steeped
in naval history, they now usually conclude days of special
importance. Beat to Quarters stems from the 17th Century when
a drum roll or beating of drums was carried out in warships to
signify a 'Call to Arms', when an enemy ship had been sighted.
Today, ships' companies are called to 'Action Stations' by loud
electronic alarms. Ceremonial Sunset is traditionally maintained
by navies throughout the world to salute the lowering of the
ensign at the close of the day. It was also custom for captains of
men-of-war to prove their gun powder was dry and ready for
the next encounter. They did this by firing an evening gun and
having their marine detachment fire a fusillade of rifles.
This word is derived from
the old Saxon word 'steer-
board', which was a paddle
situated on the right hand
quarter to act as a rudder.
The boatswain's call or whistle was once the only
method other than the human voice of passing orders
to men on board ship. The boatswain was the officer
in charge of rigging, sails and sailing equipment. He
therefore needed to issue orders more frequently than
other officers and this is why the whistle was named
after him. Sailors were trained to respond immediately
to the piping of the call and react without delay. The
boatswain's whistle was particularly useful in storms
where the high-pitched tones could be heard above the
sounds of the howling winds and lashing waves.
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