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Chapter 2

Shipboard Life

The successful operation of a watercraft depends directly on the capabilities and knowledge of each crew member. The commanders and the watercraft operators are responsible for ensuring that the watercraft are operated according to federal, state, and DA regulations. This chapter discusses the requirement for marine certification, customs and courtesies, watch standing procedures, shipboard sanitation and pollution control, and the marine logbook.


  2-1. Qualification for marine personnel incorporates a twofold process of certification and licensing. This twofold process is as follows:
  • Certification. Verifies an individual's knowledge of common marine tasks by MOS and SL.
  • Licensing. Verifies that an individual has the knowledge and ability to perform vessel-specific tasks on a designated vessel. Watercraft operators will operate only those vessels for which they are licensed.
  2-2. This AR prescribes the responsibilities, policies, and procedures for the authorization, assignment, operation, maintenance, sanitation, and safety of Army watercraft. It also defines the procedures for verifying the qualifications of Army marine personnel and for SL and/or vessel type.
  2-3. The MQB is responsible for evaluating and recommending approval of actions on the issuing, denying, suspending, or revoking of an USAML. The MQB also prepares, administers, and grades the appropriate examinations for the required USAML.
  2-4. This form is the method that a soldier's sea service is tracked and reported to the MQO. This document becomes a permanent part of each soldier's sea service record and IAW AR 25-400-2 is maintained by the MQO for up to 40 years.
  2-5. Marine certification is an essential requirement for promotion in the marine field. Advancing from one SL to another requires demonstrated improvement of skills and knowledge. It also requires the recommendation of the commander. The following paragraphs give an overview of deck duties according to SL.
SL 1, USAML Annotated "Seaman (88K10),"Pay Grades E-1 Through E-4.
  2-6. A seaman assigned to harbor craft, landing craft, or amphibians will be required (under supervision) to demonstrate the following general seamanship duties:
  • Perform marlinespike seamanship.
  • Handle mooring lines and hawsers when docking and undocking.
  • Perform deck maintenance by using hand and power tools to prepare metal surfaces for painting; maintaining standing rigging, running rigging, and deck machinery. Also follows preventive maintenance procedures.
  • Stand helm watch, lookout watch, and towing watch.
  • Participate in shipboard emergency drills (such as fire fighting, abandon ship, man overboard, and NBC operations).
  • Perform fire and emergency rescue procedures.
  • Recognize international distress signals.
  • Interpret single-flown international code flags having a special meaning.
  • Communicate with other vessels and shore stations using correct radiotelephone procedures.
  • Serve as a relief operator.
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the Army's environmental ethics.
  • Demonstrate the proper response to a fuel spill.
SL 2, USAML Annotated "Watercraft Operator of Class B and Class C Vessels (88K20)," Pay Grade E-5
  2-7. The coxswain or amphibian operator is responsible for the operation, maintenance, and welfare of his vessel and crew. Small craft are versatile and are assigned to various types of operations. The craft requires constant maintenance and must be available for dispatch on short notice. The coxswain is required to work side-by-side with his seamen and engineers in maintaining his craft and stowing equipment and gear. The coxswain performs the following:
  • Exercises complete charge of his vessel, passengers, and cargo while underway and ensures compliance with safety regulations.
  • Handles his craft skillfully when maneuvering or mooring and exercises good seamanship practices at all times.
  • Knows the principles of advanced piloting and dead reckoning as well as the use of charts, compass, pelorus, and other navigational instruments.
  • Supervises first aid according to the procedures outlined in FM 21-11.
  • Maintains an accurate log and keeps fuel and supplies at authorized maximum levels.
  • Manipulates the helm and engine controls to dock, undock, beach, and retract during LOTS operations.
  • Communicates with other vessels and shore stations using correct radiotelephone procedures.
  • Operates the vessel at all times according to COMDTINST M16672.2C (Navigation Rules, International-Inland).
SL 3, USAML Annotated "Watercraft NCO/Boatswain (88K30)," Pay Grade E-6
  2-8. The watercraft boatswain is the senior NCO of the deck crew. He may operate a large amphibian (LARC-LX) or he may supervise the operation of a large or medium amphibian section or squad. Aboard class A vessels the boatswain will:
  • Check all deck machinery and equipment for operating condition, reporting all discrepancies to the mate.
  • Ensure that the vessel is secured for sea before it leaves its moorings.
  • Supervise the stowage of mooring lines and fenders when leaving port.
  • Prepare the anchor for use when arriving or departing.
  • Responsible to the mate for maintenance of the gear and equipment of the deck department as well as the conduct, discipline, and direct supervision of deck department personnel.
  • Assign, under the supervision of the mate, deck department personnel to watches and details.
  • Perform the first mate's duties on craft not authorized a mate.
SL 4, USAML Annotated "Mate, Class A-1 Freight and Towing Vessels Upon Coastal and Inland Waters; Radar Observer (88K40)," Pay Grade E-7
  2-9. The mate at this SL can function as either a Quartermaster aboard a class A vessel or be assigned as mate aboard an LCU. The mate acts as assistant to the master and assumes the master's responsibilities during his absence. The mate is specifically responsible for the following:
  • Ensuring that all of the master's instructions are obeyed.
  • Supervising the deck department. When in port, the mate will supervise deck maintenance, cargo operations, and general ship's business. At sea, the mate will take charge of the navigation of the ship during his watch, inform the master of any unusual circumstances that may arise, know the ship's position, and ensure that all watch standers are alert and attentive to the details of their duties. Before relieving the watch, the mate will read and initial the remarks in the master's night order log.
  • Keeping up and ordering charts and publications required aboard ship.
  • Assisting the master in the pilothouse in adverse weather, in confined waters, or as required.
  • Notifying the master when any unusual obstructions to navigation are discovered, when the vessel appears to be approaching danger, and when unusual changes in the weather or other unexpected occurrences are observed.
  • Maintaining the prescribed course. When necessary to avoid sudden danger, the mate will take action without awaiting the master's instructions.
  • Being familiar with and complying with federal and local pollution laws.


  2-10. The military has many customs and courtesies in which they follow. Watercraft personnel must also follow certain rules of customs and courtesies required aboard ship.
  2-11. There are certain situations and times that the national ensign (Figure 2-1) is flown. The national ensign will be flown 24 hours a day during war or when sailing in unfriendly waters.

Figure 2-1. National Ensign

Ship Underway
  2-12. When an Army ship is underway, the ensign is flown from sunrise to sunset. When underway, class A ships fly the national ensign from the main mast or the aftermast. On ships fitted with only one mast (such as an LCM-8), the ensign is flown from the outboard halyard on the starboard yardarm.
At Anchor or Moored
  2-13. When the ship is at anchor or tied up to the pier, the ensign is flown from the flagstaff. The ensign will be flown from 0800 until sunset.
  2-14. The custom of flying the national ensign at half-mast is observed as a tribute to the dead. The Army follows the half-mast custom carefully and according to specific regulations. Whenever the ensign is to be flown at half-mast, it is first raised to the closed-up position (the top-most position) on the gaff and then lowered to half-mast position. The ensign is flown half-mast during the following times.
Memorial Day
  2-15. Memorial Day is a time to remember the US men and women who lost their lives serving their country. On this day, the national ensign is flown at half-mast from 0800 to sunset.
President's Death
  2-16. When official word is received of the death of the President of the United States, all US vessels display the ensign at half-mast, starting at 0800 of the following day and for 29 days thereafter. The same ceremony is observed upon the death of an ex-President or President-elect. Upon the death of the Vice President or certain other high government officials, the ensign remains at half-mast for only 14 days.
Death Aboard Vessel
  2-17. If a death occurs aboard an Army vessel, the national ensign is flown half-mast until the remains are transferred from the ship. The ceremonies appropriate at Army installations are conducted upon the death of an officer, warrant officer, or enlisted.
  2-18. The church pennant (Figure 2-2) is unique in that it is the only flag or pennant flown on the same halyard as and above the national ensign. It flies only during divine services onboard Army vessels.

Figure 2-2. Church Pennant

  2-19. The blue, star-studded field in the corner of the US flag is the canton of the national ensign. Since each star represents a state, the canton symbolizes the union of the states of the US. The union jack (Figure 2-3) must be the same size as the canton of the national ensign flown from that particular vessel. The union jack is flown only on those Army ships commanded by commissioned officers or warrant officers. The union jack is flown only when the ship is at anchor or moored to a pier. It is flown from 0800 to sunset from the jack staff at the bow of the vessel. The union jack is raised after the national ensign and lowered before the national ensign at evening colors. When the national ensign is flown half-mast, the union jack is also flown half-mast. The union jack is never dipped as a salute.
  2-20. The TC flag (Figure 2-4) is flown from sunrise until sunset on the forward mast. On vessels not fitted with a forward mast, the TC flag is flown from the outboard halyard on the port yardarm unless it interferes with signal flag communications.

Figure 2-3. Union Jack

Figure 2-4. TC Flag
  2-21. Ships may be either dressed or full dressed during our national holidays or while in a foreign port during that nation's holidays. Dressing a ship, in honor of a person or event, consists of displaying flags and pennants on various halyards and stays. Usually the port or terminal commander specifies whether to dress or full dress the vessels. The latter is usually ordered when ceremonies are held at the port or terminal. In determining whether to dress or full dress vessels while in foreign ports, masters may be governed by the actions of the foreign nationals.
  2-22. Dressing ship is much less elaborate than full dressing. The national ensign is displayed at each masthead when a vessel is dressed. If the masts are all the same height, the ensigns at the mastheads must all be the same size. The largest ensign on board must be hoisted at the flagstaff and a union jack of corresponding size raised on the jack staff. If the occasion is one honoring a foreign nation, that nation's ensign is displayed at the main mast instead of the US ensign. The US ensign must be hoisted on the main mast and other mastheads during all US celebrations.
  2-23. The same procedure with the ensigns is followed when a ship is full dressed. A rainbow of the international code flags is also arranged as follows:
  • From the jack staff to the fore masthead.
  • Between the fore and main mastheads.
  • From the main masthead to the flagstaff.
  If possible, all Army vessels should have their flags on the rainbow dressing lines in the same order. The flag order starts at the foot of the jack staff and extends to the foot of the flagstaff. This sequence should be repeated if one set of flags does not complete the rainbow. A ship is usually left dressed from 0800 to sunset during these celebrations. Dressing ship is never done when underway. If a ship enters port after 0800 or leaves before sunset on a dress occasion, she dresses or full dresses, as the occasion may be, upon anchoring and undresses upon getting underway.
  2-24. Army personnel, whether officer or enlisted, salute the national ensign when boarding a vessel and salute the mate on watch. When leaving the vessel, they give the two salutes in reverse order. The mate on watch returns salutes given him. This courtesy is required only when a vessel flies both the national ensign and union jack.


  2-25. At sea, the day is divided into watches of 4 hours each (0000 to 0400, 0400 to 0800, 0800 to 1200, 1200 to 1600, 1600 to 2000, and 2000 to 2400). The 1600 to 2000 watch is sometimes divided into two watches (1600 to 1800 and 1800 to 2000). These are called "dog watches." Changing the watch at 1800 (dogging the watch) breaks the sequence, divides the evening recreational period, and allows the evening meal to be eaten without furnishing a relief section. Generally a late mess is held for the 0400 to 0800 watch. The watch is referred to according to location or type of duty, such as the gangway watch, towing watch, and bow lookout.
  2-26. The watch list specifies the hours and location for each crewman standing watch. Each crewman must check the watch list daily for the time and location of his duty. The quarters list specifies the compartment and location of each crewman's berth. The watch list and quarters list are posted at any two of the following places aboard ship: crew's quarters, passageways, crew's mess, and wheelhouse.
  2-27. The dictionary describes the word "watch" (in nautical terms) as the periods of time into which the day aboard ship is divided and also during which a part of the crew is assigned to duty. The watches aboard Class A vessels are usually broken up into four-hour tours. The following guidelines describe how the watch routine function.
Relieving the Watch
  2-28. Watches must be relieved 15 minutes before the hour. This allows time for the relief to receive instructions from the man on watch and permits the night relief to accustom his eyes to darkness. The quartermaster of the watch generally assigns watch stations. Once assigned, the relief reports directly to the soldier to be relieved and receives any instructions about the watch (such as targets being tracked and so forth). When he understands the instructions, he first requests permission to relieve the watch from the officer of the deck. Once permission is given, the relief will state loudly, "I relieve you," and then becomes completely responsible for the watch. The relieved watch then reports to the officer of the watch, informing him that he has been relieved. The watch relieving the helmsman follows this same procedure for relieving the off going watch. The helmsman in turn reports to the officer of the watch, informing him that he has been relieved and reporting the course on which the vessel was being steered when he was relieved.
Helm Watch
  2-29. The helmsman may be a seaman or a quartermaster. He is responsible for the safe steering, either by compass or by terrestrial objects, as ordered by the master or watch officer. His tour of duty normally consists of a 2-hour watch at the helm. He must know the degree and full point markings of a compass card and the vessel handling characteristics at various engine speeds.
Lookout Watch
  2-30. A crewman is stationed in the bow or bridge where he acts as a lookout, reporting anything he sees or hears to the bridge. This information includes ships, land, obstructions, lights, buoys, beacons, discolored water, reefs, fog signals, and anything that could pertain to the navigation of the vessel. When reporting, the lookout names the object and gives the direction to the target using the point system (Figure 2-5) for example, "lighthouse two points on the port bow." If the officer of the watch asks for further information on the object sighted, the lookout describes it as briefly and clearly as possible. When port and starboard lookouts are posted, each lookout keeps watch only on his side of the bridge. Each notes the running lights on his side and reports immediately if the lights are dim or go out. In general, the orders given to the lookout are as follows:
  • Remain alert, giving your attention only to your own special duty.
  • Remain at your station until you are relieved.
  • Keep on your feet; do not sit or lounge.
  • Do not talk to others except as required by your duty.
  • Speak loudly and distinctly when making a report.
  • Repeat a report until it is acknowledged by the officer of the deck.
  • When stationed, be sure that you understand your duties.
  • Report everything, even if it was reported on the previous watch.
Towing Watch
  2-31. Aboard a tug, a member of the deck department is detailed to a towing watch. Normally stationed on the after section of the towing vessel, the crew member:
  • Observes how the tow is riding (Figure 2-6) and reports any unusual conditions to the bridge.
  • Checks and makes adjustments as required to the towing engine, towing cable chafing gear, and bridles.
  • Reports equipment failures immediately to the bridge.

Figure 2-5. Point System

Figure 2-6. Tow Riding In/Out of Step

  2-32. Night watches are the most critical periods of responsibility for the lookout. Knowing how to stand night watches is necessary to ensure the safety of the vessel. During a night watch, the officer of the watch frequently enters the chart room or other lighted areas. He depends primarily on the lookout to spot objects.
Eye Reaction at Night
  2-33. Night vision differs from day vision to a much greater extent than is generally realized. Eyes respond slowly in the dark, picking out a moving object more easily than a stationary object. An object can more readily be seen at night by looking a little to the right or left of it rather than at it directly.
Dark Adaptation
  2-34. Developing the ability to see and to recognize distant objects at night is known as "dark adaptation." To compensate for the slower eye reaction at night, the lookout should scan the sky and sea slowly because he may not notice an object until he has looked near it several times. Since an object cannot always be located at night by looking straight at it, the lookout should look above the object. Moving the head from side to side will give an object the appearance of movement, making it easier to locate. To learn to see things at night requires considerable and continual practice.
  2-35. A competent night lookout should do the following:
  • Take advantage of the 10-minute interval before the hour of his watch to adjust his eyes to darkness.
  • Use only a dim red light when a light is necessary.
  • Look out of the corner of the eyes when scanning the horizon.
  • Scan the region under observation slowly and regularly.
  • Wear red dark adaptation goggles that permit vision without disturbing dark adaptation if it is necessary to enter a lighted place.
  • Avoid looking at instrument panels, even if they are illuminated by a red light.
  • Use light binoculars if available.
  • Keep optical equipment clean.
  • Refrain from looking at an object already spotted and reported.
  • Keep in good physical condition. Fatigue, alcohol, and tobacco reduce dark adaptation.
  2-36. A member of the deck crew is detailed as anchor watch and fire watch when the vessel is at anchor or moored. He performs the following:
  • Frequently checks the lead and strain on the anchor cable.
  • Sounds the fog bell when fog closes in and notifies the watch officer of the weather condition.
  • Checks the position of the vessel by taking compass bearings of known objects and checks the drift lead.
  • Notifies the watch officer when there is a change in bearings or a strain on the drift lead (which indicates the vessel may be dragging anchor).
  • Checks for fire and fire hazards; sounds the alarm in case of fire.
  2-37. A member of the deck department is detailed as security or gangway watch in port to assist the watch officer in maintaining the security of the ship. The crew member on watch takes a position near the gangway to prevent unauthorized persons and contraband from coming aboard. He is also responsible for:
  • Tending the mooring lines and gangway during the rise or fall of the tide.
  • Keeping the gangway log, that is, recording the activities of the watch, such as noting persons coming aboard or going ashore, the weather, and other information designated by the officer of the watch.
  • Notifying the watch officer in case of emergency.
  • Maintaining discipline aboard ship and notifying the watch officer of any disorder or unusual circumstances.
  • Inspecting the vessel periodically for evidence of fire hazards.
  2-38. DA regulations require small craft certification of operating personnel for class B vessels. On these vessels, the duties of the watch consist of performing all the duties and responsibilities of a coxswain or seaman while in command or on duty. The watch (not to exceed a 12-hour shift) on a class B vessel lasts for the duration of the task assigned the vessel.
  2-39. Watch duties consist of carrying out all the duties and responsibilities necessary for the safe operation and maintenance of the vessel and its machinery. The general duties assigned are comparable to similar positions on class A or B vessels, although modified to meet the requirements of the assigned mission.
  2-40. The crane master assigns personnel under his command to watches consistent with the requirement for the operation, maintenance, and security of the crane. Detailed watch standing procedures are developed by the crane master into a SOP and posted for the guidance of the crew.
  2-41. When nonpropelled barges, other than cranes, are being used, the tug master or propulsion-unit operator are responsible in ensuring that proper security measures are initiated for all the equipment in his charge. When not engaged in operations, security watches for such equipment are provided from personnel in the nonpropelled floating-equipment pool (barge pool). Crewmen assigned to nonpropelled liquid or dry cargo barges help to maintain this equipment and handle lines when the barge is moved.


  2-42. Deck and engine department logbooks are maintained according to AR 56-9. The logbooks provide a permanent legal record of the operations and conditions of the vessel and the status of its cargo, crew, and/or passengers.
  2-43. All occurrences of importance, interest, or historical value concerning the crew, passengers, operation, and safety of Army watercraft will be recorded daily, by watches, in three types of deck logbooks.
The Deck Department Log (DA Form 4640)
  2-44. This log is required for use on class A and class B vessels.
The Deck and Engine Log (DA Form 5273)
  2-45. This log is required for use on all class B vessels. DA Form 5273 may also be used on the deck or liquid barge, design BG 231B, and the refrigerator barges (BR 7010 and BR 7016).
The Engine Department Log (DA Form 4993)
  2-46. This log is required on class A and class C-1 vessels.
  2-47. Logbooks will be prepared according to instructions in AR 56-9. Logbooks and other pertinent records must be preserved for use in claims against the US for damage caused by an Army watercraft and for affirmative claim by the US for damage to Army property caused by other vessels or floating objects. Requirements for preserving deck and engine logs as well as other records are in AR 27-series regulations.
  2-48. HQDA (DAJAZA) will be notified when a log (or any portion of the log) is to be used in litigation or is to be withheld for any other legal proceedings. When no longer required for the legal proceedings, the log will be returned to the installation having command over the Army watercraft that was involved.
  2-49. Commanders having assigned watercraft will periodically review log requirements to ensure that logs are maintained according to provisions in AR 56-9. Amphibians and watercraft under 30 feet do not require maintenance of logs; provided adequate records are maintained by the unit.
  2-50. The ship's deck log will be presented to the master or coxswain each day. Should any inaccuracies or omissions be noticed, the master or coxswain will have the necessary corrections made. After corrections have been made, they will approve the log by signing the page. After the log has been approved, no change or addition will be made without the by the master's or coxswain's permission or direction. The mate, on whose watch the matter under consideration occurred, must make any change or addition. When the master or coxswain calls attention to an inaccuracy or omission, the mate will not decline to make a change in or an addition to, the log unless he believes the proposed change or addition to be incorrect. He will, if required, explain in writing to the master or coxswain his reason for the change or addition. The master or coxswain may then make any appropriate remarks concerning the inaccuracy or omission, entering them at the bottom of the page of the log over his own signature.
  2-51. When a correction is necessary, a single line will be drawn through the original entry (in red ink) so that the entry remains legible. The correct entry will then be made clearly and legibly. Corrections will be initialed by the person making the original entry and also initialed by the master or coxswain.
  2-52. Entries will also be made of all drills and inspections prescribed in CFR 46, paragraph 97.35-1. These entries will be made or underlined in red ink.
  2-53. For RCs, nondrill dates will be noted in the log, together with the vessel location, and annotated "nonduty days." Logs will be made available to the area maintenance support activity personnel for entries when applicable.
  2-54. Night order books are used aboard class A vessels where sea watches are maintained on a 24-hour basis. Each day the master reviews, updates, and prepares the general standing orders, special orders, and specific instructions for the night watches. Each mate coming on watch must read and sign the night order book.
  2-55. Bell logbooks (Figure 2-7) will be maintained on every vessel except those capable of complete engine control and operation from the pilothouse. The time and all changes in engine speed and/or direction must be recorded. Vessels with pilot-house control are also included when using the bell system.

Figure 2-7. Engineer's Bell Book

  2-56. A logbook will be retained for 5 years as the onboard record of the deck and engine departments. At the end of this period, it will be destroyed according to the AR 25-series of regulations.
  2-57. In addition to required deck and engine logs, class A and class B vessels will maintain a record of ballasting or cleaning of bunker fuel tanks and disposal of oily residues from bunker fuel tanks. Other exceptional discharges of oil will also be recorded. All masters, coxswains, and chief engineers of class A, B, and C-1 vessels and assigned crews will comply with oil pollution regulations cited in this paragraph. Oil record books will also be kept for 5 years.
  2-58. Make changes to individual log sheets by drawing ruled lines in ink and then making appropriate entries on them. Changes are required for floating cranes to show the number and weight of heavy lifts made, as well as any other entries appropriate to the type of service in which employed.
  2-59. The vessel master or coxswain will ensure that the following logs are maintained.
Bridge-to-Bridge (VHF-FM)
  2-60. For vessels equipped with bridge-to-bridge VHF-FM radio/telephone, this record may be kept on the logbook. Each page shall be dated and identified by the vessel name or number. The log of the bridge-to-bridge station (channel 13, 156-650 MHz) shall include, as a minimum, the following entries:
  • All radio/telephone distress and alarm signals, all communications transmitted or intercepted, and any information heard which might be of importance to maritime safety. Text should be as complete as possible, including the time, frequencies used, and position of vessel in distress.
  • The times when watch is begun, interrupted, and ended.
  • A daily entry concerning the operating condition of the radio.
Military Tactical Communications
  2-61. For vessels equipped with military tactical communication capability, records and procedures shall be according to existing Army regulations.
High Frequency and Low Frequency Communications
  2-62. On vessels equipped with HF or LF communication ability, a record of the following shall be kept as a minimum:
  • Name of the operator on watch. The entry "On Watch" is made by the operator going to watch. The entry "Off Watch" is made when an operator is relieved or the station is closed down. The operator's signature must accompany both entries.
  • All calls and replies to calls, the call sign of station called, the time that traffic is handled, and the frequency and mode used. The time that traffic is handled shall be noted as "Time In" to note when a communication begins and "Time Out" to note when a communication is completed. Times shall be suffixed for the applicable time zone.
  • Cases of unlawful interference and failure of equipment.
  • The full text of distress, urgent, and safety messages.
  • Results of tests of autoalarm receivers, including the times that the autoalarm is in operation.
  2-63. Radio logs will be kept by calendar year. They will be kept for a period of 1 year after the last entry. Station logs involving communications, incident to or involved in distress, disaster, or accidents will be kept for a period of 3 years after the last entry is made.


  2-64. Cleanliness and sanitary conditions are essential since personnel aboard ship live and work in restricted quarters. The health of each crew member is the concern of all aboard, as any infection or unhealthy habit can affect the overall health or efficiency of the crew.
  2-65. High sanitary standards must be set to protect the crew from infection and illness. Conditions aboard ship should include:
  • Adequate cleaning and laundry facilities.
  • Adequate locker space for each member of the crew.
  • Clean and orderly quarters.
  • Recreation facilities separate from the crew's sleeping quarters.
  • Adequate ventilation and temperature control in the crew's quarters.
  • Enough storage space for refrigerated foods, dry storage, vegetables, and dairy products.
  • Proper food handling and storage.
  • A daily balanced diet for the crew.
  • Rodent control. Rat guards should be used on the mooring lines and traps (if required) inside the vessel.
  • Insect control. Cleanliness and the use of powders, insecticides, and fumigation.
  • Water purification. Water will be chlorinated if there is any doubt of its purity.
  2-66. This is something that must be done by each crew member. Aboard ship, crew members can do this by:
  • Wearing clean and dry clothing.
  • Bathing at least once a day.
  • Washing their hands after using the toilet facilities.
  • Keeping their fingernails and toenails clean and clipped.
  • Brushing their teeth after each meal or at least once a day.
  • Getting the proper sleep and rest.
  • Doing some type of physical exercise on a daily basis.
  2-67. Using improper or careless procedures when taking potable water (water suitable for drinking) aboard ship can result in contaminated water being introduced into the drinking water system. The following describes the operational procedures that will be followed to provide for the safe and sanitary intake of water aboard ship.
Potable Water Hoses/Risers
  2-68. Hoses will be labeled "POTABLE WATER ONLY" at 10-foot intervals and used only for that purpose. Potable water risers will be labeled "POTABLE WATER" and color- coded light blue. Also ensure the following:
  • The end couplings of the hoses will be color-coded light blue.
  • When not in use, potable water hoses will be rolled, coupled, or otherwise protected from contamination and stored.
  • Hoses will be stored in a vermin-proof, closed locker specifically designated for potable water hose storage. Preferably, the locker will be located off the weather decks, installed 18 inches above the deck and labeled "POTABLE WATER HOSE."
  • All risers will be equipped with screw caps and keeper chains.
Making the Ship-to Shore Potable Water Hose Connection
  2-69. The following procedure will be used when making ship-to-shore potable water connections.
  • Before making the potable water connection, disinfect the potable water risers on the vessel and the shore facility. Do this by preparing a chlorine solution and immersing or swabbing the risers with the solution.
  • To disinfect the insides of the hoses, fill them with a chlorine solution and allow to stand for 2 minutes. To do this, elevate both ends of the hose, pour required amount of chlorine agent into one end, and fill remainder of hose with water.
  • Open the valve on the shore supply and flush for 15 to 30 seconds to remove any debris which may be present in the piping.
  • Connect the potable water hose to the shore facility riser. After disinfection of the vessel riser, the ship connection can be made and transfer of water initiated.
  If during the transfer or connection procedures the hose is contaminated by hanging into or dropping into the harbor water, pumping operations will be stopped and the hoses disinfected.
NOTICE: All water supplied by public or private systems outside the US should be considered of doubtful quality. If doubt exists as to the quality of the water, medical authorities ashore should be requested to evaluate the source and provide recommendations to the vessel commander.


  2-70. The US government has passed many laws to protect our country's natural resources starting with the River and Harbor Act of 1899 (which is still in use today) to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1970 and later amendments. These federal laws are concerned with the dumping of sewage and garbage and oil pollution of our navigable waters.
  2-71. New Army vessels and older vessels going into the shipyard for overhaul and rehabilitation are now fitted with a filtering system and holding tanks. There will be no more overboard discharge of vessel-generated waste (sewage, laundry drains, galley waste, slop oil, and so on).
Vessels at Sea
  2-72. When sailing in any waters, Army vessels will not discharge vessel-generated waste, throw garbage overboard, or create oil pollution.
Vessels in Port
  2-73. When in port, Army vessels will discharge their holding tanks, slop oil, and sludge either into fixed shore disposal facilities or make arrangements with the shore authorities to bring alongside tank trucks or barges fitted for this task. Some ports have a disposal system where oil can be returned for reprocessing while others may provide only storage barrels. Make use of whatever is provided.
  2-74. Any substance that will create a visible sheen on the surface of the water or create an emulsion on or below the surface will constitute as an oil spill. This may consist of only one cup of oil or oil product. Vessel personnel will not dump the following over the side:
  • Soapy water.
  • Galley water.
  • Garbage.
  • Paint, thinner, kerosene, or other oil-base products.
  • Sanitary waste.
  2-75. Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 154, 155, and 156, were written by the US Coast Guard based on the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Their purpose is to prevent, as much as possible, any accidental oil spills.
  2-76. Part 156 of the regulation concerns the actual oil transfer operations. The regulation states: "No person may transfer oil to or from a vessel unless--
  • The vessel's moorings are strong enough to hold in all expected weather conditions.
  • Hoses or arms are long enough to allow the vessel to move at its mooring without strain on the hose or arm.
  • Hoses are supported, so that couplings have no strain on them.
  • All parts of the transfer system are lined up before beginning the transfer.
  • All parts are blanked or shut off.
  • The transfer system is connected to a fixed piping system on the receiving end.
  • Overboard discharge or sea suction valves connected to the transfer system are sealed shut during oil transfer.
  • Transfer hoses are in good shape--no cuts, slashes, or soft spots.
  • Flange couplings are properly bolted.
  • Discharge containment equipment (such as drip pans) are in place.
  • Scuppers and drains are plugged.
  • Communications are available between the vessel and facility.
  • An emergency shutdown system is available.
  • Enough people to do the job are on duty.
  • The person in charge on the vessel is able to speak to the person in charge at the facility (translators must be available if there is a language difference).
  • The person in charge on the vessel and the person in charge at the facility holds a meeting (to discuss the transfer operation) before starting the transfer.
  • Both persons in charge agree to begin the transfer before it is started.
  • Both persons in charge are present during the transfer.
  • Required lighting is available at night.
  2-77. Part 156 also describes what is meant by proper connections in oil transfer systems. The regulation states that the materials, in joints, must make a tight seal. If a coupling is a standard ANSI coupling, at least four bolts (one in every other hole) must be used. If it is not a standard ANSI coupling, a bolt must be used in each hole. Bolts must be of the same size in each coupling and be evenly tightened. Bolts must not be strained or deteriorated. Unless authorized by the Coast Guard, no quick-connect coupling may be used.
  2-78. US Code, 40 CFR, 110.10 Notification, states that when an oil spill occurs, the person in charge of the vessel, an onshore facility, or an offshore facility must immediately notify the appropriate federal agency. The maximum fine for failing to report an oil spill is 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. When in a military port area, notify the harbor master immediately. The harbor master's office will in turn notify the US Coast Guard National Response Center. If finding an oil spill in an area outside of military control (within CONUS), notify the National Response Center on their TOLL FREE number 1-800-424-8802. Provide them with the following information:
  • Identify yourself.
  • Give the area of pollution.
  • If possible, state how much and what type of pollution is involved.
  Small oil spills, especially those with heavy oils, tend to be cumulative. This means that every time oil is spilled, it tends to join with oil already in the water and increases the problem.
  2-79. When oil is accidentally discharged into water, there are two things that should be done after reporting the discharge. The oil should be contained or fenced in to prevent the slick from spreading. Containment is usually more desirable in the case of heavy oil spills. Because of possible dangers of fire from light oils, such as gasoline and kerosene, it is sometimes better not to contain these spills. The proper people who will consider all the problems involved must make the decision. As much oil as possible, must be removed from the water.
  2-80. Since oil floats on water, much of it can be contained up to a point. However, weather conditions, tides, and currents can make it more difficult to contain the oil on the surface and can cause the oil and water to mix or emulsify. This also makes it harder to clean up.
  2-81. The most common type of containment device is a boom. Booms are basically floating fences used to surround a patch of spilled oil. There are many types of booms, made of many different materials like wood, cork, or plastic. The simplest boom is a chain of logs or lumber. Some booms have skirts that hang down in the water and some are blown up with air like long balloons. Some are towed out to the area of the spill and others are permanently mounted in areas where oil is transferred. Oil can also be contained with a special system that allows a stream of air bubbles to escape from submerged permanent piping.
  2-82. Removal of oil from water is done by different methods. Special suction equipment can be used to suck up the oil like a big vacuum cleaner. Skimmers (small boats that skim across the surface of the water to pick up the top layer of oil and water) are used in some places. Dockside or barge-mounted skimmers are also used to skim the surface oil.


  2-83. A report of the accident must be made immediately on DA Form 285 whenever an accident occurs during the loading or unloading of a vessel that results in bodily injury or damage to a vessel, cargo, or Army property. This is required whether the loading or unloading was being performed by DA personnel (military or civilian) or by contract stevedores. The report is prepared according to AR 27-20 and AR 385-40 and submitted according to AR 385-40. The military or civilian supervisor directly in charge of the work completes the report and forwards it to the commander of the installation or to someone designated by the commander to receive such reports. A copy of all written reports, DA Form 285, and any other information concerning an accident is forwarded to the Marine Safety Office, Fort Eustis, VA.
  2-84. Whenever a vessel or any other floating equipment damages waterfront property owned or controlled by the Army, the property accountable officer of the pier, wharf, or other waterfront facility reports the damage on DA Form 285.
  2-85. Any damage to a vessel or its cargo, any injury to personnel, or any damage to other vessels or property may be reportable. Whether it is reportable or not depends on the amount of the damage or injury. A collision estimated at $50.00 worth of damage might be worthy of a written report in one command, while in another command that collision estimate would require a log entry only. Your command should specify its limit concerning reportable accidents.
  2-86. When the situation is under control and facts have been gathered, an initial report must be made and sent out. The following information should be included on the initial report if circumstances permit:
  • Name and official number of the vessel involved.
  • Nature of the accident (what, where, when, and how).
  • Present location of the vessel.
  • Names and addresses of persons injured (if available).
  • Extent of damage to the vessel and its cargo.
  • Name, official number, and ownership of any other vessels involved (if available).
  • Salvage services being given or received. If an Army vessel is being salvaged, a statement is required as to whether or not the salvage is being performed under contract.
  • A statement of whether or not the Army vessel is able to proceed and, if not, the length of delay expected.
  • A statement of whether or not the damage can be repaired at sea, in the port, or waterway in which the vessel is located and how long before repairs will be completed.
  This format is arbitrary and can be altered as desired by the local commander.
From Whom
  2-87. The initial report should come from the vessel master or his next in command in the event of the master's injury or death. In the case of an unmanned vessel, the report will be made by the commander with custody of the vessel or having knowledge of the event.
To Whom
  2-88. When the accident occurs at or near the home port, the report must be made to the port commander or his representative designated to receive such information. If the accident occurs away from the home port, the report is made according to the instructions of the home port commander and of the installation and command under whose immediate control the vessel is operating. If there are no such instructions, the report will be made to the commander or Army port having operational control of the vessel, who will in turn relay the message to the vessel's home port.
  2-89. The report should be made as quickly as possible using the fastest means available. Radio, telephone, cable, Telex, and telegraph are just a few of the ways it can be sent.
  2-90. When an Army vessel is involved in an accident, a written report is due from the vessel master within 30 days following the accident. There is no DA printed form for the report, but what must be included is found in AR 385-40. Locally reproduced forms are available in some units.
  2-91. An original and seven copies of the report must be made. If the accident occurs in or near the home port, the original and six copies must be sent to the vessel's home port commander or the person he designates for that purpose. If it occurs while the vessel is under the operational control of another command, it is sent to that command. If the vessel is operating overseas and a US Army port or installation is not available, the report should be sent to the nearest diplomatic or consular office with a request that all copies be forwarded to the commander of the vessel's home port.
  2-92. A written accident report is not necessary under the following conditions:
  • As a result of enemy or combat action while in a convoy under naval escort or during combat or landing operations. However, unescorted vessels do require reports even though the accident was the result of a combat action.
  • As a result of damage while beaching during training exercises or normal ship-to-shore operations where damage can be expected because of the peculiarities of the operation. However, this is true only if there was damage to US government property, if there was no death or serious bodily injuries to personnel, and if first notice shows that the damage was not due to negligence or incompetence.
  2-93. Immediate responsibility for investigating an accident belongs to the commander of the port or other installation in whose jurisdiction or vicinity the accident occurred or to the commander of the first Army port of arrival of the vessel or its survivors. The investigating officer investigates the accident whenever any of the following circumstances exist:
  • Government property has been lost, damaged, or destroyed that exceeds in the amount of $500; or circumstances indicate the existence of a claim in favor of the government.
  • Property other than that owned by the government has been lost, damaged, or destroyed.
  • The accident involved bodily injury causing disability for more than 3 days or death.
  • Salvage service of a substantial nature has been given to an Army vessel or by the Army to any vessel.
  • A claim has been made under the Army Maritime Claims Settlement Act, notice of intention to make such a claim has been given, or a claim under the Act is indicated.
  • An investigation is in the interest of the government.
  2-94. All logbooks onboard an Army vessel, when a serious accident occurs, are to be carefully preserved aboard the vessel until the investigating officer gives instructions for their disposition. The master in charge at the time of the accident and his successors are required to preserve the logbooks. If it is necessary to retire a logbook before disposal instructions are received from the investigating officer, the master informs the person responsible for receiving the logbook of its status. This person then requests instructions from the investigating officer and retains the logbook until disposal instructions are received.
  2-95. If it appears that breakdown or failure of machinery or equipment contributed to a serious accident involving an Army vessel, the malfunctioning and broken parts must be carefully marked for identification. The parts must be preserved aboard the vessel until the accident investigating officer gives instructions for their disposition.
  2-96. The unit commander or the civilian supervisor must preserve all malfunctioning and broken parts if a breakdown or failure of machinery or equipment used in cargo handling appears to have caused or contributed to a serious accident in loading or discharging a vessel. He holds these parts until he receives disposal instructions from the investigating officer. If the physical evidence is private property or the property of another government agency, the commander or supervisor must ask the owner to give him the property or to preserve it for him.
  2-97. When a civilian employee of the government or a government contractor is injured, all of that person's current records (such as time sheets, time slips, and work sheets) will be held, pending instructions from the investigating officer.
  2-98. The commander of each overseas command, terminal, or other installation under whose immediate control an Army vessel operates should designate by written order, a commissioned officer, a warrant officer, or a qualified civilian as the investigating officer of the command. The person appointed must be an officer or warrant officer of the Judge Advocate General's Corps or a civilian experienced in conducting investigations, trained in maritime law, and familiar with vessel-operating standards and practices.
  2-99. When such personnel are unavailable within the command, an officer, warrant officer, or civilian experienced in the marine field may be appointed to carry out the duties of investigating officer until a qualified person can be obtained. A civilian or warrant officer may not serve as an investigating officer or board member when the pertinent law or regulation requires that the investigating officer or board member be a commissioned officer.
  2-100. The investigating officer investigates any accident involving damage to property, loss or destruction of property, or bodily injury or death. The officer's investigation covers all phases of the accident and its future bearing on the interests of the service, including the following:
  • Possible claims against the government or in its favor.
  • The line-of-duty status of military personnel.
  • Survey matters.
  • The necessity for special reports of fires, explosions, storms, and other serious occurrences.
  • The question of whether the circumstances call for disciplinary action under Article 139 of the UCMJ.
  2-101. The investigating officer, when planning his investigation, reviews the purpose of the investigation and the use to be made of his report. He makes sure that his investigation covers all pertinent aspects of the accident and that its scope is according to the nature and extent of the accident. The following guidelines should assist an officer in determining the scope of an investigation.
  • When the accident involves government personnel or property only, the possibility of a claim may generally be disregarded.
  • When government property is damaged by a General Agency Agreement vessel, a privately-operated Navy tanker, or any other government vessel covered by protection and indemnity liabilities insurance. The investigation should be extensive enough to develop a claim against the operator.
  • Whenever government property is destroyed or damaged through the willful misconduct or gross negligence of government personnel, sufficient information should be developed to determine whether claims action should be taken against those personnel.
  2-102. In investigating the accident and preparing a report, the investigating officer takes as many of the actions listed below that are pertinent and appropriate under the circumstances.
  • Issues instructions on preserving evidence. That is, he determines whether broken parts of equipment or machinery that may have caused the accident or contributed to it are to be retained or disposed. If they are to be retained, he arranges for storage and safekeeping of all logbooks, records, time sheets, and so forth, necessary or desirable to have preserved for claims or litigation. He makes a note of this action in his report and keeps an additional record in the office of the staff judge advocate.
  • Arranges a prompt survey of any damage sustained and of machinery parts, and so forth, that may have caused the accident or contributed to it by breakdown or failure to operate properly. When competent government personnel are not available to make the survey, commercial marine surveyors may be employed.
  • Secures a signed statement, preferably sworn, from each person with knowledge of pertinent facts and circumstances. Getting such statements promptly is of the utmost importance in obtaining the accurate, uncolored evidence necessary for proper action on any claim. Statements of witnesses whose testimony is merely cumulative and not likely to be adverse to the interest of the government are not required.
  • Prepares a list, giving names and addresses of all witnesses. The list is to be included in the report of accident and the report of claims officer.
  • Reviews the report of accident. Considers all the information and evidence obtained from any previous inquiry or investigation of any aspect of the accident.
  • Coordinates with any other DOD agency involved in the accident. Obtains copies of surveys and reports which that agency makes and avoids any unnecessary duplicate investigation.
  • Conducts (fairly and impartially) any further investigation required to develop pertinent facts and information.
  • Makes every effort to clear up disputed matters and to determine the facts of all pertinent issues.
  • Prepares his report on DA Form 1208.


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