Day watch is an essential part of everyday ship life. Whether it be at sea or in port, day watch influences the lives of students and crew. The hours spent doing maintenance on the ship, performing sailing maneuvers, or keeping watch over the ship’s safety is something that all students have done, and it has created many amazing memories of life aboard the Gulden Leeuw.
Day Watch While At Sea
Day watch at sea consists of a mix of sailing maneuvers, general maintenance, and monitoring the ship’s safety. When students are on day watch at sea they have different positions that alternate every day; these positions are watch leader, deck leader, helmsman, lookout, and deck hands.
The watch leader is one student who oversees the watch, filling out the ship’s log book every hour, and monitoring the bridge equipment. The deck leader is the student who oversees what happens on deck. They assign the deck work and monitor its progress and they will lead any sailing maneuvers that happen. The helmsman is the student steering the vessel to its next port. They must always be alert and monitor the sails and heading of the ship so that the ship and crew safely sail towards the next port. Lookouts are one or two students who remain by the bridge and lookout for any ships or obstacles, fishing nets or buoys that are in the ship’s path. They also monitor the wind, waves, and clouds for any weather changes that would affect the vessel. Lastly, deck hands are the students who do the maintenance of the ship and perform sail maneuvers. The jobs of deck hands include painting, rust busting, splicing and whipping lines, furling sails, and many others.
Day watch has been the time for many life-long memories and experiences to occur. It might be climbing aloft to take down the lower topsail and watching a pod of dolphins swim and jump in the wake of the Gulden Leeuw in the Caribbean Sea. Or perhaps radioing one of the largest cruise ships in the world to tell them to make way for our sailing vessel. Our simply painting the ship with friends. These are just some of the amazing memories that students have while on day watch.
The Gulden Leeuw running with Course, Lower Topsail, Upper Topsail, Top Gallant, and Mainsail set.
Day Watch While at Port
In port students still attend day watch however it is formatted differently than at sea. In port, a pair of students attend gangway watch for shifts of two hours. During this time, they oversee the safety of the ship. Students will sometimes strike up conversations with passing pedestrians about Class Afloat and what it is like to live at sea. Students also sometimes perform small maintenance tasks or jobs to assist the maritime crew as they work to prepare the ship for its next voyage.
Written by: Eva Hambly