By Maj. Lindsey M Elder (8th Theater Sustainment Command)February 6, 2018
Soldiers and guests of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command have the opportunity to do something few ever have: board and tour U.S. Army Watercraft. But do you know your bridge from your bow?
Army mariners can sometimes speak their own language. For first timers, or even the seasoned brigade commander who wants to sound smarter the next time Logistic Support Vessels (LSVs) are moving their organization's equipment to P?hakuloa Training Area (PTA), here's a quick cheat sheet of some of the important things to help you talk the talk.
Bridge: The navigational control center of the vessel.
Galley: the vessel's kitchen
Head: A vessel's restroom.
Quarters: A Soldier's room aboard the vessel. On an LSV with a full crew, Soldiers share a room. Warrant Officers have their own room.
Gangway: The ramp or staircase you use to embark or disembark from the vessel.
Prow: The forward-most part of a ship's bow that cuts through the water, above the waterline.
Boatie: The more informal title used by service members for Army mariners.
Battle Stations: It's not always calm seas, all Army mariners and crew members have fighting positions assigned to them if they had to defend the vessel from threats. They are also trained on multiple weapons systems.
Ship locations and directions
Specific words are used to describe locations aboard watercraft.
The stern is at the very back of the ship (aft is the back portion of the entire ship).
The bow is the very front.
Forward is near the front of the ship while midship is--you guessed it--the midpoint of the boat. Portside is the left side of the ship (as you face forward) while the starboard side is on the right.
You don't go "downstairs," you go "below," or "down below."
Should I call him/ her the Skipper or Vessel Master?
The proper title is Vessel Master. Skipper is to Vessel Master as "Top" is to First Sergeant; a more informal acknowledgement of their leadership role on the vessel.
Why are ships/ vessels referred to as she?
The exact origin of the custom varies. The most common rationale is it comes from tradition of boat owners who were historically male, naming their vessels after significant women in their lives. Another is that it is because the figureheads on the prow of ships were often a representation of the female namesake and form. Another explanation was the analogy that ships carry lives like women.
Fact or fiction: The Army has more boats than the Navy?
Fiction. Myth most likely as a play on words. The Army tends to designate it's watercraft as "boats," while the Navy refers to them as ships.
Do's and Don'ts
Do: Render a proper salute when embarking, it is a sign of respect and vessel customs and courtesies.
Do not place your cover (headgear) on any dining tables. On Army vessels it is considered bad form, with the standard punishment being freezing the cover in a pot of water if discovered.
Do not sit in the Vessel Master's chair
Do not whistle on the bridge when underway
Do not call them sailors, the preferred term is Army mariner
At the discretion of the vessel master, Army Watercraft crews acknowledge special maritime traditions when vessels cross certain parts of the world, or milestones of distance.
- Golden Dragon - crossing the International Date Line
- Shellback - crossing the equator
- Order of Magellan -- completing global circumnavigation
If you can remember all that, we think you're ready. Army watercraft provide fully integrated, organic, and enduring waterborne transport capability in direct support of land operations. Giving ground force commander's a vital and enduring link across domains, LSV's provide a ready means to exploit coastlines and waterways as an integral and essential part of the ground campaign. Crewed by 23 enlisted mariners, engineers and eight warrant officers, LSVs are essential to the continued readiness of the Army in the Pacific.