The Sea-Man's Vade Mecum, 1707.

The Boatswain of the Ships Duty.

To receive into his Charge, by Indenture from the Surveyor, all manner of Rigging, Ground Tackle and Stores proper to the Use and Service of the Ship whereof he is Boatswain, and upon receipt thereof, to dispose them either for present Use or Safety against future Service, in the most provident and husbandly manner that may tend to the present Service; and at the end of the Voyage, upon Survey taken, to ballance his Expence with the Surveyor, cancel his Indenture, and deliver all Stores remaining to the Store-Keeper, or else a Note under his Hand to the Store-Keeper, to charge himself therewith, upon Occasion of all succeding Services.

2. He is every Morning to attend the Captain's particular Commands, and twice every Week to clean their Ships Hause, and oftner, if need be; to see the Ship suck'd dry by pumping, to take special care of his Fires and Candles, and other Necessaries useful, yet subject to Casualty; they are to heat no Pitch or Tar on Board, to keep the Ship clean, to see the her Masts, Yards, Docks, and upper Work well Tarred; to search all Leaks, prevent all Arrogancies, &c.

3. The Boatswains, Pursers and Gunners, are, by Agreement among themselves, to take their turns once in three Nights aboard, that so the Trust of the Ship may be better secured; the Purser and Gunner taking care in the Absence of the Boatswain what concerns his Duty, and he to do the same in their Absence.

4. He is to take special care of the safe mooring of his Ship in the Time and Season appointed for Mooring; and whereinsoever he doubts, either the props of his Anchors, the goodness, size, or length of the Cable appointed for Moorings, to acquaint the Captain, or Mr. Attendant therewith.

5. He is, at the return of the Ship from Sea, to present the Surveyor or his Clerk, an Account of all his Expences, vouched under the Captain and Masters Hand; and to that end he is to cut no new Cordage, but with the Masters Approbation, to the end he may the better certifie to what Use it was expended.

[pp 141-142]

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.