Sailing and Fighting Instructions for His Majesty's Fleet.
To be Observed by all
Masters, Pilots, Ketches, Hoys, and Smacks,
In Case of Sailing at any Time, (save only in Time of Fight) you are Night and Day to keep your respective Stations; and if you meet with any less Depth than seven Fathom in the Day-time, you are to fire one Gun, and hawl up your Main-sail; and if you meet with less than seven Fathom in the Night, to fire one Gun, and make false Fires till you are answered from the Admiral with false Fires again.
You are to observe Signals one from another, in your several Stations, and to make the same Signals to the Fleet, if at any Time in Sailing you meet with Shoal Water.
In Sailing (Night and Day) you are to keep your Lead continually going, and be careful of your Tides and Reckonings, that so you may be able to give an Account whereabouts the Fleet is at any Time; but your Care is more particularly and immediately required, in keeping as exact an Account in Time of Fight, as you are able.
In Case His Majesty's Fleet shall engage the Enemy among the Sands, or where they have Reason to apprehend Danger, then such of you as are appointed by the Admiral for that Service, shall lie away a-head of the Fleet, and keep your Lead going; and if you meet with less than seven Fathom Water, you are to lower your Main-top-sail, (if abroad) and to spread your Ensign from your Main-top-mast-head downwards, and to stand from the Danger.
And those of you who are not appointed by the Admiral as aforesaid, are to use your utmost Endeavour to know the Fireships belonging to the Enemies; and accordingly observing their Motion, to do your utmost to cut off their Boats, (if possible) or, of Opportunity serve, to lay them on Board, seize and destroy them; and to this Purpose, you are to keep to Windward of the Squadron in Time of Service: But in Case you cannot prevent the Fire-ships from going on Board the Admiral, or any other, by clapping between them, (which by all possible Means you are to endeavour) then, and in all such Cases and Exigents, you are to shew yourselves Men; and to steer on Board them with your Boats, and with Grap-Nails, or other Means, to clear His Majesty's Ship from them, and to destroy them: Which Service, if honourably performed, shall be rewarded according to its Merit; but if neglected, shall be strictly examined, and severely punished.
Sailing and Fighting Instructions for His Majesty's Fleet, 1775.
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Copyright © 1999 Lars Bruzelius.