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The boatswain was a warrant sea officer responsible for the good order of a ship’s rigging, cables, sails, anchors, and boats once it left a royal dockyard.

Boatswains were usually men with an intimate knowledge of the workings of a ship gained by working at sea from early youth. As N.A.M. Rodgers notes, by the eighteenth century boatswains also had to account for stores used to keep the ship in good sailing order to the Navy Board, and needed to have sufficient education to keep accounts and write reports.

The duties of the boatswain and his mates also included summoning the crew to their duties, and ensuring the orderly change of each watch.

Boatswains also played an important role in keep up seamen’s morale on lengthy or dangerous voyages.

Online Sources Published Sources
  • Falconer, William, Online edition of William Falconer's Universal Dictionary of the Marine, or, a Copious Explanation of the Technical Terms and Phrases employed in the Construction, ...of a Ship...derived from the text of the London 1780 edition published by Thomas Cadell, 2004 edn, South Seas, http://southseas.nla.gov.au/refs/falc/contents.html. [ Details ]

Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields. Created: 25 February 2004

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000355

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