Safety on the Ocean - 1889 Article Discusses the Advances Made
REFORM, progression, and common sense are vital characteristics in steamship commanders of the present day, when huge racers are multiplying, and consequently the necessity of being keenly on the alert cannot be too strongly emphasized. There cannot be too many precautions taken by those who hold full sway on the bridge of the ocean greyhounds; too many safeguards cannot be thrown about the lives of those who trust blindly to the skill and efficiency of those in authority.
In this connection, OCEAN notes, with great satisfaction, a reform instituted by the White Star Line, through which the strain upon watch officers is materially lessened, and the burden rendered less irksome. It has been ordered that upon all vessels of the line the officers shall do duty in three watches of two hours' duration each.
The officers of the Teutonic were the first to bring a ship across the Atlantic under the new regulation, and every officer of the ship was emphatic in his endorsement of the plan. " It works like a charm; is a let up on the nervous strain to which we are subjected, and will add both to my tenure of life and comfort," was the verdict of one prominent official.
Under the old system the ship's company was divided into two watches, port and starboard, with the first and third officers at the head of one, and the second and fourth officers representing the other. The captain, of course, having general supervision of the whole.
Some time ago the Cunard Company, impelled through prudential reasons, increased the watch officers on their vessels to six in addition to the captain, and had the hours been curtailed, or in other words, the watches shortened up, the system would have been well nigh perfect.
Source: Source: Ocean: Magazine of Travel, Vol. III, No. 2, September 1889, Page 45