Basic Watchstanding

During a ship’s entire commissioned life, it will always have Sailors on watch. There are probably more than a hundred types of watches, depending on the ship or station. Whatever type of watch, the watch stander must devote full attention to it. The ship’s organization and the watches manned by its personnel keep the ship running smoothly 24 hours a day. Watches vary, of course, depending on both the type of ship and whether the ship is underway or in port.

Even when the ship is moored in port and receiving hotel services (utilities such as steam, water, and electricity) from the pier or another ship, it is necessary to maintain a watch for communications, security, and safety.



  • Each night, from lights out until reveille, each company will have two watch standers per two-hour shift.
  • Watch standers will wake their relief fifteen (15) minutes prior to the start of the next watch. Relief will report no later than five (5) minutes prior to their designated watch to receive special instructions.
  • The uniform, unless otherwise noted, will be the dungaree uniform with boon dockers, canteen, and web belt.
  • The watch bill will be made by the company’s MAA and will be posted.
  • Watch standers will be issued a flashlight for walk-throughs and a whistle in case of emergencies.
  • One sentry will make a walk-through of the company area once every fifteen – twenty minutes and log any activities or lack thereof in the log.
  • Watch log entries will follow the following format:
    • All capital letters are to be used
    • Time is to be written in 24-hour time without a colon (:)
    • Zeros will have a slash from top right to bottom left to differentiate between the letter “O.”
    • Any mistakes will be crossed out with a single line and the person crossing out the error will initial at the end of the line
    • Walk-throughs are to be recorded as “Roving watch reports all clear,” if there is no abnormal activity or will include what activity was observed.
    • Only black pen is to be used in the official log book
  • Watch standers are to challenge all persons attempting to gain entrance to area.
  • A copy of the eleven general orders will be posted with the watch bill at every station. Recruits should study between roving patrols.
  • If there are any questions or situations that arise during your watch, do not hesitate to find the POOW or OOD. If the situation is urgent, locate the closest staff member. DO NOT HESITATE! Safety is # 1.



Attendance at drills is one of the Annual Inspection criteria for each unit so Cadets are required to attend a minimum of 80% of the squadron’s regular drills.
The cadet must call their squad leader, when it is necessary to miss a drill. If you are not able to reach the SL, go up the chain of command to the next person until someone is reached. If a cadet misses too many drills or does not call when he/she is going to be absent, the cadet could be put on probation or expelled from the unit.