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Boatswain Pipe

Boatswain Pipe

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Published by: fwspark3868 on Nov 12, 2010
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The U. S. Navy Boatswain’s Pipe
The boatswain’s pipe (originally termed a
)dates back to the days of sail. It had definitepractical uses in those days, many of whichhave now ceased to exist. Men high on the royaland top gallant yards could hear the pipe underweather conditions that would cause the humanvoice to be inaudible or unintelligible.Although the days of sail are gone, theboatswain’s pipe is still very much a part of theNavy. Since the pipe or call is a devicedistinctive to the sea and particularly to theBoatswain’s Mate rating, all the Boatswain’sMates should take special pride in knowing howto use it correctly and effectively. The use of thecall implies the right to pass and to issue orders,and thus it continues a symbol of authority.In learning to use the boatswain’s pipe, youshould have the benefit of instruction by anexperienced BM. The following paragraphscontain specific information on the use of thepipe, but you will be able to understand andfollow the information more quickly with the helpof an instructor.
One of your first military duties as a BM will beBMOW, but before you can carry them outproperly, you must know the various calls on theboatswain’s pipe and the standard Navyphraseology.
Figure 1-1 shows the boatswain’s pipe and thename of its parts. Whether you use a Navy-issueor a commercial pipe, the first thing you have todo is tune it. Pipes are stamped out whenmanufactured; therefore, both the hole and thepee are often misshapen. Most pipes are tooopen at the pee and have to be flattened andsoldered at the sides of the pee to fill the spacebetween the pee and the bowl; otherwise, ahissing sound of escaping air will interfere withthe clearness of the call.Some pipes are improved by filing the windedge, which is the edge of the bowl farthest fromthe pee. The hole should be filed down until theblast of air from the pee is split exactly by thesharp edge of the bowl. A test of this can bemade by pushing a broom straw through thereed. The edge of the hole should split thestraw. At times it is necessary to flatten the partof the reed projecting over the bowl toaccomplish this. Once tuned, the pipe shouldsound when held with its mouth to a gentlebreeze.
Hand Positions
The four correct positions of the hand for usingthe boatswain’s pipe are open, curved, closed,and clinched. They are shown in figure 1-2. Thelung force or blowing pressure varies with eachposition. As a rule the open hand requires theleast pressure for a clear note, and the clinchedposition demands the greatest pressure inmaking the note shrill and clear. Low notes aremade with the open hand position; high notes,with the clinched position.
The various calls are written out somewhat likemusical scores, with the four hand positionsindicated in the four horizontal spaces. Anexplanation of the score follows:1. A straight line indicates a SMOOTH note.2. A dotted line means a RATTLED note.3. A broken line stands for an UNDULATINGnote.4. Full arrowheads along a line indicate FULL-BREATH PULSATION.
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5. Half arrowheads along a line denoteGENTLE-BREATH PULSATION.6. An arrow on the end of a line signifies thatyou END SHARP.7. No arrow on the end of the line means thatyou allow the note to DIE AWAY.Intervals, or rests, are marked with a vertical lineand the number of seconds noted above theline.The number of seconds each pipe should begiven under normal conditions is marked abovethe bar, but circumstances sometimes requirethat a signal be shortened. Smooth notes aremade as an ordinary whistle is blown and areraised or lowered by the lung force exerted.Rattled notes are sounded by ballarding the tipof the tongue against the roof of the mouth,imitating a whistle rattled by a pee.Undulating notes are made by a combination ofthe tongue slowly vibrating while the throatpulsates the lung pressure, causing the sound toundulate smoothly at equal intervals.
Calls are derived from using individual scores orcombinations of scores. To be efficient with thepipe, a person needs to practice the scores,using the hand positions and variouscombinations of scores.
 —Before the days of publicaddress (PA) systems aboard ships, every wordpassed was by word of mouth. The word wasgiven to the Boatswain or BMOW, who sounded“Call mates” to assemble his mates. As theydrew near from different parts of the ship, theyanswered repeatedly with the same call. Afterreceiving the word, they dispersed to pass theword at every hatch.The call is shown in figure 1-3. Start the call in aclinched position and sound as “peep-peep-peep,” short and shrill, with a pause of less than1 second after the first two peeps.
 —This call usually isthe prelude to any word passed aboard ship. Itspurpose is to command the attention of all handsto the announcement about to be made.Commence the call in a closed position andclinch within 1 second. Impulse the shrill callabout three times and end sharp. See figure 1-4.
 —All hands is piped as a generalcall to any event in which all hands are toparticipate (battle stations, for example).Close to the clinched position and impulse softlyabout three times, holding the shrill for 10seconds, ending sharp; again close to theclinched (softly) and hold the second shrill for 10seconds and allow it to fall softly to a finish in 3seconds. This call is seen in figure 1-5.
 —Boat call is piped to call away aboat and also to pipe a division to quarters. Theentire call is lengthened in proportion to theseniority of the boat called. In other words, thecall is longer for the gig than for the motorwhaleboat. After you pipe the call, pass the word“Away the gig (barge). Away!” For other boats,omit the last “Away!” When piping a division toquarters, after the call, pass the word “All the(number) division to quarters!” See figure 1-6.Start the call in the open position, close to theclinched, hold the shrill for 5 seconds; then openand close again to the clinch and hold thesecond shrill for another 5 seconds; then openagain and let the signal end softly, allowingabout 3 seconds for the fall to silence.
Boatswain's Pipe.docPage 2 of 4
 —This call piped twicemeans “Heave around on the capstan or winch.”Piped once, it means Mess Gear. The overallduration is the same for both. (It also is part ofthe pipe for Mess Call.)Call in the curved position and blow very softlywith an undulating sound by pulsating the breathwith the throat, allowing the tongue to undulateslowly. Shift to the clinched position, increasingthe rapidity of the undulations; then allow thesound to fall back to the soft, low tones of thestart. See figure 1-7.
 —This call, as shown in figure 1-8,pipes all sweepers to man their brooms andclean out all butt kits.Commence as in “Heave around” and closesharply to a short shrill. Repeat this three timesand finish with four or five sharp peeps from theclosed position to the clinched in rapidsuccession. Repeat the call from itscommencement; however, instead of finishingwith sharp peeps, make the sound more like animpulsed shrill, as though slurring thepeeps.
 —This call is piped to “Ease away,”“Walk back,” or “Slack away.” A slurred veercalls side boys to ‘“Tend the side”: one veer, twoside boys; two veers, four side boys; threeveers, six side boys; four veers, eight side boys.Call in the curved position and blow to imitatethe sound of a whistle rattled by a pee. Thisrattling sound is produced by ballarding the tip ofthe tongue against the roof of the mouth. Therapidity of the ballarding is in proportion to thepitch of the sound, rising to the maximum in theshrill rattle to clinched. Sometimes this isaccentuated by impulsing with the throat; shortpeeps mean to lower handsomely for a shortdistance. The call is shown in figure 1-9.
 —This call is piped for “Stand by”and “Set taut.”Commence the call with the hand in the curvedposition and instantly change to the clinch,causing a rising peep, and follow it with a slurredpeep—short and ending sharp. This is shown infigure 1-10.
 —Hoist away is piped after “Settaut” to start a power hoist or a “Walk away” withboat falls or tackles.The pipe is the same as “Passing the word”except that the shrill is not impulsed and it issoftened by changing the position from clinchedto curved; also, the lung pressure is lessened soas to finish low and soft instead of sharp. Thelength of this pipe is about 10 seconds for asignal to make a long walk away in hoisting. Seefigure 1-11.
 —Haul is the pipe equivalent of “Ho!heave! ho! heave!” by voice when the gang isheaving together on a line instead of walkingaway with it. The low note means “Get anotherpurchase,” and the high note means “Heave!”For walking back the falls, this pipe is soundedcontinuously during the walk back or thelowering from a belay. The speed of the loweringis in proportion to the undulations of the pipe orthe rapidity of its rising and falling in soundcaused by changing from curved or open
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