where persons have fallen overboard and have been
saved because of the timely action of a good lookout.
Also, as a Signalman, you must be familiar with
the international distress signals (covered in chapter
6). Recognition of ships and aircraft, both U.S. and
foreign, is another important part of your duties
(covered in chapter 13).
You also have to know the different aids to
navigation and their purposes; and naturally, as a
Signalman, you must keep a sharp eye on the ships in
company for signals. It sounds like a tough job, and if
done correctly, it is. But remember, it is a part of your
job, so apply yourself.
If you were to go on night watch directly from a
lighted compartment, you would be almost blind for a
few minutes. As your eyes become accustomed to the
weak light, your vision gradually improves. After 10
minutes you can see fairly well. After 30 minutes you
reach your best night vision. This improvement of
vision in dim light is called dark adaptation.
Effective dark adaptation must be planned well in
advance. Exposure to excessive glare during the day
will hamper the ability of the eyes to adapt to the dark.
This effect may last for several days if severe;
therefore, you should wear sunglasses as much as
possible in the daylight.
Dark adaptation before going on watch consists of
spending at least 30 minutes in darkness or with the
eyes protected by red goggles. Wearing red goggles is
effective because red light does not affect the eyes. To
complete adaptation for a night watch, spend 5
minutes on deck before relieving the watch. These 5
minutes allow your eyes to adjust to the amount of
illumination in which they will work.
Once you have your night vision, be careful that
you do not ruin the effect by looking into a white light.
If you have to record a message or make a log entry,
always use a light with a red lens. Dim red light does
not spoil your night vision.
Lookout duties, and reporting procedures are
discussed in the training manuals Basic Military
Requirements and Lookout Training Handbook.
LOGS AND FILES
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Explain procedures
for maintaining the visual communications log,
the visual station file, and the watch-to-watch
Naval Telecommunications Procedures Fleet
Communications, NTP 4, requires that an accurate and
complete record be maintained of all events that occur
during each watch. Included in these records are visual
logs, visual station files, and publications custody logs
for the purpose of maintaining accurate
watch-to-watch publication inventories.
VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS LOG
The visual communications log is maintained in a
ledger-type record book or other bound book printed
for that purpose. The visual log will contain a
complete, accurate, and chronological record of all
visual traffic except operator-to-operator ZWC and
service messages that do not contain the prosign BT
sent and received by the command.
The visual log is to be safeguarded and maintained
by the watch supervisor when the visual watch is set,
and by the duty Signalman or person qualified as the
duty Signalman when the visual watch is not set.
Before assigning any security classification to the
visual log, consult OPNAVINST 5510.1.
The visual log is retained and disposed of
according to the SECNAVINST 5212.5 (Disposal of
Navy and Marine Corps Records). At the minimum,
the visual log must be retained for 1 month. However,
the visual log may be disposed of when the ship is
decommissioned provided the log does not meet any
of the special criteria specified in SECNAVINST
Visual Log Guidelines
The guidelines for the visual log entries are based
upon usages. The following guidelines do not cover
every situation. For situations not covered, good
judgment by the watch supervisor or duty Signalman
Use black ink and print legibly.
Leave no blank spaces between lines.