The spotter is the most valuable person in
flaghoist communication. It is the spotter's job to get
the signal hoisted and to make sure it is correct. To
become a spotter, you must be able to recognize all
flags in the flagbag without hesitation, know flaghoist
terminology, and be able to read flaghoist in proper
sequences. Spotter's duties and flaghoist terminology
will be covered more in depth in chapter 5.
Flashing light is used daily on the signal bridge.
To become a searchlight operator, a Signalman must
be efficient in Morse code. He or she must be
knowledgeable in all procedures when communi-
cating via flashing light. Searchlight operators must
be able to energize equipment and to spot any
malfunctions. Searchlight operator will be covered
more in depth in chapter 4.
Semaphore is a rapid and secure means of
transmitting visual messages. It makes use of two hand
flags (PAPA or OSCAR) attached to staffs about 22
inches long. This increases range of visibility.
Semaphore may be used to send messages to several
addresses at one time if they are positioned properly;
because of its speed, it is better adapted for long
messages. See appendix II for standard semaphore
characters and a few helpful hints. Semaphore will be
covered more in depth in chapter 4.
SIGNALMAN OF THE WATCH
No two signal bridges are run exactly the same;
therefore, the duties of the Signalman of the watch will
vary from ship to ship. The standard operating
procedures (SOPs) on your signal bridge will define
your duties as Signalman of the watch. In general,
though, the Signalman of the watch, must be efficient
in all forms of visual communication.
Boat Signalman is one of your most important
assignments; it usually comes in play to help save
someone's life. Therefore, you must know all aspects
of being a boat Signalman, including the identification
of flares, directing boat by visual signaling, and being
able to operate a pyrotechnic kit. Boat Signalman
procedures are discussed in chapter 8.
On every ship, the lookout has an extremely
important job. Even with today's radar, a good lookout
is one of the OOD's most valuable sources of
information. A Signalmans duties by nature also
require keeping a sharp lookout. As a matter of pride,
the Signalman should be the first to sight and
An expert lookout has to be plenty sharp on a lot
of things. Not only must lookouts be able to sight and
identify objects, but they must be able to report them
correctly, using relative bearings, distances, target
angles, and in the case of aircraft, position angles.
Lookout duties are covered in detail in chapter 8.
IN-PORT DUTY SIGNALMAN
The duties of the in-port duty Signalman include
the holding of colors, sunrise, routing of visual
messages, making preparations for getting under way,
serving as a member of the rescue and assistance
detail, and maintaining the visual station file and log.
The duties of the in-port duty Signalman will vary
from ship to ship. Your SOPs will outline your duties.
The Signalman supervisor is overall responsible to
the leading Signalman and/or signal officer for the
communication and conduct of personnel on watch.
Signalman supervisor duties are discussed in chapter 8.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: List 12 important
communication publications and state the
purpose of each. State how publications may be
obtained. Explain the importance of
publication corrections and changes, and state
procedures for making publication changes.
A variety of special publications is necessary in
visual communication. You will be using these pubs
daily, so you may as well familiarize yourself with
them at the start.