What do they do? Quartermaster QM

What do they do? Quartermaster QM

Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

June 18th, 2008, 6:50 pm #1

What do they do? Quartermaster QM

Quartermasters assist the navigator and officer of the deck (OOD), steer the ship, take radar bearings and ranges, make depth soundings and celestial observations, plot courses and command small craft. Usually they can be found next to or very near the bridge. Their operating space can be called Navigation or Chart Room. Generally the QM can be seen steering the ship (helmsman) underway.
Electronics have made the Quartermaster’s job much easier. The ship’s position, course, speed and heading are accurately reported using modern Global Positioning Satellites. The use of a sextant is a dying art.
Ocean and harbor navigation charts are much more accurate than ever before and are constantly updated and improved. Modern electronic depth finders aid in critical navigation.
Surface search radar keeps the helmsman notified of any vessels, land masses or objects around the ship at far greater distances and in poor conditions than the lookouts can do.
All this modern equipment is a definite asset to the Quartermaster however it requires much more schooling and practice than their predecessors had to endure.
Quartermaster QM now exists as Electronics Technician (Navigation) ETV on submarines.

I understand the earlier Quartermaster patch used crossed spyglasses instead of the modern Ship’s Wheel.

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Joined: May 20th, 2005, 1:46 am

June 19th, 2008, 1:09 am #2

They also took over all the duties of the signalmen.
visual communications
flag rendering
ETC.
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

June 19th, 2008, 12:34 pm #3

What do they do? Quartermaster QM

Quartermasters assist the navigator and officer of the deck (OOD), steer the ship, take radar bearings and ranges, make depth soundings and celestial observations, plot courses and command small craft. Usually they can be found next to or very near the bridge. Their operating space can be called Navigation or Chart Room. Generally the QM can be seen steering the ship (helmsman) underway.
Electronics have made the Quartermaster’s job much easier. The ship’s position, course, speed and heading are accurately reported using modern Global Positioning Satellites. The use of a sextant is a dying art.
Ocean and harbor navigation charts are much more accurate than ever before and are constantly updated and improved. Modern electronic depth finders aid in critical navigation.
Surface search radar keeps the helmsman notified of any vessels, land masses or objects around the ship at far greater distances and in poor conditions than the lookouts can do.
All this modern equipment is a definite asset to the Quartermaster however it requires much more schooling and practice than their predecessors had to endure.
Quartermaster QM now exists as Electronics Technician (Navigation) ETV on submarines.

I understand the earlier Quartermaster patch used crossed spyglasses instead of the modern Ship’s Wheel.

that they did all of this... and more too!

Do all US Navy ships today still have their navigational tools 'just in case'? (Humbling.. think about some of those huge carriers and corporate tankers with their course plotted not by GPS but by sextant and azimuth readings, star locations...)

And Jim.. what kind of instances would they fill in for the signalmen? I'm trying to get a picture of their duties...

I continue to learn.. and thanks!
Last edited by SeaBat on June 19th, 2008, 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

June 19th, 2008, 6:35 pm #4

Thanks for the update. I hadn'e realized we had no more Signalmen (skivy wavers).
It seems the rate was phased out in 2003-2004
Seabat, Signalmen (Quartermaster now) have the job of communicating with other ships at sea or other situations. Before radios and other modern devices they often used different flags to communicate messages or situations. A signalman on one ship could "talk" to another signalman on another ship using semaphore flags to spell out messages. Other flags could be hoisted (all those ropes you see on the mast)with each flag standing for a letter in the alphabet or a standard message. Generally the ship always flew its call sign while underway.
Later signal lamps were used with morse code to send messages over greater distances. This had the disadvantage that enemy ships could also see the blinking lights.
Signalmen (Quartermasters) still play an important role in communications, especially when ships underway must maintain radio silence or are running dark (no lights displayed)


There is an excellent web page lamenting the Signalman's fate with a humorous poem at the end.

http://www.usscurrituck.org/signalman.html
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

June 19th, 2008, 7:04 pm #5

VICTOR (I require assistance!)

and

OSCAR (Gator Gal Overboard! lol)

And then there's the PAPA flag that will be flying in Evansville during LST Week...
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Joined: May 20th, 2005, 1:46 am

June 19th, 2008, 9:58 pm #6

that they did all of this... and more too!

Do all US Navy ships today still have their navigational tools 'just in case'? (Humbling.. think about some of those huge carriers and corporate tankers with their course plotted not by GPS but by sextant and azimuth readings, star locations...)

And Jim.. what kind of instances would they fill in for the signalmen? I'm trying to get a picture of their duties...

I continue to learn.. and thanks!
Sue:
The signalman rate is no longer , the Quartermaster rate along with their duties took over all the signalmans duties.. And they are undermanned..

Sikvywavers RULE !!
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

June 19th, 2008, 10:22 pm #7

they can 'do away' with a rate all they want to.. we know that Once a Skivvy Waver, always a Skivvy Waver... Signal Bridge will agree.. but he'll probably send the message in semaphore...
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Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

June 20th, 2008, 7:58 pm #8

Sue:
The signalman rate is no longer , the Quartermaster rate along with their duties took over all the signalmans duties.. And they are undermanned..

Sikvywavers RULE !!
The Lay Of The Last Signalman
I.
On a thickly wooden sponson where the last projector stands,
The museum pair of handflags hanging idly in my hands,
with my jargon half forgotten of my stock and trade berfet,
I wonder what's ahead of me - the only bunting left.

II.
The relics of my ancient craft have vanished one by one.
The Cruisers arch, the Morse flag and maneuvering lights have gone,
And I hear they'd be as useless in the final Global war
As the helio, the foghorn and the masthead semaphore.

III.
The masthead is sprouting gadgets like a nightmare Christmas tree.
There are whips and stubs and waveguides where my halyards used to be,
and I couldn't hoist a tackline through that lunatic array,
for at every height and angle there's a dipole in the way.

IV.
The alert and hawk-eyed Signalman is rendered obsolete
by the electrically operated optics of the fancy modern Fleet.
And the leaping barracuda or the charging submarine
can be spoted as a blob upon flourescent screen.

V.
To delete the human error, to erase a noble breed,
we rely upon a relay and we pin our faith to creed.
So we press a button, make a switch and spin a wheel,
and it's cent percent efficient when we're on an even keel.

VI.
But again I may be needed, for the time will surely come,
when we have to talk in silence and the modern stuff is dumb.
When the signal lantern's flashing or the flags are flying free -
it was good enough for Nelson and it's good enough for me.
F.S.B.

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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

June 24th, 2008, 2:46 am #9

who ever is the author makes his point very well.

To all of you Skivvy Wavers out there.. don't let your art fall into disuse... please teach another and then another so that this craft may live on in the finest tradition.

There is nothing like watching a Sailor round the corner, seeing a ship 'just like' his for the first time in years and hearing his breath catch and watching tears spring to his eyes as he sees those flags fluttering in the breeze... He's come home.
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