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Bell Time On Shipboard

Time on shipboard is divided into periods of four hours--from midnight

to midnight--and the lapse of every half hour is marked by one or more

strokes of the bell--from one stroke for the end of the first half hour

to eight strokes or, in nautical language, eight bells, for the end of

the fourth hour. Thus 12:30 a. m. is 1 bell; 1:00 a. m., 2 bells; 1:30

a. m., 3 bells; 2:00 a. m., 4 bells; 2:30 a. m., 5 bells; 3:00 a. m., 6

bells; 3:30 a. m., 7 bells; 4:00 a. m., 8 bells. Then 4:30 a. m. is

indicated by 1 bell; 5:00 a. m., 2 bells, etc.; 8 bells being sounded at

8:00 a. m., 12:00 m., 4:00 p. m., 8:00 p. m. and 12:00 p. m.

Four to 8:00 p. m. is divided into two dog watches called first dog

watch and last dog watch, so as to change the watches daily;

otherwise starboard or port watch would be on deck the same hours day

after day.