Barrel Watch Definition

Hi, I am trying to describe a barrel watch to a non-seagoing friend. Does anybody know of a good definition for a barrel watch?

We used them when I worked for Pasha on the “triangle run,” (LA/Honolulu/Oakland.) This company does not use day mates in port, only night mates to cover 0000x0800 and 1600x2400 — meaning someone aboard the ship had to cover the 0800x1600 (the day watch.) We carried two 3rd Mates at the time, so each of us was assigned a day watch covering these hours — one of us in Los Angeles and the other in Honolulu (Oakland was such a brief stop we didn’t even need night mates.)

I signed on the ship in LA, so the way they ran it was whoever signed on in that port had the day watch in Honolulu, whoever signed on in Honolulu or Oakland had the day watch in LA. Other ships/outfits might have let the mates work something out between themselves once aboard.

So — me having the barrel in Hono gave the other third mate the entire port stay to himself, and I was free to leave the ship and screw off for the entire stay in LA. If I recall correctly we’d pull into Hono around 1700 and would leave a day and a half later at around 0700… same applied in LA so… fun times!

I miss that job…

That sounds right… It’s the weekday watch for a second or third mate in a US port when you don’t have night mates. I think I can get him to understand that! I will have to explain night mates to him, though… Lol…
Thank you, Shooter.

What’s a night mate? Are they like unicorns, something you’ve heard a lot of but never seen? Legend was that Mobil used to have them before I started working there (in 1980). I didn’t know there was a name for one mate covering for another so one can get time off. We just did it informally, “I’ll take your watch in Ferndale and you can take mine in San Pedro.”

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Standard MM&P stuff. When an American ship is in an American port at night or on a weekend, the Union hall dispatches a night mate to relieve the ships officers. Four to midnight, midnight to 0800, and during the day on Saturday and Sunday. Night mates are just regular members who are making some extra money while they’re ashore. The shipboard officers work 0800 to 1600 weekdays… but that officer works the full day, giving the other one(s) an a day off while in port. Kind of nice to have a day off to take care of business, after a five or six week run to Asia. The barrel watch rotates between the second and third mate.

At least that’s the way it USED to be… I’ve been retired for 14 years. I don’t know what’s going on now.

There just aren’t a lot of opportunities to break sea watches with the way the schedules are anymore. The other factor is that a barrel watch could have major issues with the STCW rest hours, which have become a major sticking point with just about every regulator. Some of the MM&P companies are just calling port relief officers for all hours now. Weekend or not, a day mate can make the difference in getting a non-comformity.

Yup — MLL dispatches them for all hours/watches. If for whatever reason they can’t get any and one of the mates has to stand the watch they would write it in as OT.