River watch, how many lakers have AB's on the bow?

Is it just our ship? Seems like I very rarely ever see a bow watch posted on other ships we pass in the rivers. St. Marys, St Clare, Detroit. All I know is it sucks in the Winter. We don’t have a “telephone booth” or even a damm chair. Luckly we’re on 4 hour watches so nobody gets stuck out there the whole time and we do get a break depending on location and traffic to warm up. I usally get an extra dose of fun being the Bosun (chief cat herder) when we reach the locks or fuel dock. We only have two AB’s and me. Makes for an extra full paycheck but it can be a bit much some days.

On ATB’s last year there was always a guy in the shack. Smaller tugs pushing a barge the mate was look out in the lower pilothouse for the big rivers. Tighter rivers the deck crew is out calling distances.

In the 90’s I recall standing on the bow and being told to go below as it was too cold. An AB had made a shack with wool blankets, a space heatrer and a light bulb. This was inside by the windlass. AB’s would just sit in there for the whole watch and read books. It absolutly stank of cigarettes and swisher sweets.