What is Watch?
Watch meaning A period of duty, usually of four-hours duration. The day at sea has long been divided into watches, which are called: midwatch (0000 to 0400); rev watch (reveille) or morning watch (0400 to 0800); forenoon watch (0800 to 1200); afternoon watch (1200 to 1600); and the first watch (2000 to 2400). The period from 1600 to 2000 is usually split into two dog watches (first dog watch, second dog watch) to allow the crew to eat. Watch-standers in the Navy are required to report fifteen minutes before their watch is to begin in order to learn any needed instructions, situations, etc, from the preceding watch-standers. The new watch takes over from the previous when the watch officer or section leader officially relieves his predecessor; this must be done by the official, posted clock-time; (so, for example, a midwatch would run from 2345 to 0345, presuming that the hand- off is very quick). This schedule is not carved in stone, and variations exist depending on the command (some midwatches, for example run from ‘ten to two’ — 2200 to 0200).
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