Originally Posted by paulk
Best answer to this question is to ask the Captain what he expects. He will probably mention the points posted above. If you haven't stood a night watch, he will probably appreciate your candor and how serioiusly you are taking your responsibilities by asking him.
This answer, to what on the surface is a simple question, probably best sums it all up.
Most of the answers seemed to assume the watchman was just entering the English Channel or sailing off the coast of So. Ca. If you think the same attitudes prevail when you're 1500 miles off shore then I submit you've never been there.
Conditions change depending on the amount of traffic, weather, etc. What if you are single handing?
Sailingdog, If you think that you can stop a man from listening to music or a book on tape during a long passage, then I've got to think that your experience in that regard is limited. Or you have got some unreasonable expectations. There have been some deaf sailors you know. One just has to have sense enough to take the headphones off once in awhile. Just like they have to have sense enough to look around sometimes.
A watch is a watch, if you are charged with the responsibility of the vessel what difference does it make what time of day it is. It's just harder to stay awake at night. Which takes me back to the comment about singlehanding. If any of you guys tell me you have never slept on watch, then you've never singlehanded.
Not all the questions asked on this site have to become so complicated nor the answers so convoluted.