About Dog Watch
Welcome to Dog Watch
What’s a Dog Watch?
The Dog Watch, known to sailors and mariners since the 1700’s, is a deck duty shift between 1600 and 2000 (4 p.m. and 8 p.m.) It is split into two, first and last dog watches, each half the length of a regular four hour watch.
So why exactly was the Dog Watch created? The schedule staggers the 24-hour watch cycle, allowing sailors to stand different watches every day instead of one team being forced to stand the mid-watch every night, which is not fun. More importantly, the choice of time also allows both watches, if there are only two, to eat an evening meal at about the traditional time, and have a rum ration at a reasonable hour.
Dog Watch is about fun, food & drink!
The name may have come from the fact that a crew member tasked with one of these half watches was said to be ‘dodging the watch’, or standing the ‘dodge watch’, which became shortened to ‘dog watch’. Another interpretation is that those sleeping get only ‘dog sleep’ during this watch. And an old British seaman’s manual refers to these short shifts as “Curtailed Watches.” Cur-tailed, go figure. One thing we know for sure, though — the Dog Watch is a great way to keep the crew happy.
Clay Burkhalter, Dave & Wendy Eck, and the DW Crew