"Great Encouragement for Seamen" – Then and Now

great encouragement for seaman

Back in 1777, Captain John Paul-Jones placed the above advertisement in the New Hampshire Gazette in an effort to recruit sailors for “The Ship Ranger. Seems that the fledgling US Navy was experience recruiting challenges much in the same way that the world’s merchant fleet is experiencing today, but that’s a story for another post.

Any Gentlemen Volunteers who have a Mind to take an agreeable Voyage in this pleasant Season of the Year, may, by entering on board the above Ship Ranger, meet with every Civility they can possibly expect, and for a further Encouragement depend on the first Opportunity being embraced to reward each one agreeable to his Merit.

Jones almost makes it sound more like a vacation than the harsh realities of life aboard a revolutionary war ship.

navy first call poster

The Ship Ranger is long gone but today another active US Navy war ship is in search of a able bodied seamen. According to the Strategy Page, The US Navy is Seeking Sailing Sailors. Candidates must;

  • Be able to handle going up in the rigging.
  • Have capability to give talks and presentations (to museum visitors).
  • Not been in trouble for drinking in the past 36 months, or have had a drunken driving conviction in the past five years.
  • Not have had financial debt or credit) problems in the past 36 months.
  • Have had above average fitness reports in the last 36 months.
  • Not have excessive, or questionable, tattoos.
  • Be in good physical shape and not overweight.
  • Have passed all physical fitness assessments in the past year, and have not failed more than one physical fitness test in the past four years.
  • Lower ranking sailors (E-3 and below) must be unmarried.

Hmmm? No drinking, tattoos or wives! Sailors who can handle going up in the rigging? What happened to our Navy when I was off watch?

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Peter A. Mello

Husband, father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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