Regimental Manual - Chapter 8 Customs, Traditions and Courtesies

8-100     General Introduction

8-200     Relationships with Officers

8-300     The Ensign and Colors

8-400     Shipboard Customs

8-500     Additional Customs and Courtesies

8-100 General Introduction

101 Service etiquette, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means: "The forms required by good breeding, social conventions, or prescribed by authority, to be observed in social or official life; the rules of decorum."  Service etiquette is all aspects of everyday good manners combined with the traditions and customs used by all officers and cadets at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

8-200 Relationships with Officers

201 A cadet always maintains a professional or formal relationship with an officer.  The customs associate with paying respect to an officer are never to be changed.

202 A basic rule is to make way for a senior officer quickly, quietly and without comment except for the calling of "Gangway" if in a crowd.

203 The following are the correct procedures for responding to a senior in certain situations:
A. Upon entering a vehicle, a boat, or an elevator, the senior enters last and leaves first.
B. When entering and leaving through doors, the cadet will, if possible, hold the door to allow the senior to precede him/her.
C. Cadets should appear in uniform when on official administrative business.
D. When accompanying a senior, walk on the officer's left and slightly behind him or her.
E. If a cadet is seated when addressed by a senior, the cadet is expected to rise to attention.
F. In a first-time meeting situation, the cadet waits for the senior to initiate a handshake.
G. On board ship, stay clear of Officers' Country unless requested to visit.

204 Saluting all officers at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) is required at all times.
A. Cadets are required to salute all officers whether the officers are in uniform or not. 
B. Cadets are required to render a proper salute and greeting for example: "Good morning Sir/Ma'am; Good afternoon Sir/Ma'am; Good evening Sir/Ma'am."
C. Cadets not in uniform will not salute but will render a proper greeting: "Good morning Sir/Ma'am and continue on their way.
D. Cadets saluting an officer will receive, in return, a proper salute from the officer as well as a proper greeting.
E. Cadets in a group will each render a salute and a proper greeting when an officer passes by/approaches.
F. Cadets marching in formation are not required to salute.  The cadet in charge of the formation will render the salute as well as the proper greeting.
G. Cadets must be ready to render a proper salute at all times.  A cadet with his/her hands in his/her pockets is unacceptable.
H. Cadets only salute when covered (while wearing a hat/cover).
I. While in uniform a cadet must have his/her right hand/arm ready to salute at all times.
J. Cadets using the right hand to carry books, coffee, sandwiches, etc., renders the cadet unable to return a sharp professional salute and is unacceptable.
K. While in uniform cadets never walk while smoking a tobacco product (to include smokeless tobacco), applicable to off campus function and event.
L. While in uniform cadets never use any tobacco product when moving from one part of a venue to another.  Smoking is designated in specific areas for the venue in accordance to federal and/or state law.  While engaged in this activity cadets to are not to shirk their responsibilities to rendering salutes and or proper greetings.
M. Cadets never chew gum while in uniform.
N. Standing cadets who are approached by an officer will immediately come to attention and render the proper salute and greeting.
O. Seated cadets will always rise to their feet when addressed by an officer and remain standing until the officer states "Carry on."
P. Cadets will never use the term "Yeah" when addressing an officer.  Cadets always respond with: "Yes or No Sir/Ma'am."
Q. Cadets will conduct themselves always in a professional manner and, when in doubt, salute.
R. Cadets must adhere to proper grooming and hygiene standards at all times.
S. Cadets will render proper courtesies to all MMA staff and teachers.
T. Cadets never address officers by their last name only.  Use of rank, Sir, Ma'am always precedes the name.
U. While in uniform cadets never walk while "texting", "talking" or using a mobile (cellular) phone device.  While engaged in this activity cadets to are not to shirk their responsibilities to rendering salutes and or proper greetings.

8-300 The Ensign and Colors

301 The ensign has a history and a symbolism that is to be respected by all.  Since the early civil strife in our country, the flag has accompanied every vessel and has flown at every government installation.

302 Shore stations and ships not underway perform the ceremony called "Colors" twice a day - at 0800 and at sunset.  The ceremony consists of the rendering of honors to the ensign as it is hoisted or lowered.  At five minutes prior to Colors, the word "First call to Colors" is passed.  At exactly 0800, or at sunset or as part of a formation, "Attention" is sounded on the bugle.  If there is no bugle, the words "Attention to Colors" are passed over the loudspeakers.

303 Everyone within sight of hearing of Colors renders honors in the following ways:
A. If in formation, cadets will be called to attention or to present arms by the Officer in Charge.
B. If a cadet is in a vehicle and safety permits, he or she will stop the vehicle and sit at attention, but he or she is not required to salute.
C. When not in ranks, a cadet ceases activity, faces the Colors and salutes (if in uniform) until the last note of the anthem.
D. If in civilian or athletic attire, a cadet stops and faces the Colors at attention.  If wearing a cover, the cadet removes it and holds it over the heart in your right hand.  A woman in civilian dress, with or without a hat, stands at attention and places her hand over her heart.
E. There are certain differences in procedures on board ship:
     1. Naval ships not underway host the ensign and the jack (a square flag with white stars on a blue background).  It is hoisted on the jack-staff, a small flagpole at the bow.  Merchant vessels fly only the ensign.
     2. Ships underway do not hold morning and evening colors.  They hoist (if it is not already hoisted) the national ensign as they get underway.  The jack is not flown while a ship is underway.  
     3. A flag salute or "dip" often is offered between two passing vessels.  The ensign is slowly lowered to two-thirds above deck flying height, held at that position until a salute is returned, then slowly re-hoisted.
F. In addition to the ensign and jack, there are many types of flags with which one should become familiar: those indicating nationality, navel rank, signal, and reference marks
G. The same marks of respect prescribed during the playing of the National Anthem shall be shown during the playing of a foreign National Anthem.

8-400 Shipboard Customs

401 There are new vocabularies to know in order to be a part of the maritime community.
A. The ramp going up to the ship is referred to as a "gangway."
B. The area first entered on a ship is usually the "quarterdeck."
C. The person encountered there will be the "OOD" or "Officer-of-the-Deck."  The cadet will first salute the ensign at the stern of the ship, then board the ship and ask "Permission to come aboard."  The process is reversed upon leaving: "Permission to leave the ship," is requested, after which the cadet steps on the gangway and turns to salute the ensign.
D. The cadet will report aboard in the proper "uniform of the day."  The cadet is required to be in the uniform of the day at all times and particularly when at the quarterdeck.
E. Walls are "bulkheads," floors are "decks," hallways are "passageways," stairwells are "ladders," ceilings are "overheads," bathrooms are "heads," drinking fountains are "scuttlebutts," rope is "line" (with seven exceptions), the right side is "starboard," the left side is "port," the front of the ship is the "bow," the rear of the ship is the "stern," going towards the bow is "going forward," going to the rear of the ship is "going aft," the kitchen is the "galley", and the dining hall is the "mess deck."

8-500 Additional Customs and Courtesies

501 There are many places on board ship and many events which take place on board ship which should be respected.  The correct protocol must be learned and carried out as follows":
A. The quarterdeck: It is not a specific deck as on the older ships, such as the foc'sle (forecastle deck) or the promenade deck.  It is an area designated by the Master to serve as the official access point to the ship.  It is considered "sacred ground" and requires that all hands comply with longstanding practices.
     1. Do not appear on the quarterdeck unless on official duty and in the uniform of the day.
     2. Unless necessary, do not cross the quarterdeck area.
     3. Do not skylark (lounge about or fool around) in the quarterdeck area.
     4. Do not smoke or eat food on the quarterdeck.
     5. If on watch at the quarterdeck, thoroughly know the rules and practices.
B. The Officers' mess: This is a space where officers dine.  A cadet is expected to comply with the following practices:
     1. If possible, avoid having business with an officer while he or she is in the Officers' mess.
     2. Always knock when wishing to enter.  When acknowledged, enter uncovered.
     3. Maintain a position of attention while being addressed by any officer.
     4. Do not sit down unless invited to do so.
     5. The same practices apply even when on watch.
C. Officers' Country: This area consists of Officers' Mess, staterooms and lounges.  Adhere to the following practices:
     1. Avoid the area.  Do not use the adjoining passageways for "short cuts," etc.
     2. If entering is a necessity, uncover unless on watch.
     3. Maintain equal intervals and your position of "parade rest" until relieved.
D. Divine Services: Religious ceremony is a vital part of shipboard life.  It is to be respected always and the rules of good conduct strictly apply.
E. Manning the Rails: Cadets will "Man the Rail" upon leaving and entering port.  It is an evolution during which the weather deck rails are manned by designated cadets in a single rank.
     1. Be in the correct uniform and covered.
     2. As you are in rank, do not salute.
     3. maintain equal intervals and your position of "parade rest" until relieved.
     4. If you are not involved due to work inside the ship, you are to continue work in a quiet, orderly manner or remain silent until the order "Carry on" is passed to secure from manning the rails.  
F. Rear Admiral Maurice J. Bresnahan Jr. - MMA class of 1959, retired two star Navy Admiral and former President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy from April 1998 through November 2004.
     1. In a show of absolute respect for the memory of Admiral Bresnahan all cadets in uniform who pass in front of his statue, overlooking the parade field, will render a sharp, crisp andprofessional hand solute.  Admiral Bresnahan's leadership and love for the regiment of cadets was uncompromising and absolute to the very end of his life.  "I am of the regiment" he was frequently known to say.