Life at Sea Webquest
Life at Sea Web Quest
Task Objective: Gain a fascinating insight into the lives of sailors and seamen
Life at Sea Web Quest
Task Objective: Gain a fascinating insight into the lives of sailors and seamen
Using the website: http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/sea-ships/Life-sea
Go to What are watches on board ships link:
Then, fill in the blanks by reading
- Life at sea meant short bursts of work followed by short periods of rest. These _______ hour long segments of the day are called watches.
- Because a ship needs to be manned 24 hours a day, the crew are split into two or more teams or watches so that they can sleep and relax when not keeping watch.
- The next two watches are divided into _____________________ –the first is from 16.00 (4pm) until 18.00 (6pm) and the last dogwatch is from 18.00 (6pm) until 20.00 (8pm).
- The dog watches divide the 24 hour working day into an uneven number of watches so that the watch keepers do not keep the __________ watches everyday.
Go to Life at sea in the age of sail link:
- Life at sea during the age of sail was hard. Sailors had to accept cramped conditions, _________________, poor food, pay and bad weather. Over a period of __________________ of years, seafarers from the age of the early explorers to the time of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, shared many common experiences. Men working at sea had much to endure; cut off from normal life on shore for months, even years, they had to accept cramped conditions, disease, poor food and pay. Above all, they faced the ___________________ dangers of sea and ______________________.
Why were punishments so harsh at sea?
- A seaman's life was hard, and he had to be tough to survive, so ship's officers kept strict _____________________ on board. In this way they hoped to keep _________________ high and prevent mutiny. Mutiny happened when the crew turning against the captain likely killing him or leaving him stranded at a nearby abandoned island.
- Seamen could be ‘tarred and feathered’, tied to a rope, swung overboard and ducked or ‘keel-hauled’, dragged round the _______________________ of the ship. ___________________ using a multi-tailed whip was the most common, with the whole crew often made to watch. A rope's end was used, or the infamous ‘cat o’ nine tails’. A seaman found guilty of mutiny or murder would be hanged from the ________________ arm.
What was the food on the ship? The main rations were salt beef or pork, cheese, fish, ale and some form of ship's ________________________. The quality of food deteriorated because of storage problems, lack of ventilation, and poor drainage. It was also affected by the presence of ______________ and other vermin on board.
What were the jobs on board? Typical jobs on board included cook, parson (pastor), surgeon, master gunner, boatswain (in charge of the sails), carpenter and _____________________________. Other members of the crew would, of course, carry out all the duties, including keeping watch, handling sails, and cleaning decks. It is interesting to note that the names for jobs of men responsible for working a ship (boatswain, coxswain, seamen) are of Anglo-Saxon origin, while those of officers (Captain, Lieutenant, Admiral) are of Norman-French origin. This is an indication of a __________________ distinction between roles on board.
What were press gangs? It was not always possible to fill ships’ crews with volunteers, especially in wartime, so the law allowed ___________________ to seize men and force them to join a ship. Pressing peaked in the 18th century, but was still going on as late as 1850.
What happened to sick seamen? There was a great deal of sickness at sea. Seamen were often cold and wet, rats carried disease, and a poor diet not only caused malnutrition, but specific illnesses such as ______________________ – caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. As well as injury from shipboard accidents, there was risk of death or maiming in times of battle. Ships' surgeons worked in cramped and filthy conditions with no anesthetic, so infection and _____________________________ was commonplace.
What sort of pay did seamen get? By the end of the 1700s, pay on a naval ship was less than that on a merchant ship. However, as well as basic wages, sailors would expect to have a share of prize money or _____________________ from captured enemy vessels.
What did seamen do off duty? Traditionally hard-drinking and tough, seamen made the best of their cramped living quarters, enjoying games of dice and cards, telling tales, playing musical instruments, carving, drawing, practicing knots or model making. They also sang ‘sea shanties’ – rhythmic work ___________________________ to help repetitive tasks like hauling on ropes.
Click on What is a nautical mile? http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/nautical-mile-0
The ‘standard’ ________________________ mile is taken as 6080 feet and is the unit of length used in sea and air navigation. A nautical mile is considered to be 3 leagues. A mile on land is equal to ________ feet. This difference is due to the Earth not being a perfect sphere, but slightly flattened at the poles – an oblate spheroid. Speed at sea is measured in knots, a knot being one nautical mile per hour.
Click on the link http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/samuel-plimsoll-and-ship-safety to learn about Samuel Plimsoll and ship safety. In the 19th century, Samuel Plimsoll campaigned for ___________________ lines to be painted on the side of ships to prevent them being overloaded and sinking. Load lines are painted on the side of ships to show how low it may safely rest in the water without the risk of sinking. Although usually associated with the British, Samuel Plimsoll (1824–1898), who campaigned for more __________________at sea, seafaring societies had marked the sides of their ships hundreds of years earlier.
Why should a ship not be overloaded? When merchants began to transport goods by sea, they soon realized the importance of loading their ship correctly. If a ship was overloaded it could _________________ in heavy seas or rough weather. In the 19th century, overloading and poor repair made some ships so dangerous that they became known as '________________ ships'.
When were load lines first used? Ships from Venice were ______________________________ in this way by the marking of a cross, the traditional symbol of salvation, as long ago as the 12th century but it was not until the 19th century that the use of load lines became widespread.
Why did safety become more important in the 19th century? During the 19th century, British ___________________ was growing rapidly. The large number of ships being wrecked each year caused greater and greater concern.
Did sailors worry about the dangerous condition of ships? _____________, and many refused to go to sea. In 1855, a group of sailors wrote to Queen Victoria complaining that they’d been found guilty of desertion because they’d complained about going to sea in dangerous ships. Around the same time, an inspector of prisons reported that _____________ out of 12 prisoners in the jails of southwest England were sailors, imprisoned for 12 weeks for refusing to sail in ships they considered to be unseaworthy.
How did Samuel Plimsoll become involved? In 1870, Samuel Plimsoll, a coal merchant, began to investigate the safety of ships and found the problem worse than he expected. He campaigned in parliament and in 1872, a Royal Commission on Unseaworthy Ships was set up to look at evidence and recommend ____________________.
How does the load line work? It is painted on the side of _____________________ ships. When a ship is loaded, the water level isn’t supposed to go above the line. However, the water can reach different parts of the line, depending on its temperature, saltiness, time of year and geographic location. The basic symbol, of a circle with a horizontal line passing through its center, is now recognized worldwide.
Matthew Walker knot to learn about the man that inspired this decorative knot. A _____________________ Walker Knot keeps the end of a rope from fraying but its origins are a mystery. There are a number of different legends about the identity of Matthew Walker.
The Vikings to learn about these seafaring raiders and traders from Scandinavia. The period known as the Viking Age lasted from AD 700 until _____________. _____________________’ was the name given to the seafarers from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. During the Viking age many Vikings travelled to other countries, such as Britain and Ireland. They either settled in these new lands as farmers and craftsmen, or went to __________________ and look for treasure.
How do we know about the Vikings? Archaeologists have studied the remains of Viking farms, villages and towns and have put together a picture of how they might have lived. Graves have given us lots of information about the Viking way of life, because some important Vikings were buried with their possessions. Several buried or sunken ships have been found, and these have helped us to understand their _______________________ technology.
What sort of ships did the Vikings have? The Vikings built many different kinds of craft, from small fishing boats and ferries, to their famous _____________ ships. They were all made from planks of timber, usually oak, overlapped and nailed together. The ships were made watertight by filling the spaces between the planks with wool, moss or animal hair, mixed with tar or tallow. The ships were all the same long narrow shape, with shallow draughts. Therefore, they could be used in _____________________ water. Vikings used ___________ ships to make raids and carry their warriors. Often, the prow (front) of the ship was decorated with a carving of an animal head – perhaps a dragon or a snake. Cargo vessels were used to carry trade goods and possessions. They were wider than the long ships and travelled more slowly. Planked decks were only laid at the ends of the ship, so that space was left in the middle for ____________________.
How did the Vikings ships move? The ships were powered by oars or by the ____________________, and had one large, square sail, most probably made from wool. Leather strips crisscrossed the wool to keep its shape when it was wet. Viking ships also had oars. A steering oar or '_______________________' was used to steer the ships. It was fastened to the right-hand side of the ship at the stern (back).
What was life like at sea? There was no shelter on these __________________. At night, Vikings might pull them up on land. They’d take the sail down and lay it across the ship to make a tent to sleep under. Or, they’d pitch _______________________ tents onshore. If the crew were far out to sea they’d sleep on deck under blankets made from animal skin. Food would have been dried or salted meat or fish. It could only be cooked if the crew were able to land. They’d drink water, beer or sour milk. The hardship of life on board, especially in rough seas, meant that Vikings did not make voyages in the winter but waited until ______________________.
How did the Vikings navigate? Vikings did not use ______________. They had lots of different ways of working out where they were and which direction to travel in. They looked at the position of the sun and the stars. They looked at the color of the sea, the way the waves were moving and the way the wind was blowing. They looked out for birds and could smell if they were near land. It’s very unlikely that they had a compass, although some Vikings may have used an instrument called a sun-shadow board to help them navigate.
Where did the Vikings travel? Viking traders travelled around the coast of Europe to __________________. By sailing south along the lakes and rivers of Russia and Germany they were able to meet up with traders from Arab and Eastern countries. The Vikings made much longer journeys when seeking lands to ________________, travelling to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and North America.
What goods did they trade? Products that the Vikings exported from Scandinavia included walrus ivory, whalebone, and the furs and skins of ____________________ such as fox, bear, beaver and otter. They also carried amber, a fossilized resin from plants that was cut and polished to make beads, pendants and brooches. All these natural ______________________ were traded for goods in different countries. In Britain, the Vikings wanted to obtain wheat, wool, honey and _________________. They bought salt and wine from France, and glass from Italy. This glass was often recycled and formed into beads for necklaces. By travelling along ______________ rivers, merchants from the east were able to provide the Vikings with luxuries such as silk, silver and spices.
Go to the second page and scroll down to learn about: The ship’s biscuit
- The ship’s biscuit was an important part of the sailor's sea diet before the introduction of ___________________ foods. There are references to Richard I setting out from England in 1190 with his ships suitably stored with ‘biskit of muslin’ (mixed cornmeal made of barley, rye and bean flour).
- Ships at the time of the Spanish __________________ in 1588 had a theoretical daily allowance of 1 lb (0.45 kg) of biscuit, but it was Samuel Pepys who first regularized the provision of the Navy’s food supplies and worked out the first thorough table of rations – which included ‘one pound daily of good, clean, sweet, sound, well-baked and well-conditioned wheaten biscuit (plus a gallon of _______________)
Discovering Voyages Timeline
Go to http://exploration.marinersmuseum.org/voyages/ to learn about the voyages made in our history. Where and when did the very first voyage take place? When did Marco Polo explore? Find out here!
Go to http://exploration.marinersmuseum.org/explore/ to read about navigational tools, ships, explorers and more! In addition, scroll down and click on Marco Polo. Although Polo was a merchant, he is known to be one of the most influential explorers of our time.
- What role did Marco Polo play during this time period? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- How did he make such an impact? ______________________________________
World Explorers Game:
Merchants of the Great Exchange Game:
Whose Lunch is it Anyway?
Additional activities and lessons found under:
Discover European History
Travel to http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore to discover some of history's greatest stories and unlock the secrets of the universe. From the story of time to the gripping voyages of exploration, iconic sea battles and shipwrecks to the injustice of Royal power!
John Cabot (1450- around 1498)
What was John Cabot discovery that helped kick-start transatlantic trade?
How did Marco Polo inspire Cabot? How does his story show greed within countries?
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
Should we celebrate Columbus Day? Why or why not? Include evidence from reading.
Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521)
What is Magellan known for? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How does his story illustrate the obstacles of exploration?
Sir Francis Drake (1542-1596)
What is Drake known for and how did his experiences affect the future of exploration?
In what ways does his story show the challenges and obstacles of exploration?
Sir Walter Raleigh (1544-1618)
What is he known for and how does his “story” show unfair treatment of Royal power?
What role did Raleigh play in the Lost Colony of Roanoke?
Henry Hudson (1565-1611)
What was the Northwest Passage and how was Hudson connected to it?
How does Hudson’s story show the realism of mutiny? What happened to him?
Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)
Samuel Pepys was not an explorer; however, without him exploration would not have advanced to what it is today. How did a tailor's son turn the Navy from a corrupt and inefficient service into a powerful fighting force?
James Cook (1728-1780)
What was Cook known for and how is he an example of perseverance? Why did this bring hope to the poor during this time period?
Complete additional Explorer research at: http://exploration.marinersmuseum.org/