Note: this is a New page to our website and we are looking for contributions.  If you have a favorite maritime/sea quote, or interesting fact, or nautical myth or tradition you think would make an interesting addition to this page, please send it to me! 
"Those who would go to sea for pleasure, would go to hell for pastime."  18th century Aphorism 
"Being in a ship is being in jail, with the chance of being drowned."  Samuel Johnson 
" Do not fear death so much but rather the inadequate life."  Bertolt Brecht 
The Royal Navy introduced the daily ration of a portion of neat rum to British sailors as early as 1655.  The choice for rum was made on the West Indies station as an alternative for beer, since beer did not keep well in the hot Caribbean climate.   
In the 17th century, life on board ships of war was unbelievably hard.  Sanitary conditions, lack of space, quality of food, discipline and punishment, altogether made life very hard on "Jack Tar" the British sailor.  To make life more bearable, every day one measure of rum was issued to all men except officers.  In the early days, the measure consisted of 1/2 pint of 200 proof rum a day, divided into two issues, one before noon and one in the afternoon.  Later the measure was reduced to 1/2 Gill, equivalent to 1/8th of a pint.  The American Navy followed the British example and also issued 1/2 pint to all sailors. Serious breaches of discipline were handled by curtailing the daily rum ration or flogging with the cat-of-nine-tails.   
Captain Cook's sailing vessel, The Endeavour, sailed with a staggering quantity of booze: 1,200 gallons of beer, 1,600 gallons of spirits (brandy, rum), and 3,032 gallons of wine.  The customary ration for a sailor was a gallon of beer a day OR a pint of spirits, diluted with water to make a twice-daily dose of "grog." This ration was doubled on holidays. Sailors also mixed beer with the spirits to create a fall-on-your-butt drink known as "flip."  Captain Cook's journal notes on individual crewmen include frequent remarks as to his crew being "more or less drunk every day."   
NOTE: The grog "ration" was also prolific aboard ships in the British Royal Navy and was finally abolished in 1970. 
The United States, not to be outdone by the British have this true story: 
During the USS Constitution's famous cruise during the War of 1813, she set sail in August with a complement of 475 officers and men and the following supplies: 
* 48,000 gallons of fresh water 
* 7,400 cannon shots 
*11,000 lbs. of black powder and-- 
*79,400 gallons of rum 
Upon arriving in Jamaica on October 6th, she took on additionally: 
* 826 pounds of flour and-- 
* 69,300 gallons of rum 
Then she headed for the Azores where she took on: 
* 550 tons of beef and-- 
* 64,000 gallons of Portuguese wines 
On November 13th she set sail for England.  In the ensuing days, she defeated 5 British men-of-war and sank 12 British merchant ships, salvaging only their rum. 
By January 27th, her powder and shot were exhausted.  Nonetheless, she made a raid on the Firth of Clyde.  Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and brought about 40,000 gallons of whiskey back to the ship. 
Then she headed home. 
She made port in Boston on February 23rd with no cannon shot, no powder, no food, no rum, no whiskey, and no wine -- but with 48,000 gallons of stagnant water! 
Rum Expressions:  
Splice the Main Brace:  For special occasions or for a job well done, the squadron leader would hoist the signal of Alpha-Delta-28, meaning Splice the Main Brace.  This indicated the issuing of a double measure of rum for that day, in celebration.  It can today also mean an invitation aboard for free drinks 
Grog:  Admiral Vernon, famous for his surprise attack and occupation of the Spanish island of Porto Bello, was the first to suggest that the rum ration should be diluted with water.  Vernon was called "Old Grog," by the men in His Majesty's Service because of the unusual material (grogham of which his long naval coat was made.  Thus from 21 August 1740, onward, through an order signed on his ship "Buford," waterd down rum became known as "Grog" after the admiral who instituted it.  Grog is currently defined as 2 parts water to 1 part rum. 
Origin of Brits being called "Limeys":  In 1984, the British merchant fleet adopted a measure whereby lime juice was given to all hands after 10 days at sea to combat scurvy.  Soon this measure became known as the Limejuice Act, and the British Tars (sailors) became known as "Limejuicers."  Eventually this was shortened by the Americans as a nickname for the English as "Limeys." 
Here's some statistics based on over 300 shark attacks: 
What people are doing when attacked: 
 Swimming on the surface                57% 
 Wading in shallow water                 20.8% 
 Swimming near fishing equipment   10.3% 
 Floating or near a float                     6.4% 
 Spearfishing or diving                      5.3% 
Where attacks occur: 
 Within 100 feet of shore                  38.2% 
 100-200 feet of shore                      16.6% 
 200-300 feet of shore                        7.4% 
 300 feet to 1/4 mile                            8.3% 
 1/4 mile to 2 miles                            10.6% 
 Open Sea                                         18.9% 
What time of day the attacks occur: 
 Midnight to 6AM                               3.1% 
 6AM to noon                                   22.0% 
 Noon to 6PM                                   66.7% 
 6PM to midnight                                8.2% 
So in summary, the majority of attacks occur between noon and 6PM within 300 feet of shore, to swimmers near the surface of the water! 
I have seen several similar "versions" of this story, but each time it hits me and I enjoy reading it and listening to it's lesson on  
 An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village, when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. 
 The Mexican replied, "Only a little while." 
 The American then asked, why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish. 
 The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. 
 The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" 
 The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends.  I have a full and busy life, señor." 
 The American scoffed. "I have a Harvard MBA and could help you.  You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat.  With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.  Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening our own cannery.  You would  control the product, processing, and distribution.  You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually New York-- where you will run your expanding enterprise." 
 The Mexican fisherman asked, "But señor, how long will this all take?" 
 To which the American replied, "Fifteen to 20 years." 
 "But what then, señor?" 
 The American laughed and said, "That's the best part.  When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich.  You would make millions." 
 "Millions, señor? Then what?" 
 The American said, "Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandkids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings, where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends." 
TRADITION OF "CROSSING THE EQUATOR, Rights of Passage from Pollywog to Shellback:" 
[Click Here to go to Article written by Michele Scott and printed in 7 Seas Cruising Magazine] 
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