First published in 1902
, the Bluejacket
's Manual is designed to be a United States Navy
primer that will 'help the new recruit make the transition from civilian
and serve as a handy reference...'
Essentially, this book (published by the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis, Maryland) introduces a civilian to all the wonderful nautical terms and customs that are expected to be used and followed in the Navy. Things such as how on a ship, the 'floor' is actually the 'deck' are through this book. It teaches flag etiquette, first aid procedures, how to tell different naval vessels apart, how to use military time, as well as how and when to salute.
The book starts off by describing what happens to you when you enlist in the Navy. What training you receive and where, what kind of haircut you can expect, the various items Uncle Sam will issue you, boot camp routine, etc.
From there, it kicks into things such as the difference between enlisted ranks, petty officers, chief petty officers, and the rank insignia. After some ceremonial stuff, there's a lengthy section on vessels at sea. The different types, missions, and equipment. Firefighting, abandoning ship, and ship maintainence is covered afterwards.
There is another semi-long section on the history of the Navy, from the Revolutionary War to pretty close to the present. There's an index, as well as a huge assortment of helpful appendixes. Things like Morse code, the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, Navy Penants, the Beaufort Scale of wind and sea conditions, awards and decorations (the colored bunch on a person's uniform), as well as the Navy's Service Song.
As of 1998, the Bluejacket's Manual is on it's 22nd printing. It is currently written by Thomas J. Cutler, (though the first edition was written by a Lt. Ridley McLean, who saw that new Navy recruits didn't have a centralized source of information on their new job.)