Bosun's whistle: description, photo


It is known that, in the distant past, oars were used as a ship's engine, and the speed and maneuverability of a ship depended on both the number of rowers and their well-coordinated work. For the rowing process to be rhythmic, special sound signals were given. Flutes and gongs were used for this. With the development of the sailing fleet, another device appeared, which entered the history of navigation as a boatswain whistle.


Origin of fixture

In the thirteenth century, the crusaders in order to assemble a team on the deck of a ship, used special pipes. This device is also mentioned in the ode of Shakespeare "Tempest" as a symbol and attribute of higher authority. In Great Britain, the golden pipe was intended for the Lord Admiral as the highest rank. The English admirals used similar silver brass. With the development of the British fleet, the king formulated the requirements for the pipes, according to which the boatswain whistle, made of gold, should weigh one ounce (28.35 g), and the neck chain, on which the device was worn, its weight should not exceed one gold ducat (3.4 g).

The design of the modern product

Today, the devices used in the navy of England, their design is similar to the pipe, removed from the neck of the Scottish pirate Andrew Burton. Before its capture on the English ships used various boatswain whistles.

The product is a flat nickel-plated box. Its end has the form of a hollow ball, in which a slightly bent tube is inserted. It is worn around the neck on special nickel chains.


What is the name of the boatswain whistle today

This question is often concerned with lovers of crossword puzzles. In the history of the British Navy, the trophy became a symbol of victory over the famous Scottish pirate, and the whistles themselves are now officially called pipes of the Burton model.

Bosun's whistle in Russia

For the first time, barton’s pipes began to be used in the Russian navy during the reign of Tsar Peter I. Whistles were intended for junior naval ranks: non-commissioned officers and boatmen. In 1925, the rules for wearing uniforms and clothing were approved for servicemen of the workers 'and peasants' red fleet. According to this document, the noon samples of Burton were introduced into the equipment of the employees of the Russian Navy. Since 1930, they have become integral elements of uniforms ceremonial calculations. Later, the boatswain's whistle received a new name - “signal pipe” - and began to be used by boatswains, foremen, as well as sailors, keeping watch on the upper deck.

In the years of the Soviet Union the boatswain whistles were made at the Moscow Musical Plant of Wind Instruments, as well as at the Kiev Plant No. 37. Each pipe was equipped with the “MZDI” stamp or the number “37”.

Wearing rules

According to the Rules for the RKKF military personnel approved in 1925, boatswain whistles were worn as follows:

  • On coats or overcoats, signal pipes were hung to the right of the second button loop.
  • If the soldier was wearing a shirt (flannel, uniform, or working), then the tune should be clinging to the edge of the collar.
  • When using a gas mask, the chain of the signal pipe had to be positioned so that it overlapped his shoulder strap.


According to Order No. 64, issued in 1948 by the Commander-in-Chief of the USSR Naval Forces, the Signals on the Sea Dudka document was put into effect, which set out how to properly blow the boatswain whistle. From this time on, the tune is considered to be a means of internal communication, designed for sixteen tunes. Each of them is a signal to action. Signal using a pipe is considered a real art. To make the sound correct, the boatswain's whistle should be held in the palm of the right hand, pressing the ball with its bent fingers.


After the whistle you need to blow, turning over with your fingers. Depending on the overlap of the hole in the ball, melodies of various tones are created. They can be both soft and deep, and piercingly sharp.

They study signals of boatswain's horns using graphic images that are very similar to musical notation. But in the case of signal pipes, a five-line mill is used, not a five-line one.


Now the boatswain whistles, as before, are used by junior commanding officers on duty or duty on the upper decks. As testimonials by seafarers testify, today the sound of the boatswain's whistle is heard less and less. Now it is a common accessory, representing one of the essential elements of the duty-watch form.

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