A Mariner’s Best Friends

All incoming midshipmen are issued a flashlight and knife during indoctrination. The requirement of a “moonbeam,” as it is traditionally called, at all times aboard ship predates the memory of anyone we could find on campus.

(Maybe you know? If so, send a note to billy.sims@mma.edu)

Not having one on your person can yield a Class 3 infraction.

“You never know when the lights can go out on a ship,” says current Cadet Master Austin Gamache. “Having a flashlight is essential. There are hazards to be spotted and avoided, especially in an emergency. And it seems a lot of things you need to access for repair or inspection are hidden in some dark nook or cranny.” The current moonbeam issued is a Night Stick, 120-lumen LED dual flashlight / floodlight.

The knife is a more recent, but also sensible, sea-going requirement. The Gerber Swagger is a one-handed opening, partially serrated 3 1/4” edge, tactical knife that has a 1,001 uses, some of which can be life-saving.

Both items are available for purchase from the MMA Bookstore.

As old as the moon, as sharp as can be, that is how traditions come to be for mariners.

Photo: Billy Sims

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