Eight Bells

The practice of using bells stems from the days of the sailing ships. Sailors couldn't afford to have their own time pieces and relied on the ship's bells to tell time. The ship's boy kept time by using a half-hour glass. Each time the sand ran out, he would turn the glass over and ring the appropriate number of bells. Each ship “watch” is four hours, or eight bells, in length.

The tradition of Eight Bells pays respect to deceased mariners and signifies that a sailor's “watch” is over.

Submissions for Eight Bells

If you learn of the passing of a MMA classmate, associate, friend or family member, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations so that we may include the information in our Eight Bells listings. Send obituaries or their digital links to alumni@mma.edu.

  • Douglas E. Birt ’72

    Deceased date: August 7, 2006
    Douglas Edward Birt, 56, died peacefully Aug. 7, 2006, with his loving family at his side, at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y. He was born April 22, 1950, in Bangor, the son of Walter A. and Dorothy (Larlee) Birt. Douglas grew up in Eas…read more