Rendering Honors

[from the vaults, 2007]

April 13


Today’s photo is of another cutter rendering honors to Munro. This is a long-standing, time-honored maritime tradition between warships. The XO explained the process to me.

First the officer of the deck tells all stations to man the rail on the passing side. We were passing port side to port side.

As the ships approach, two whistles sound to bring the crew to attention.

When the bows cross, one whistle is given by the junior ship (the junior ship is under the command of the junior Captain) for hand salute. The senior ship responds in kind.

When the bridge wings pass, the senior ship gives two whistles indicating “ready to” (to drop the salute). The junior ship follows in kind.

When the sterns pass, three whistles are given by each ship indicating “carry on.”

This is a charming custom. It’s beautiful and full of grace, and it’s one of the few times the whole ship is quiet for long moments, which draws and holds your attention. I couldn’t help but think of Douglas Munro, that Coastie for whom the ship is named. Everytime Munro is rendered honors, so is he.


Courtesy of LTJG John Holderman, who found and forwarded me this list. I’m betting all Coasties and Coastie relatives and friends are familiar with it, but for those who aren’t, it’s a riot. It’s a long list, so I’ve edited it down.


How to simulate being a Coastie underway

Buy a steel dumpster, paint it white inside and out, and live in it for six months.

Repaint your entire house every month.

Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.

When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn water heater temperature up to 300 degrees.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn water heater off.

On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family they use too much water during the week, so no bathing will be allowed.

Leave your lawn mower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.

Once a month, disassemble all your major appliances and electric garden tools, inspect them and then reassemble them.

Do this every week with your lawnmower.

Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors, so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them.

Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 4 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say “Sorry, wrong rack.”

Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house -dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc.

Have your neighbor come over each day at 5 am, blow a whistle so loud Helen Keller could hear it, and shout “Reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up.”

Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you.

Have your family vote on which movie to watch, and then show a different one.

When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting that your home is under attack and order them to set GQ1.

Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When they finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.

Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly.
Spread icing real thick to level it off.

Every week or so, throw your cat or dog in the pool and shout, “Man overboard port side!” Rate your family members on how fast they respond.

Invite at least 100 people you don’t really like to come and live with you for about 6 months.

Have the paperboy give you a haircut with sheep shears.

Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you are going to take them to Disney World for “liberty.” At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for an inspection, and it will be another week before they can leave the house.

And this is the book that came from that ridealong.

Prepared for Rage

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Dana View All →

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7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. 4/13/07
    Traditions are so important to a family wether it is a tradional family unit or a Coastie family. Thank you for sharing with us the “rendering of honors”. Please continue to keep the Coastie’s families & friends informed with your experiences on the Munru.
    Susan Cortese & family

  2. Just when I think I can’t possibly read anything funnier than “When Welin-Lambie Davit’s Attack”, I read “How to simulate a Coastie Underway”.

    Somebody get a picture of Dana and her new “look”. We Danamaniacs will pay dearly for it!


  3. Dana,
    I’m so glad you are staying on board for a while longer. Love the information you put out there for us to read, I am sitting here at four am. laughing so hard at being a coastie. Picturing my daughter on board being one, gives me greater appreciation for what she is going threw. Gives her father even more amunition for the relentless teasing he administers to her. Much Thanks hope your healing well. I’m enjoying my third novel of yours at the moment. Again Thanks.

  4. Sandy, as I have said many, many times before, you are an evil woman. Nobody listen to her. Hear me?

    Susan, I admit to a lump in my throat during rendering honors. You’re right, we moan and groan over tradition a lot, but it’s what connects us to our past and makes it real. I love the thought that Roaring Mike Healy might have rendered honors to another Revenue cutter in the Bering Sea long ago, and we’re still doing it today.

    Delighted you enjoyed the list, Jennifer. It’s so true. The XO said probably no one would get it, but I begged to differ, and for once I’m right and he’s wrong. (He and the Captain are both very annoying in that way.)

  5. Dana you should see if one of the people on the boat can dig up the list of You know you’re a coastie when… My husband emailed it to me a year ago and I about fell over laughing – There’s one about your wife informing you she’s NOT under your command. Thanks.

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