The division of a ship into areas as an administrative convenience in bringing a greater flexibility in the division of the crew for daily work purposes. In large ships, particularly large warships, the crew, in addition to their division into watches, are further divided into parts of the ship, the normal number of divisions in the largest ships being four. In the British Navy, following the old navy pattern, these are the forecastle, fore-top, maintop, and quarterdeck divisions. In smaller warships three parts of the ship (forecastle, topmen, quarterdeck) or two parts (forecastle, quarterdeck) are used. This method makes it simpler to detail men for the day-to-day work of the ship, as they can then be divided into large working parties by watches or small working parties by parts of the ship.
Subjects: Maritime History.