JOURNAL, at sea, is a register, kept by the pilot and others, wherein notice is taken of every thing that happens to the ship from day to day, with regard to the winds, the rhumbs, the rake, soundings, &c. and in order to enable him to adjust the reckoning, and determine the place where the ship is.
In sea journals, the day, or twenty-four hours, terminate at noon, because the er rors of the dead reckoning are at that pe riod generally corrected by a solar obser vation. The first twelve hours, from noon to midnight, are marked with P. M. signi fying after midday ; and the second twelve hours, from midnight to noon, are marked with A. M. signifying after mid night ; so that the ship account is twelve hours earlier than the short account of time. There are various ways of keep ing journals, accordingto the different no tions of mariners concerning the articles that are to be entered. Some keep such a kind of journal as is only an abstract of each day's transactions, specifying the weather, what ships or lands were seen, accidents on board, t he latitude,longitude, the meridional distance, course, and run.
These particulars are to be drawn from the ship's log-book, or from that kept by the pilot himself. Others keep only one account, including the log-book, and all the work of each day, with the deduc tions drawn from it. Notwithstanding the form of keeping journals is very differ ent in merchant ships, yet one method appears to be invariably pursued in the navy, which, however, admits of much improvement, for no form can be properly called perfect, that leaves as great a space for one day's work, which may not be in teresting, and can thefefore be told in a few lines, as for another, which may pro •bably abound with important incidents, and consequently require much room. According to circumstances, the matter must be greater or less, and the appropri ated space should admit of all.