Splash Target Coxswain
Naval term. A 'splash target' is used whilst doing joint gunnery firings with other ships. The splash target is towed behind the non-firing ship at some distance to provide a target for the firing ship to aim at.
The splash target coxswain is a vitally important job by tradition usually given to a new or junior member of the ship's company. It's a generally a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the STC will be recognised throughout the ship thereafter. There is also extra coxswain pay for the day and it is one of the last jobs that attracts an "after action" tot.
Since on the job training is difficult and dangerous the RN have derived a simple and effective ship-board training programme. Prospective coxswains are trained and tested on the target whist mounted on the flight deck. From the manual:
"Once the targwet has been securely fixed on the flight deck the operator should be postioned at the conning position. By careful use of fire hoses realistic operating conditions can be simulated. Use a single 3 inch hose for calm weather, a single 5 inch hose for sea states 2-4 and two 5 inch hoses for sea states 5-6."
"Shell spashes can be simulated by application of extra water spashes at the coxswain at suitable intervals. For calibres 20mm - 40mm use of the Bucket, Cleaning is recommended. For 4.5 inch shells the Suace Pan, Large should be used. Where there is more than one volunteer it may be necessary to video the training to allow selection of the best candidate."
Finally, if you are asked by your Chief or messmates to be splash target coxswain go for it. It's an experience not to be missed.