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All hands on deck

Posted by Henry on May 08, 2003

In Reply to: All hands on deck posted by masakim on May 08, 2003

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: : : : What does "all hands on deck" mean?

: : : : Thanks!

: : : It's a command for everybody who can come and work to do so.

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: : It is also used in case of an emergency or any other time the captain needs all crewpersons "front and center", where they can be counted and given commands.

: all hands on deck! everybody help -- obviously of naval origin -- but now applicable in any emergency, domestic or otherwise. Nineteenth century?
: From _Dictionary of Catchphrases_ by Nigel Rees
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: Being a tradesman, "Chips [= a carpenter]" did not have to keep watch, but did his work by day and could sleep all night, unless he was turned out by the cry of "All hands on deck" to help with handling sail in emergency. (J.G. Bisset, _Sail Ho!_, 1958)

The hands are deck-hands - sailors - who must all go up on deck to help in an emergency.

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