Lookouts on board U.S. Navy ships are trained to report objects they see (as well as sounds heard) in a prescribed format to ensure consistency and precision (see “Bluejacket’s Manual: On the Lookout,” August, p. 6). The format for these reports is described in instructions to lookouts:
1. WHAT YOU SEE: Describe the contact quickly and briefly. Name the type or class of ship or aircraft if you recognize it; otherwise, simply report “ship,” “plane,” and so forth. If all you see is an object but cannot make out any details, report it simply as a “contact.”
2. BEARING: Always report contacts in relative bearings. These are always given as three digits, spoken digit by digit.
3. RANGE: Estimate the contact’s distance from your ship and report that in yards/miles. This is spoken digit by digit, except that multiples of hundreds and thousands are spoken as such.
4. TARGET ANGLE: Report target angle on all ships, given in three digits, spoken digit by digit.
5. POSITION ANGLE: Report position angle on all aircraft, given in one or two digits, spoken as a whole, not digit by digit.