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Unveiling the Enchanting Diversity: Exploring the Multitude of Sideboys Across the Globe

When it comes to travel, there are many fascinating aspects to explore and discover. One fascinating topic that often comes up is the role of sideboys. Also known as side men or sideboys, sideboys play an important role in maritime traditions and ceremonies. In this article, we will delve into the world of sideboys and how many sideboys are typically involved in various voyage-related events.

1. The role of sideboys in voyages

Sideboys are an integral part of naval and maritime traditions. Their primary function is to honor dignitaries or senior officers as they embark or disembark a ship. This ceremonial duty is performed by forming a line of sideboys on either side of the gangway or accommodation ladder, creating a path for the dignitary to pass through. Sideboys are usually enlisted sailors or junior officers.

In addition to their ceremonial role, sideboys also serve practical purposes while underway. They assist in mooring and unmooring the ship, handling lines, and ensuring the safe embarkation and disembarkation of personnel. Their presence adds a touch of elegance and formality to maritime events, enhancing the overall travel experience.

2. Sideboys at Naval Ceremonies

Naval ceremonies are steeped in tradition and symbolism, and sideboys play a crucial role in upholding these customs. One such ceremony in which sideboys play a prominent role is the “Colors” ceremony, which takes place at sunrise and sunset. During this ceremony, the national flag is raised or lowered, accompanied by the playing of the national anthem. Sideboys line the deck and perform honors as the flag is raised or lowered, showing respect and patriotism.

Another notable naval event involving sideboys is the change of command ceremony. When a new commanding officer takes command of a ship, the outgoing commanding officer is piped ashore by sideboys in a symbolic gesture of farewell. The new commanding officer is then piped aboard, greeted by the mates, and assumes command in the midst of traditional rituals.

3. Sideboys on cruise ships

While sideboys are more commonly associated with naval vessels, they can also be found in the realm of cruise ship travel. Cruise lines often incorporate maritime traditions to add an air of elegance and authenticity to the passenger experience. As such, sideboys may be present during certain embarkation and disembarkation ceremonies, especially for special occasions or VIP guests.
During these cruise ship events, Sideboys are dressed in their traditional uniforms and stand in formation on either side of the gangway. Their presence creates a sense of occasion and provides a warm welcome to passengers as they board or disembark the ship. The number of Sideboys involved in cruise ship ceremonies can vary depending on the size of the ship and the significance of the event.

4. Sideboys for Official Visits and State Events

When it comes to official visits and state events, sideboys play a critical role in protocol and etiquette. When high-ranking officials or foreign dignitaries visit a naval base or ship, they are traditionally received with full honors. This includes the presence of sideboys who form an honor guard to greet and escort the VIPs during their visit.

The number of sideboys involved in such events may vary depending on the rank or status of the visiting dignitary. For heads of state or members of royal families, a larger contingent of sideboys may be present. The impeccable uniformity and precision with which the Sideboys perform their ceremonial duties reflects the professionalism and discipline of the Naval Forces.

5. Conclusion

Sideboys play an important role in a variety of travel-related events, especially naval traditions and ceremonies. Whether it’s welcoming dignitaries, participating in naval rituals, enhancing the cruise ship experience or adding grandeur to official visits, sideboys contribute to the rich tapestry of maritime heritage.

While the exact number of sideboys involved in different events may vary, their presence always symbolizes respect, honor and tradition. The next time you witness a travel-related event involving sideboys, take a moment to appreciate the centuries-old customs and the role these dedicated individuals play in preserving maritime traditions.


How many Sideboys are there?

There are generally two Sideboys in a traditional naval ceremony.

What is the role of Sideboys?

Sideboys are naval personnel who are responsible for rendering honors and performing ceremonial duties during official events, such as the arrival or departure of high-ranking officers or dignitaries.

What is the origin of the term “Sideboys”?

The term “Sideboys” originated from the practice of stationing sailors on the sides of a ship to perform ceremonial duties and render honors when important personnel come aboard or leave the vessel.

Do Sideboys have any specific uniform or attire?

Yes, Sideboys usually wear their dress uniforms or other designated ceremonial attire during official events to present a professional and uniform appearance.

Are Sideboys only found in naval ceremonies?

While Sideboys are most commonly associated with naval ceremonies, similar roles and duties may be performed by military personnel in other branches, such as the Army, Air Force, or Coast Guard, depending on the specific traditions and protocols of each service.