After the day's work, when supper had been eaten and mess-kits put away, came the sailor's leisure time. Pipes were lit, a fiddle or accordion was brought about, and singing, dancing, and yarn-spinning commenced. These are generally sentimental ballads or stories of famous men, battles, romance, humor, or longing for home. Popular tunes filtered in from the shore as well.
The forecastle serves as the crews quarters. In British merchant service parlance, these songs were known as "fore-bitters."