Boatswain, an officer who has special charge of a ship's boats, sails, colours, anchors, rigging, cables, and cordage. It is likewise his business to summon the crew to their duty, and for this purpose he uses a whistle of peculiar form. In the royal navy the boatswain is a warrant officer, ranking immediately above a midshipman, and his pay may vary from £100 7s. 6d. to £150 11s. 3d. a year, and he may obtain, on retirement at the age of 55, or earlier by necessity or special permission, a maximum pension of £150. If, however, he be in the meantime promoted to be chief boatswain, his maximum pension becomes £150, and he may obtain on retirement the honorary rank of lieutenant.