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Washing up on the Gorch Fock (1968)
Backstock in the seaman's school Travemünde-Priwall (1955)

The back shaft is originally the dining community of the crew sitting at a table ( back ) on board a naval or merchant ship .

Most of the time, each crew member of the backshaft is assigned alternately as a backshaft . It is the job of the baker to uncover the bakery (the table) and to cover it again after the meals have been finished. His tasks also include tidying up and cleaning (clearing up) the back. In the old days of large sailing ships or still today on some ships on which paying guests sail as crew members, the tasks also include preparing food (including turning potatoes, i.e. peeling potatoes) and clearing up (tidying up and cleaning) the galley . That is why the group of bakeries or their service ("kitchen service") is sometimes referred to as bakeries .

In contrast to the navy, it used to be common in merchant shipping that the bakery service usually had to be carried out by the cabin boy . If this failed due to illness, accident or the like, a senior junior had to take over his work. In practice, the bakery service took place in three rooms, as described above, namely in the galley, if available in a pantry and in the crew mess . The boy had to fetch the food from the galley, to serve the crew in the mess room and to wash and tidy the dishes and cutlery in the pantry.

Fair stewards, fair boys and the chief steward were responsible for the officers' mess and the salon with the captain, chief engineer and possibly passengers. The latter was responsible for the operating staff, who also had to take care of the stock in the aforementioned areas. On smaller ships, i.e. Kümos , the cabin boy was often the kitchen boy at the same time, which means that he also had to help the cook in the galley and in exceptional cases also had to take over the cooking for the crew.