"Manning the Rails" - This custom evolved from the centuries-old practice of "manning the yards." Long ago, men aboard sailing ships stood evenly spaced on all the yards and gave three cheers to honor a distinguished person. - Now, men and women are stationed along the rails of a ship when honors are rendered to dignatries. Men and women so stationed do not salute. Navy ships will often man the rails when entering a port, or when returning to the ship's homeport at the end of a deployment.