Re: "are the seamen equipped with oars?"
"I still hear morse occasionally [...]"
IIRC the Morse test was finally removed from the UK amateur "A" licence requirements when it was no longer used by the government agencies to warn people off in an HF band.
One of the incidental uses of Morse code - apart from the belated Beethoven's 5th Symphony attribution - was in the theme to the TV detective series about Inspector Morse. Can't help reading the letters when I hear it.