By design, the Shipsbells and Shipsclocks apps do not have to be visible to chime. Once set, these apps use the IOS notifications to play the correct 8 bell sequence every half hour.
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When a ship is underway at sea, it is necessary to have personnel man the critical positions, such as the bridge, engine room, look out etc. 24 hours per day. The ship's crew is divided into "watches" which rotate being on duty usually four hours long.
Before the development of clocks, an hourglass, which ran for 30 minutes was used to measure the time. As the glass was turned over, a bell was rung. A traditional pattern of "bells" was developed so one could easily tell the time by the sound of the Ship's Bell.