The captain scolds the sailor: -“What are you doing down there, sailor? Get up off the floor of the ship this minute! You’re in everyone’s way” -“Well he said ‘Aye! To the deck!’ and I thought he wanted me toput my eye against the floor!”
The sailor didn’t understand his shipmate very well! Sailor number one (the one who’s quoted) was trying to say, “Yes, everyone to the deck of the ship!” Meaning all sailors should get on deck to help in an emergency. But sailor number two (the one lying on the floor) thought he heard “eye” not “aye” (meaning “yes”) and that sailor number one was telling him to put his eye against the floor of the ship. What a silly sailor!