1 To sign on voluntarily for service in the Royal Navy, in the days of impressment. It has been fairly reliably estimated that from about one-third to one-half of the seamen enrolled during these years entered voluntarily, the remainder being supplied by the press gangs and the Quota Acts. These were passed in the British Parliament in March 1795, under the stress of the Revolutionary War against France (1793–1801), to provide seamen for the Royal Navy. The number varied widely from ship to ship, according to the popularity or otherwise of her captain and the nature of the service to which she was ordered. It varied, too, according to current naval successes in battle, a notable victory being frequently followed by a surge in voluntary recruitment.
2 To board an enemy ship. A boarding party, or boarders, enters the enemy, after his deck has been cleared as much as possible with fire or stinkpots. ‘It happens many times that there are more men lost in a minute by entering than in long fight board by board.’ Mainwaring, The Seaman's Dictionary (1644).
3 Entering ladder, the wooden steps fixed up the side of a sailing warship level with the waist. They led to the entry port (or entering port) which was cut down on the middle gun-deck of the old three-decker ships of the line, by which seamen came on board from a boat lying alongside, or through which they boarded an enemy ship.
4 Entering rope, a rope which hung down the ship's side alongside the entering ladder to assist men coming on board.
5 Entering or entered, a term which indicates that the master of a ship which has arrived from a foreign port has sworn the contents of his ship's papers before the customs authorities.