The five supernumerary hands which British whalers fishing in Arctic waters had, by British regulations, to sign on to qualify for the government bounty on tonnage. A condition of qualification for the bounty was that none of the five had previously been on a voyage to the Arctic. The regulation was in force between approximately 1820 and 1880, a period of fairly intense Arctic exploration, and its purpose was to create a pool of men who had experienced the rigours of an Arctic voyage from which the many expeditions could be manned. See also exploration by sea.
Subjects: Maritime History.