Terms & Glossaries of Shipping and Trading
Binnacle list is a ship's sick list - the list of men unable to report for duty traditionally given to the officer or mate of the watch by the ship's surgeon.
Binnacle list, in lieu of sick list, originated years ago when ships' corpsmen used to place a list of the sick on the binnacle each morning to inform the captain about the crew's health. The list was kept at the binnacle.
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