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The word Fothering is used for covering a leak in a ship with a sail containing rope fibres, to prevent it from sinking after being damaged. This was the technique used to help to refloat HMS Endeavour after she went aground on the Great Barrier Reef on 11 June 1770.

The prospects if the ship sank were grim. The vessel was 24 miles (39 km) from shore and the three ship's boats could not carry the entire crew. Despite this, the journal of Joseph Banks noted the calm efficiency of the crew in the face of danger, contrary to stories he had heard of seamen panicking or refusing command in such circumstances.

Midshipman Jonathon Monkhouse proposed fothering the ship, as he had previously been on a merchant ship which used the technique successfully.He was entrusted with supervising the task, sewing bits of oakum and wool into an old sail, which was then drawn under the ship to allow water pressure to force it into the hole in the hull. The effort succeeded and soon very little water was entering, allowing two of the three pumps to be stopped.

Endeavour then resumed her course northward and parallel to the reef, the crew looking for a safe harbour in which to make repairs.