Martha's Vineyard Museum
The man in charge of the whaleboat as it goes in pursuit of the whale. He steers the whaleboat during the chase and changes places with the harpooner in the bow of the boat to kill the whale with a lance. The boatheader was usually one of the mates. Sometimes, however, he was an experienced whaleman with no ship duties besides keeping watch for whales in the masthead and cutting blubber from the whale on the cutting stage.