Sailors were brought on deck for the punishment (known as a flogging) which was carried out in front of the whole crew.
A sailor could expect 12 lashes for drunkenness or hitting an officer, 200 lashes for desertion, 300 for mutiny and up to 500 for theft.
In this image, a sailor is administering the punishment to an unfortunate victim, who has been stripped to the waist and tied to a ladder. Four other sailors are lined up ready to continue the punishment, while the rest of the crew look on.
After a flogging was over, the cut marks on the sailor's back were often rinsed with seawater, which was thought to act as an antiseptic. It caused much additional pain and gave rise to the expression ‘rubbing salt into his wounds.’