Henrik Østervold was the owner of the Neptune shipping company in Bergen. He had a maritime education before he went to sea for about 10 years as a steersman and captain, and for some years lived in England and Germany. Since 1913 Østervold was active as a ship-owner and later as a department manager for shipping companies. In 1932, he moved to the small island of Smedholmen near the small town of Fitjar. He was also the owner and helmsman of the boat Atlanta. Three of his brothers were also members of the crew.