Life on board


The majority of life for adventurers was passed at sea, aboard ship. Therefore, the distribution and organisation of tasks was important. The crew of a privateer or pirate ship was composed of:

Captain: democratically elected by the crew. He would be responsible for giving the orders and the distribution of the booty, of which he had preference. The most successful captains were those who possessed leadership ability and were feared adversaries.

Second on board or "quatermaster", the person in charge of the distribution of the rations, maintenance of discipline and the safeguard of the booty.

Boatswain: with experience in navigation, a ship's officer in charge of equipment, cleanliness and the crew.

The gunner: they had to possess an accurate aim to be able to control not only a cannon, but a whole battery. Therefore, the gunner was responsible for the care of the guns, the ammunition and the surveillance of the armoury.

Surgeon: Only a few ships carried surgeons, sometimes they were captured only for their services. They were responsible for extracting bullets, amputating limbs, treating musket wounds.

Cook and hammer: he took care of the kitchen and the smoked food. He generally supplied a diet that alternated between smoked pollack and fresh fish.

Work for the remaining shipmates was constant: tensing the halyards, tightening the stays, fixing the damaged tarpaulins, replenishing the water on board and reinforcing the winches.