Pirate Crew

Pirate Spyglass

Pirate Crew

Every pirate ship was different, me hearty. But they all needed a crew, and each crew was a different size and made up of different people, but, begad, the ships were nearly always over-crowded and carrying the people below.

A pirate ship’s captain was usually picked and voted in by the crew. It’s also how most of them got replaced - the crew simply decided they didn’t want them to be captain any more and picked somebody else for the job. 

Sailors who were authoritative and daring always stood a better chance of getting picked.

Not that being in charge came with many rights - during a fight they could boss the crew around, they could also hit, stab or shoot anyone who disobeyed them. Plus they also got more of the treasure they stole from any of the ships they captured, but that was about it. 

When their ship wasn’t fighting or chasing another boat, the crew could take the captain’s drink and food, or swear at him, and not be in lots of trouble for it.  

The quartermaster was second-in-command on a pirate ship, and was picked by the crew (just like the captain). 

He ran the ship when they weren’t in action, made sure the captain treated the crew well, and divided up the food, treasure and sorted out fights. He also, like the captain, received a larger percentage of any treasure captured, plus on the occasion that another boat was captured he would often receive it so that he could go off and be a captain of his own ship. 
A gunner was in charge of the crew who manned the cannons and was usually an excellent shot when it came to firing a cannon at an attacking ship. 

It was also up to him to train them in small groups (of 4 - 6 men) everything that needed to be done, including the cleaning, loading and firing the ship’s cannons. 

The boatswain (usually called the bo’sun) was in charge of making sure the ship's rigging, sails, cables and anchors all worked well. He was also in charge of the ship’s stores, and listening to what the captain wanted done and telling the crew to do it.

Also referred to as the ship’s surgeon, sawbones were very important on pirate ships because somebody was always getting hurt or sick. 

Although a sawbones was usually picked because he had sharp tools rather than because he had great medical knowledge.

Every pirate ship needed a carpenter to fix the damage done to the ship during the fights and to plug any leaks that appeared. He would also careen the ship (so that it stayed fast) and strip down the ships they captured so they too could be used as pirate ships. 

Interesting fact... any sawdust the carpenter created whilst fixing the ship was stored and then sprinkled on the gun deck during fights. 

Why? So the pirates didn’t slip over on their own blood.

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