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Kiku Honda

Kiku Honda

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Join date : 2011-02-01
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PostSubject: Jobs Aboard a Ship   Jobs Aboard a Ship I_icon_minitimeTue Jun 26, 2012 5:11 am

These are the jobs aboard the pirate ships, and the terms this AU will use to designate those jobs.

(I cannot copy/paste from the site. Everything here is paraphrased, and a proper citation is located at the bottom. All information belongs to the site. Visit the link at the bottom for more information.)


Pirate Captains were not assigned to a ship (in contrast with those elected by their governments). Rather, they were actually chosen by majority vote by their own crew members, and could also be removed from power in the same way. Captains were expected to be sharp, skilled in making quick and bold decisions. They needed to be skilled in navigation and other jobs aboard the ship, but most importantly they needed to possess an authoritative personality that could hold their crews in check. Captains could be voted out by a majority vote for numerous reasons, such as being too lax in their leadership. Captains could also be abandoned by their crews.

Many images of Pirate Captains reflect their form of dress as being influenced by other sea merchants or captains, which followed the fashion of the English gentlemen. (Not many detailed descriptions of Pirate Captains exist, or those that do often portray Pirate Captains in a less than flattering way.)

The Quartermaster possessed authority that was for the most part equal (and sometimes considered greater) to the Captain. The crew often elected this position after the Captain, and the Quartermaster served as the representative of their interests. He maintained order aboard the ship, handed out eseentials and supplies, and most importantly protected the Seamen from each other. He could punish Seaman for minor offenses, and chose what to take from captured ships. He often served as temporary Captain of a captured ship until it was no longer needed.

The navigator of the ship. The Sailing Master was also in charge of maintaining the maps and instruments aboard the ship, as well as plotting out the sailing course. This job was very difficult, since maps of the day were either inaccurate or nonexistent. Many Sailing Masters were people taken from captured ships.

The Boatswain was in charge of supervising all activities aboard the deck of the ship, such as weighing and dropping anchor and handling the sails. The Boatswain also maintained the ship and its supply stores. Each morning, the Boatswain was in charge of inspecting the rigging and sails and reporting their states to the Captain.

The Carpenter worked under the Mate and Boatswain, and was responsible for the repair and upkeep of all things wood on the ship (e.g. hull, mast, etc.). Obviously, the Carpenter was an essential crew member. Their duties were to check the hull regularly, placing oakum between the planks and wooden plugs to keep the ship leak free. The Carpenter often doubled as the ship's Surgeon, by using the same woodworking tools to perform amputations or operations.

A crucial part of a crew, the Master Gunner was essential so that the crew used their weapons safely and effectively. The Master Gunner was responsible for all guns and ammunition aboard the ship. Their responsibilities included sifting the gunpowder to keep it dry, keep it from separating, insuring the cannons and ordinance were kept rust-free and clean, and that all other weapons were kept in good repair.

On larger vessels, there were often more than one Mate. Thus, the title of First Mate being given to the Mate of the Ship's Master.

All Mates served as apprentices to the other various, important crew members aboard the ship. They were responsible for checking the ship's rigging and ropes to make sure that the ship had sufficient of each for their voyage. The Mate's duties also included hoisting the anchor, checking the tackle once a day during a voyage and reporting anything amiss to the Master, and when arriving at port they were to repair the rigging and other ropes (e.g. anchor, cables, etc.), and managing the sails.

These were the common soldiers aboard the ship. They were required to know the sails and rigging, as well as the steering for the purpose of navigation. They also needed to know how to read the weather, the winds, and above all, the moods of their commanders and fellow crewmen.

Riggers held one of the most dangerous jobs aboard the ship (though no job was truly a 'safe' one). They worked aloft with the running rigging, and were also in charge of furling/releasing the sails.

A servant aboard a pirate ship, usually a young boy. The boys were often runaways or escapees from the mainland, or boys kidnapped by the pirates.

The role was usually filled by a young boy, who ran gunpowder from below deck to those manning the cannons during a battle.

The title given to the person who swabbed the deck. This was not an official rank aboard the ship. The term was also used informally to refer to someone not held in very high regard.


(I did what I could with the information I could find on the page x.x)

Ossian, Robert. "Roles & Duties on Board a Ship." Roles & Duties on Board a Ship. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2012. < >.
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