Did you know that pirates had rules and conduct codes that all crew members were expected to follow?  These “handshake deals” governed everything from employment issues to job conduct and payments, and even rules pertain the share of goods seize. Read below  to learn more about pirate rules and codes of conduct:

  1. Every man gets an equal vote and claim to fresh provisions and strong liquors seized during a raid. It’s only fair to share equally!
  2. Any man found guilty of defrauding his fellow crew, was punished by marooning. If the robbery or malice only affected one other crew member, the guilty party had their ears and nose slit as punishment for their crime. They were then kicked off the pirate ship and set ashore alone somewhere to fend for themselves.
  3. When playing cards or dice, no money was to be exchanged or gambled.
  4. Bedtime was set at eight o’clock each night and all lights and candles had to be put out at that time. If any of the crew stayed up drinking, it had to be done up above on the upper deck.
  5. All pistols and cutlasses/knives were kept clean and in good working order.
  6. No women were allowed on board. If any man was found guilty of bringing a woman on board illegally, he was sentenced to death. The woman would then be turned over to an elected sentinel to preserve the lady’s virtue and to prevent quarrels among the crew.
  7. Ship deserters or anyone who left their quarters in battle was punished by death or marooning.
  8. No physical violence between crew members was allowed on board, and any quarrels had to be resolved on land.  If the involved parties could not resolve their argument on board, the quarter-master of the ship would take them to the shore and they would settle their differences with a pistol duel. If they both missed each other during the fight shot, they would turn to a knife fight and the winner was whoever drew blood first.
  9. No talk or discussions about giving up the pirate life were permitted among the pirate crew members until each pirate had earned one thousand pounds each.  If a man became injured or crippled during service, his share was greatly reduced to just eight hundred dollars.
  10. The pirate captain and quartermaster shall earn double the amount of regular pirate crew members. The master, boatswain, and gunner, each earned one share and a half, and other officers were allocated one and quarter of all bounties.
  11. The pirate ship musicians were allowed to rest on Sundays, but had to perform and provide entertainment the other six days and nights.

Now you have learned some of the most common pirates codes of conduct. Interesting to learn that reckless and wild pirates actually practiced such standards of discipline and restraint!