I goes without saying that the best job on a pirate ship is the captain (unless of course you are a particularly bad pirate captain and get yourself marooned on a desert island with a pistol and a bottle of rum for company). However, there were lots of jobs on a pirate ship that needed to be attended to in order for the safe and successful voyages that would lead to their great treasures and battles.
Best Jobs on a Pirate Ship
The privileges of a pirate captain make it the best job by far on the pirate ship, although not without its risks. Incompetence was punished severely on pirate ships, which were democratic in nature. A captain who did not lead his pirates successfully could find himself mutinied, marooned or demoted by his fellow pirate crew. The other thing to consider about pirate captains is that they were subject to democratic orders and only had absolute authority during battle.
The second best job on a pirate ship was the quartermaster. He would deal with punishments and discipline, including punishing the captain if he stepped out of line. The quartermaster represented the other pirates, taking their issues to the attention of the captain. He would also be the one to take control of any vessels won in battle, becoming his own captain.
The boatswain was one of the most important jobs on a pirate ship and was in charge, like a general manager. The privileges of his position were that he was also in charge of the supplies, so he would be well fed and respected by others.
The sailing master has an important role, but whether or not it was one of the best jobs on a pirate ship is open to debate. Most sailing masters were hostages from naval or merchant ships, rather than pirates by nature. There were very few pirates who were skilled and trained to read maps and chart the course of the ship, so often this position was forced upon some legitimate sailor
Worst Jobs on a Pirate Ship
You would think that the carpenter’s job on a pirate ship was pretty good: creative, hands on, skilled and relatively safe. However, in most cases it would be the carpenter who had the harsh task of surgeon on a pirate ship when it came to amputations. His skills with a saw would come in handy after battles.
Cabin boys were treated like servants on pirate ships and naval ships alike and was one of the worst jobs on a pirate ship. Cabin boys usually found themselves as stowaways looking for adventure or kidnapped as servants. Tending to the needs of the pirates and officers was a 24 hour job.
This was a dangerous and tiring job during battle. The powder monkeys would run from below deck taking gunpowder to the cannon crews during times of battle.
Mopping the decks was a daily chore and could be particularly dangerous during treacherous weather. Swabs were the lowest rank on a pirate ship and a job that most wished to avoid.