Pirates: Real Life Tidbits

Did you know that the real life of pirate during the Golden Age of Piracy was less glamorous than you may have been led to believe? While many people have been taught a romanticized notion of pirates, the reality of the daily life of a real pirate was difficult and uncomfortable. Continue reading below to learn real life tidbits about pirates.

Poor Diet And Lack of Nutrition

Poor diet and a general lack of nutrition was one of the biggest hurdles that pirates had to face in their daily lives. While the ship would be stocked with fresh foods and foods at the beginning of their journey, initial reserves of fresh produce would only last for a couple of weeks before being consumed or spoiled. Once the fresh produce and meats were used up, a typical pirate’s diet would mainly consist of dried foods. Limited food options aboard a pirate ship were only restocked if they were able to dock in a port which was often a difficult task if they were trying to avoid being seen.

Bad Hygiene Practices

Bad hygiene was another real life aspect of a pirate’s daily life. With limited living space and lots of people living in a small space, bad hygiene was prevalent on most pirate ships. Not only did pirate crew members have to live and sleep with individuals who were sick, the bathroom situation was also responsible for creating a dirty and smelly environment.  With so many unbathed bodies in one place, you can only imagine what that would be like. Since fresh, clean water was such a valuable resource which was primarily only used for drinking water, they did not have access to regular baths. Also, the salty sea water could aggravate pirate’s skin and contributed to skin irritations or infections. Did you know that some pirates were affected by seasickness? While the majority of pirates were accustomed to the constant movement of a ship, some pirates would become nauseous and have to get sick by leaning over the edge of the ship.

Injury And Infections

Injury and infections were other common problems aboard a pirate ship. Onboard danger among the crew posed a risk to pirate health, in addition to the risk of death if they were kidnapped by another ship. Fighting among crew members which resulted in broken limbs, wounds or even bacterial infections from an unattended injury that became inflamed. A poor die and bad personal hygiene on board made common, preventable diseases a regular issue for pirates.

Voting And Captain’s Authority

Did you know that pirates were proud advocates that supported democracy? While the pirate captain had the power to make final decisions, most decisions were made by a democratic and equal vote among crew members. Important daily decisions were all decided by a vote. However, if the crew was divided and they were unable to come to an agreement on an issue,  the captain would use his executive power to settle the disagreement.

Did you enjoy this article with real life tidbits about pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy. We hope you did!