What Was Life Like on a Pirate Ship

You may think the movies depict a pirate life that is very similar to real-life if you love pirate movies. Movies tend to portray better scenes and pictures. Jack Sparrow’s life in Pirates of the Caribbean does not reflect the reality of what it would be like aboard a real pirate ship. Let’s find out the truth about pirate life!

Research has shown that pirates were present on nearly every continent. They were once young sailors who discovered that stealing was a better way to earn than working. Some were often captured in a battle or raid and forced to become pirates; fighting back was difficult, and joining the pirate crew was the better option.

Others became pirates because they joined their friends who were already familiar with the area. Women who wedded pirates or masked themselves as men may live the pirate lifestyle.

 Where Did Pirates Originate? 

The definition of pirates is simply thieves and violent criminals who sail the open seas. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time and location where pirates and piracy began. But, you can bet that criminals have used the open seas as a means of transport for as long as humans have been able to sail.

Many believed that the first documented pirates came from the Mediterranean in the 14th century B.C. Historians suspected that the pirates that came from the Mediterranean region were part of the “Sea Peoples,” a group that included pirates from Ancient Greece and are thought to have originated from the Aegean Sea.

There have been many stories of pirates on every continent. The Vikings are a famous European example of pirates. There were also pirates from China and the Middle East. Barbary corsairs were pirates who originated from North Africa’s various ports. During the “Golden Age of Piracy,” North American Pirates raided the Caribbean to steal treasures and other spoils.

Perhaps you are wondering how one became a pirate. Many pirates began their careers as young sailors, who soon discovered that stealing was the best and most efficient way to earn a living. Both Blackbeard and Calico Jack may have started as sailors before they became pirates.

You could also join a friend’s pirate ship or marry a pirate if you are a strong enough woman to handle it (as was the case with Anne Bonny). Most pirates were poor, but some have been blessed with the opportunity to live a life of luxury and enjoy the riches it offers.

 What Was Life Like on a Pirate Ship? 

According to Sunshine Scenic Tours, a business offering pirate-themed boat tours John’s Pass, life at sea was difficult and hazardous, punctuated by life-threatening storms or fights. The standard pirate ship lacked air conditioning, ice for drinks, and clean beds.

 Food and Drinks   

What pirates ate to survive on the open ocean were not the typical meals you’d find in fine dining restaurants.They didn’t have any food storage onboard, unlike modern ships. Their food supplies often became moldy and rotten; pirates often had to spend extended periods at sea, and their food supplies were often depleted quickly.

Pirates may have discovered a way to preserve bread and meat. They ate sea biscuits, cured meat, and fermented vegetables. Only ports allowed them to eat fresh food.

You are mistaken if you believe they had clean drinking water. Pirates were often believed to have drunk liquor to quench their thirst.


Pirates could not wash their hands in the seawater surrounding them. The ship only had clean water for drinking and cooking. Crew members were sometimes required to be dropped into the water to wash their clothes but not to clean themselves. Sometimes they used the rain to wash their bodies outside.

You might also be thinking about how they relieved themselves. It was much easier to use the toilet. Private chamber pots were available to pirate captains. When the chamber pots were full, their contents were flung overboard. Meanwhile, sailors and buccaneers used platforms with holes.

 Sleeping Quarters   

Your rank determines the privileges you have. It was challenging to get a good night of sleep aboard ships. Pirate captains and other high-ranking officers had their sleeping areas, while ordinary sailors slept in one room.

Some of them slept in hammocks. Some slept on the ground. Because hammocks swayed and rocked along with the ship’s movements, it was easier for them. They didn’t worry about falling from their beds in high tides or storms.

 Health and Safety   

It’s no secret that pirates live a dangerous lifestyle. PIrates were more susceptible to diseases like yellow fever, scurvy, malaria, dysentery, and gangrene because the couldn’t access healthy foods, clean water, or vitamins. They were also subject to fighting with other ships, where they were either shot or stabbed.

While they had staff to treat illnesses and wounds, their rooms were not well-lit and clean. They were also not trained medical professionals and often didn’t receive proper training.

 Key Takeaway 

Real-life pirates were significantly different from what movies like Peter Pan and Pirates of the Caribbean depict. Although the pirate life isn’t as spectacular as some may believe, it’s still a lot of fun. If you’re looking to experience the pirate life, many businesses offer a chance to see what it’s like being a pirate on a ship through amazing and worthwhile pirate boat tours.

Last Updated on September 1, 2022

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