Rules for Pirates

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Pirates followed a code of strict rules while they were on board ship. Each ship would have slightly different rules, but they were very similar to those given below.


- Every man can have his say

- Every man has an equal share to all fresh food and alcohol seized.

- Captain and Quartermaster receive two shares in a prize. Sailing Master, Boatswain, and Gunner receive one-and-one-half shares. Other officers one-and-one-quarter shares. Sailors, one share. If one loses a limb or becomes a cripple, one receives more of a share.

- No gaming for money at cards or playing dice at sea.

- Lights and candles out before 8 o'clock. Any drinking done after 8 o'clock must be done on open decks, not down below .

- Every man must keep his own gun, pistol, and cutlass clean and ready for service. If he does not, he will not get his share and suffer such punishment as the captain sees fit.

- To desert the ship or run away in time of battle is punished by death or marooning. The marooned may be given a bottle of water and some gunpowder, shot and a pistol.

- If someone cheats the others by hiding a valuable article, he will be punished by marooning.

- If pirate steals from another, the guilty one will have his nose and ears split by a knife and be marooned.

- No women are allowed on board. If any man carries a woman on board disguised, he will be put to death.

- No hitting another on board ship. Every man's quarrel will be settled on shore with sword and pistol. The Quartermaster will accompany both to shore, and the two men set back to back at 20 paces apart. At the command, they turn and fire immediately. If both miss, they take up their cutlasses to finish the fight.

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