Pirates have been known throughout history for their violent and often brutal ways of enforcing discipline and punishing disobedience among their crews. From flogging to keelhauling, pirates used a variety of methods to maintain order on their ships and ensure that their crews followed their commands.
Overall, the pirate lifestyle was brutal and unforgiving, and punishments were often swift and severe.
Here are some of the punishments issued by pirates:
- Walking the plank: This was one of the most infamous pirate punishments. The offender was blindfolded and made to walk off the end of a plank extended over the side of the ship, plunging into the water where they would often drown or be attacked by sharks.
- Keelhauling: The offender was tied to a rope and dragged under the ship’s keel from one end to the other. This often resulted in severe injuries, such as broken bones or even death.
- Marooning: This punishment involved stranding the offender on a deserted island with no food, water or supplies, leaving them to fend for themselves until they died.
- Whipping: The offender was tied to a mast and lashed with a whip or cat-o’-nine-tails.
- Flogging: Similar to whipping, the offender was tied to a mast and beaten with a rope or other instrument.
- Shark baiting was another punishment used by pirates, which involved tying the offender to a rope and throwing them overboard to be attacked by sharks. According to the website “Pirate Life for Me”, shark baiting was used by some pirates as a way to terrorize their crews and maintain control over them.
- Branding: The offender was branded with a hot iron to permanently mark them as a criminal.
- Mutilation: Pirates would sometimes cut off the ears or nose of an offender as punishment.
- Imprisonment: The offender would be locked in the ship’s hold or in a cage on deck for a period of time.
- Death: Offenders who committed serious crimes, such as mutiny, were often hanged from the yardarm of the ship.
- Forced labor: Pirates would sometimes force offenders to do hard labor on board the ship, such as pumping water or cleaning the decks.
It’s important to note that these punishments were not universal among pirates, and the severity of punishment often depended on the captain’s discretion. Additionally, some pirate crews had their own codes of conduct and punishments, which varied from crew to crew.