How Did People On Pirate Ships Go To The Bathroom?


As toilet paper had not been invented the men would either have to use bits of old rag or rope to clean their back sides or sometimes there was a communal bucket and sponge. Urination was either into buckets or directly over the side. Some men did urinate against the side of the ship or onto the deck.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Did Pirates have bathrooms?

Bathing or washing was pretty much a no-go on a pirate ship as water could not be wasted; those who fancied a shower would have to stand outside in the rain and risk pneumonia! Visiting the bathroom, however, was a much more feasible exercise, thankfully.

What was hygiene like on pirate ships?

Lack of access to clean water, combined with confined living spaces, led to the rapid spread of disease. Harsh elements and inadequate nutrition further contributed to generally poor health. Baths, laundry, and oral hygiene were at a minimum, even with a somewhat surprising amount of medical resources.

How did the crew of a pirate ship get sick?

Inevitably many men received serious bites as a result. Mosquitoes infested certain areas and many men fell sick and died from malaria when visiting the coasts of Africa and the Americas. Insects were less of a problem when the ship was far out at sea. How did the crew keep warm?

What was the first rule of a pirate ship?

The first rule of one particular pirate code reads, “Every man has a vote in affairs of moment,” securing, at the start, a man’s right to participate in the selection of the captain and other officials. With this right in place, each crew elected a captain who was granted total power only during times of distress.

Where did the water come from on a pirate ship?

Water still came in below decks even when the ship was battened down. Most ships leaked and in rough seas some water still got in through the hatches and gun ports even when closed. The lower decks could therefore be awash with water during a storm. There were no towels or drying rooms and men often slept in their wet clothes.

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