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What Would a Pirate Do? Applying the Pirate’s Code to Everyday Situations

Updated on July 14, 2012
Keep to the Pirate's Code!
Keep to the Pirate's Code! | Source
Hopefully these pirates are remembering to follow the Code!
Hopefully these pirates are remembering to follow the Code! | Source

Everyone needs a set of standards to live by… but the Pirate’s Code? Well why not! Pirates might have been dastardly thieves and mercenaries, but they weren't fools and it might surprise you just how fair and filled with common sense some of their rules were.

What is the Pirate's Code?

The Pirate’s Code was established to maintain discipline on-board a pirate vessel. It set forth the code of conduct each member of the crew was expected to follow and established a protocol for handling a variety of situations including the distribution of treasure and the resolution of disputes. It does not appear that there was one universal code applicable to all crews, but rather that each captain set forth his own version. The most well-known version of the Pirate’s Code is “The Shipboard Articles of 1721” established by Bartholomew Roberts (aka Black Bart), who was one of the most successful pirates operating in the Caribbean at that time. Among these articles were rules for deciding the affairs of the ship, expected behavior of the crew both at sea and on-shore, and guidelines for handling those who failed to abide by the articles.

Applying the Pirate's Code

So is the Pirate's Code still of value today? Well I think so! Or, at least, I think it would be amusing to find out! Here are some common situations and ways to use the code to resolve them.


How would pirates divide up their pirate booty... or a plate of chocolate chip cookies?
How would pirates divide up their pirate booty... or a plate of chocolate chip cookies? | Source

Scenario: Mom baked 18 chocolate chip cookies and her two kids immediately start squabbling over how many each of them should get. If mom embraces her inner pirate, how will she handle this?

Article X of the Pirate's Code: The captain and the quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the master gunner and boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.

Applying the Code: I think we can safely say that Mom and Dad are on the same level as the captain and quartermaster and the kids can be considered equivalent to “private gentleman of fortune.” Thus mom and dad will get approximately 6 cookies each and the kids would get 3 each. Problem solved – the pirate way!


Scenario: You’ve gathered with your friends and are trying to decide what to do this weekend. One friend is loudly insisting that you should go to the movies. How would a pirate handle this situation?

Article I of the Pirate's Code: Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of the moment.

Applying the code: According to the Pirate’s Code, majority rules. Take a vote and do whatever the group decides. If your friend doesn't like it, make her walk the plank!


What did pirates do at night when some wanted to sleep and others wanted to party?
What did pirates do at night when some wanted to sleep and others wanted to party? | Source

Scenario: You have to work tomorrow and need to go to bed. Your roommate is on vacation and wants to party in the living room with his friends. What would a pirate do here?

Article IV of the Pirate's Code:The lights shall be put out at 8:00pm and any of the crew who wishes to sit up and drink after that hour shall do so on deck and without lights.

Applying the Code: OK, so 8:00pm is a little bit early. However it seems clear that it should be lights-out at an agreed upon time and if your roommate wants to stay up after that he needs to take it outside.


Scenario: You catch your teenage son attempting to sneak his girlfriend into the house after curfew.

Article VI of the Pirate's Code: No woman is to be found amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing any of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.

Applying the Code: OK, so your son wasn’t in a disguise and he didn’t try to carry his girlfriend off to sea and you aren’t allowed to kill him. However, the Pirate’s Code suggests that you are completely justified in being really, really angry!


Wouldn't you love to maroon your messy roommates here?
Wouldn't you love to maroon your messy roommates here? | Source

Scenario: It is time for the weekly battle against dirt and dust but when you look around you realize that the people who are supposed to be helping you with the house cleaning are nowhere to be found.

Article VII of the Pirate's Code: He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.

Applying the Code: Once again you aren’t allowed to kill your slacker roommates/family members, however marooning sounds like a splendid idea! A few weeks marooned on a deserted island will probably change their thinking about skipping out on cleaning day. And imagine how clean your place will stay while they’re gone!

What would this Jack Sparrow look-alike do?
What would this Jack Sparrow look-alike do? | Source

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    • profile image

      thechronicler 4 years ago

      This hub brought me my LOL moment of the day--I also didn't know any of that about the pirate's code of conduct. Interesting and funny! -voted up

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      Thanks Chronicler! Those LOL moments are important! I bet pirates laughed a lot - when they weren't attacking other ships, of course.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great concept for a hub and very, very funny!

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      Thanks billybuc. I figure we could all use a little more pirate in our lives. LOL!

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Great Hub Very funny. Now I need to apply this around my house.

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      Thanks handymanbill! Yes, I'm particularly fond of the idea of marooning as punishment. My kids said they didn't care until I told them that cell phones don't work on deserted islands. Hehehe! ;o)

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I might use these codes at work as well. Anyone sneaking his girfriend into the photocyroom shall be killed. I need to revise the employee handbook ASAP.

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      Oooh - sounds like a good hub idea jpcmc! "What Would a Pirate Do - Office Edition" LOL!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      So it's settled, I'll be looking forward to your next post - office edition. :)

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
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      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      OK jpcmc - I'll see what I can do! ;o)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Jenne-Anne, I had a whale of a laugh this morning over this one! I think it's necessary for some standardization in order for everyone to have a sense of fairness in everyday situations...work, etc. I am sharing!

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      Thanks Midget! Glad you enjoyed it! I have been considering a second hub focusing specifically on applying the Pirate's Code at the office. Imagine what fun that would be! LOL!

    • patchofearth profile image

      patchofearth 4 years ago from somewhere in the appalachian foothills

      Right on! Yo ho ho and a bottle of Rum! Sign me up. It's the pirates' life for me.

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      Absolutely Patchofearth! Enjoy the rum!

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 3 years ago from Philippine

      Hey, this is very nice and fun to read. I guess pirates lives in all of us. hoist the colors mate

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 3 years ago

      Thanks PaoloJpm! I'll raise my glass of grog to that!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Hilarious! Everybody has to have a code. Thanks for breaking it and sharing it with us. Voted up and sharing.

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 3 years ago

      Thanks FlourishAnyway! As you might jave noticed, I'm a fan of pirates. We could all use a little more swashbuckling in our lives!

    • angryelf profile image

      angryelf 3 years ago from Tennessee

      Haha the cookies solution was great! Upvoted :)

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
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      Jenn-Anne 3 years ago

      Thanks Angryelf! I'm pretty serious about my cookies!

    • WhiteMuse profile image

      M Ziel 3 years ago from San Francisco

      This is interesting. I will have to look at this. One of the guy's that I met before was a descendant of Blackbeard. I don't know if he followed that. He had not mentioned this. Really though I am now trying not to follow the pirate's code.

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
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      Jenn-Anne 3 years ago

      Hi Whitemuse. It's all in good fun. :o)

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 3 years ago from Philippines

      This hub reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading "Treasure Island" as a boy. It also set me thinking if I could apply the pirate's code of conduct to the 4 rambunctious grand-kids staying with me. I had to reject the idea as I might find myself instead being overpowered by the mutinous crew and thrown into the brig or worst, driven out of hearth and home. ;)

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 3 years ago

      Thanks for reading SilentReed! Oh yes, do be careful - I would hate for your "crew" to make you walk the plank! (Although marooning on a private island might not be such a bad thing - it could be quite relaxing!) LOL!

    • JG11Bravo profile image

      JG11Bravo 3 years ago

      Good stuff here. I always enjoyed the fact that the pirate code resembled a fair and free democracy more than the major powers of the day.

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 3 years ago

      Thanks JG! Very true! For being so ruthless, they certainly had a developed sense of fairness. Pirates are always fun to write about!

    • JG11Bravo profile image

      JG11Bravo 3 years ago

      I imagine they would be, but having taken a look through your hubs I think I'll leave that to you. You obviously have me beat in pirate expertise. Still, I'm going to go ahead and follow you, and I'll be anxiously awaiting the next one.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Fabulous ideas here! I am all for marooning in any instance where the "ship" (housecleaning) is deserted. Currently, I maroon people to their rooms until the decks are swabbed. :)

      This was great fun to read, and I would love to see the Code applied to other modern situations!

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 2 years ago

      Thanks so much Sharkye! Here lately I've been wanting to maroon MYSELF. There are days when being alone on a deserted island sounds heavenly!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      'You aren’t allowed to kill (your son, but) the Pirate’s Code suggests that you are completely justified in being really, really angry!'

      Nicely put! That line made me laugh, but the whole hub is fun to read, and there is a (slightly) serious historical message. We're used to the stereotypical Hollywood image of pirates in past times, but the truth is that in their decision making - if not in their general lawless behaviour - they were actually more democratic than most 'civilised' societies. I guess they had to be - a pirate captain was one just man without a police force or army to back him up, and he could not rule without the full consent of his crew.

      Nice quirky hub Jenn-Anne. Voted up.

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 2 years ago

      Thanks Greensleeves! I find pirates to be quite fascinating and always thought it was interesting that they at least attempted to instill "honor among thieves." Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

    • Alli Rose profile image

      Alli Rose Smith 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      WONDERFUL!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Jenn-Anne,

      How novel. Loved your sense of humor in this hub.

      This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, I can easily describe it as amazing.

      I loved every word. Graphics were superb. This hub was helpful, informative and I found it very interesting.

      Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

      You have such a gift for writing. Keep writing no matter what.

      Sincerely,

      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • Jenn-Anne profile image
      Author

      Jenn-Anne 2 years ago

      Wow - thanks so much for the kind words Kenneth! And sorry for the delay in my reply.

    • bensen32 profile image

      Thomas Bensen 2 years ago from Round Lake Park

      As far as the son bringing the girlfriend out to sea, if I live on a houseboat am I allowed to throw him overboard?

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Jenn-Anne,

      No sweat. I understand completely. I enjoyed this hub very much. And if you are already following me, thanks so much and God bless you and if you are not, PLEASE do. I would appreciate it very much.

      My memory has fragments thanks to the prescription meds I have to take for this Fibromyalgia, so forgive me for not knowing.

      I love your writing.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Oh, now where was this when I was raising my kids? LOL Very funny, and eminently sensible, in its own way!

      Voted up, useful, funny and interesting!

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