Pirate Survival Lessons to Keep You Alive

Pirate Survival Lessons to Keep You Alive

Today, September 19, we be raising our bottles of grog to celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Yes matey, there is such a thing and that be the reason why ye be hearing people growling “Arr!” and shouting “Ahoy there!”

When we think of pirates, we often imagine these filthy, uneducated seafaring criminals clad in what looks like rags, peg legs and eye patches. They’d be downing bottles of rum and cursing their lungs out as they force someone to walk the plank. Real pirates were nothing like that, however. In fact, pirates back in the day didn’t talk like Jack Sparrow, Captain Hook, or other pirates we see on the big screen.  They likely talked like everybody else at the time. Pirate speak is actually the creation of the late English actor Robert Newton and his Long John Silver character in the Disney film Treasure Island. But don’t let that get ye down me hearty. Talk pirate speak as long as ye want.

Talk Like a Pirate Day Sticker
Talk Like a Pirate Day Sticker

During the Golden Age of Piracy, which lasted from 1700 to 1725, pirates weren’t this uncivilized and undisciplined lot they are often portrayed as. Blackbeard, Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts, and other pirate captains made sure their crew was disciplined by installing a code of conduct known as a pirate’s code. This set of rules, if not followed, would garner the offending party a severe punishment. Simply put, you should obey these codes if you wanted to survive and enjoy your share of the booty.

Hundreds of years since, these rules can still be applied today. In fact, they paved the way for some pirate survival lessons we can use in our efforts to stay alive.

Pirate Survival Lessons from “Black Bart” Robert’s Pirate Code

“The lights and candles should be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.”

This piratical article highlights the survival strategy of not attracting attention to oneself. The superstition, “never light three on a match” likely hails from the belief that the third soldier to light from the same match will be shot and killed. The light from a match or cigarette can be seen from a far distance, especially at night. This gives an enemy sniper a target. The sniper determines the location when the first match is lit. He or she aims on the second match and pulls the trigger on the third match.

California Costumes Men's Adult Cutthroat Pirate Costume
California Costumes Men’s Adult Cutthroat Pirate Costume

This is also the same principle behind the gray man or the need for preppers to blend in and keep a low profile. If people are aware that you have loads of food, water and other supplies stashed at home, you will become a prime target in the event of a catastrophe leading to a societal breakdown.

“All sailors are to keep their cutlass, piece and pistols clean, fit and ready for service.”

This is one of the many pirate survival lessons that gun owners should keep to heart. Not only do you have to keep your firearms clean and serviceable; you also need to know how to use them. You can’t second guess yourself when an intruder threatens your loved ones.

Forum Novelties Women's Pirate Maiden Costume
Forum Novelties Women’s Pirate Maiden Costume

This pirate rule not only applies to firearms. You should also know how to use pocket knives, pepper sprays, and other weapons for self-defense. When it comes to your home, fire extinguishers are your primary “weapon” against a fire. Make sure to check on them regularly and that you know how to use one.

“Every man is entitled to any seized fresh provisions or strong liquors. These are to be used at their pleasure – except in times of scarcity. For the good of the entire crew, a retrenchment vote can occur.”

The keyword here is “scarcity.” If your food and water supplies are scarce, you’re chances of survival when SHTF is low. Make sure you have enough in your bug out bags to last for a few days or until things go back to normal. You also need to stock up at home so you’re prepared for a disaster, an economic collapse, or when you suddenly lost your job.

Provisions are not limited to food and water. You also need the right survival gear, first aid items, and medications to keep you going as long as possible.

Buccaneer-Americans, Talk Like A Pirate Day Two-Tone Coffee Mug
Buccaneer-Americans, Talk Like A Pirate Day Two-Tone Coffee Mug

Speaking of food, pirate ships used to have their own quartermasters or cooks who knew a thing or two about food preservation. They usually brought dried or smoked fish, fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickled eggs and cucumbers, dried fruit and vegetables, and bread with long shelf life called hardtack.

In prepping, you have to stock up on foods that have long shelf life. You also need to learn how to make ferment foods as well as canning.

Pirate Survival Lessons Courtesy of Edward Low and George Lowther

“He that sees a Sail first, shall have the best Pistol or Small Arm aboard of her.”

Among the many pirate survival lessons learned from Low and Lowther, this one may apply to disaster and emergency preparedness in general. If you spot a potential threat from far away, that gives you ample time to prepare for it. This applies in many scenarios.

Shop4Ever Jolly Roger Skull & Crossbones T-Shirt Pirate Flag Shirts
Shop4Ever Jolly Roger Skull & Crossbones T-Shirt Pirate Flag Shirts

The Titanic, for example, had its binoculars locked up. The person in charge of the key to the locker was replaced right before the ship made its tragic maiden voyage. Unfortunately for the 1,522 souls who perished that fateful night, he forgot to give the key to his replacement. The lookouts stationed in the crow’s nest were forced to use their bare eyes to spot obstacles such as a ginormous iceberg. Well, we all know what happened next.

Jake and the Neverland Pirates | Mr. Smee T-Shirt
Jake and the Neverland Pirates | Mr. Smee T-Shirt

The article also describes the principle behind alarms. An alarm sets off and alerts you to the presence of a threat. This gives you time to grab your gun or to hide in a panic room. In some zombie flicks, people tie strings around their camp and attach bells or anything that would make a distinct sound. When the bell sounds, that means a zombie is likely approaching. This gives them time to arm themselves or to leave camp for safety.

Pirate Mom Personalized Dark T-Shirt
Pirate Mom Personalized Dark T-Shirt

“He that shall be guilty of Drunkenness in time of Engagement shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and majority of the Company shall think fit.”

This is another one of the pirate survival lessons that’s about being prepared. Back then, you need to be ready to fight when the fight comes. If you are not killed because of your drunkenness, you may eventually meet the same fate as pirates used to maroon or leave erring shipmates on a deserted island to die.

The Jolly Roger Pirate Skull Round Clock
The Jolly Roger Pirate Skull Round Clock

You can’t protect your home and your loved ones In an EOTW scenario if you are not on the top of your game. Always be alert and ready to ward off intruders and other threats.

In prepping, it is advised to have some liquor in your stockpile. They have their advantages. You can use alcohol as a trade chip since it will likely be a valuable commodity in an apocalyptic scenario. It’s also a great way to unwind and have a little semblance of sanity during a deeply stressful situation. Of course, you can only do so if you’re mighty sure it’s safe. If you’re drunk or in deep slumber after downing a bottle of alcohol, you’re unlikely to fend off threats. Well, unless you’re the Drunken Master.

Pirate Survival Lessons From John Gow

“That no man shall go on shore till the ship is off the ground, and in readiness to put to sea.”

You seldom see pirate ships docked on land. The ship stays in the water while the pirates board a small vessel to reach the shore. This is to keep the ship ready to sail in case something goes wrong.

This be me pirate booty! Funny Beer Pirate Can Cooler
This be me pirate booty! Funny Beer Pirate Can Cooler

This pirate code applies to bug out vehicles and supply runs. In prepping, you should not only keep your supplies in your home or shelter. Aside from your grab bags, you should also have a bug out vehicle filled with supplies and gear. It should be ready to go in case you have to flee in a rush.

When you’re on a supply run during the zombie apocalypse, you need your vehicle to be ready to go in case you stumble upon a horde. If you’re in a group, at least one of you should stay in the car. That person will alert everyone else if a threat is approaching. They should also be ready to put the pedal to the metal.

“That every man shall keep his watch night and day; and at the hour of eight in the evening every one shall retire from gaming and drinking, in order to attend his respective station.”

Every member of the family or group should have responsibilities and each one should take them seriously. A well functioning group has a better chance a survival than one that’s divided. If your task is to keep watch, do so with the knowledge that if you screw up, everyone may end up dead.

Skull and Crossbones Bowl
Skull and Crossbones Bowl

A pirate’s code was written to keep everyone in check. If just one member of the crew is undisciplined, the repercussions will affect everyone else. The pirate survival lessons adapted  from these articles apply to modern times.


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About Us

Gentleman Pirate Club aims to share valuable knowledge and tips on how you can prepare and survive emergencies and other dire situations. We think of different scenarios and show you the many ways you can survive them. We also believe in self-sufficiency as a way to prepare for whatever lies ahead. As our ship sails in these waters, we look for valuable treasures. When we spot one, we tell you where it is.

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