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Pirate Punishments - A Guide for KS2 Students

Updated: Nov 30, 2023


Marooning was the most popular form of pirate punishment. It involved abandoning the wrongdoer on a sacked ship or on the shore of a remote island then sailing away without them.

Although this sounds pretty harsh, it was actually the kindest method of pirate punishment you could give to someone.

Despite their rough reputation, the majority of pirates actually preferred not to kill their victims. They would often go out of their way to make sure that the wrongdoers they marooned had a chance at survival, often leaving them with some supplies.


This method of punishment was the most feared by every pirate and Navy sailor on the sea.

Keelhauling would involve the wrongdoer being tied up and attached to a cannonball or heavy chain. They would be hauled underneath the hull of the boat from one side to the other.

The wrongdoer would have to hold their breath under the water and hope their crewmates pulled them out as quickly as possible. But the faster your crewmates pulled, the more you would be scraped and chopped by the barnacles growing on the underside of the boat as you were dragged underneath it.

It was no wonder this torturous method of punishment could strike fear into the hearts of even the most hardened pirates.


Everyone knows about this popular pirate punishment; where a wrongdoer would be forced to walk across a wooden plank jutting out from the edge of the ship, they would then lose their balance and fall into the sea.

But the truth is, there is no record of this EVER actually happening during the Golden Age of Piracy! Yep, you read that correctly, no 17th century pirate ever forced someone to walk the plank.

In fact the earliest record of this having happened was 40 years after the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. And it happened on a Naval ship, not a pirate ship. Sorry guys!


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