Whether I am demonstrating the use of a piratical artifact or presenting a talk at a museum, school, or outdoor fair, I am inevitably asked the same question, “how did pirates go to the bathroom when at sea?”
The answer to that question can be found in an interesting nautical archaeological book by Joe J. Simmons III, entitled “Those Vulgar Tubes: External Sanitary Accommodations aboard European Ships of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries”.
If you acquire the second edition, it now includes the eighteenth and nineteenth century’s ship design now covering the entire Golden Age of Piracy era.
There are illustrations throughout the book. It helps if the reader has a rudimentary knowledge of tall ship designs. If not, an easy fix to that dilemma are the thousands of tall ship illustrations that can be found on the Internet.
Having been born out of a master’s thesis, it is a scholarly book, yet easy to read and understand. It is also the only book I have found, so far, that discusses how shipbuilders during those centuries have tackled the problem of designing a way to eliminate human waste off a crowded sailing ship.