Salem to China: Life on Land and Sea† 1784 - 1820

Jenny and Paulineís Third Grade

Life At Sea

The bow is the front of the ship. Many ships had carved figureheads on the bow.† Starboard is the right side and port is the left side.† The back of the ship is called the aft.† The crew slept and lived in the forecastle (foícísíle) which was very crowded.† They slept in bunks or hammocks.† On deck, the water barrel was called the scuttlebutt.† The word scuttlebutt now means rumors or gossip, because the crew liked to talk and gossip at the water barrel.†

The captain and officers had cabins in the aft or back of the ship.† The quarterdeck is an upper deck in the aft of the ship.

Parts of a Ship

They ate a lot of hardtack, which was made from flour, salt, and water.† On special occasions, the cook made lobscouse from salt meat, potatoes, onions, and hardtack.† Plum duff was made from flour, water, molasses, and prunes.† There werenít many fresh vegetables or milk.† They would get new supplies at their stops but the food would spoil and run low.

Food on Board Ship

We built a model of a three masted clipper ship using wood and glue.† We added cloth sails and a figurehead that we made out of clay.

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† by Joost and Patrick

Our Model

There were two groups on board ship: the captain and his officers AND the crew.† Their lives were very different.† The crew worked on deck or in the rigging.† They were split into two watches with four hour schedules.† They also took turns standing in the bow and steering the ship.† They spent a lot of time scrubbing the decks and scraping metal.† The officers had to make sure the ship, its crew and its cargo was safe.

To be a shipís captain you must be 21 years old and have 6 years of sea experience.† If the captain was nice the ship would be a nice place to be, but if he was mean it would be bad.† The most important job the captain had to do was navigation.† He used a sextant to keep track of where the ship was, along with a log line, which helped him figure out the shipís speed.† It took a lot of math and careful records to navigate the ship.

It was a very hard life.† Most sailors died at a young age.† A crew member usually only lived twelve years after joining a shipís crew.

Jobs on Board

Ship by Elizabeth

Illustration by Lucas