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Quartermaster is a historical rank in both land and naval tradition.

Through a historical oddity, pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy elevated the rank of quartermaster to much higher powers and responsibilities than it had aboard any merchant or naval vessel. Pirate quartermasters (quarter deck masters), like pirate captains, were usually elected by their crews. It was the quartermaster's responsibility to lead the pirate boarding party when coming aboard another ship, as well as serve the role of "first mate" to the captain. This was usually done from the quarter deck which was the place where two ships touched during the boarding attack.

The quartermaster ranked higher than any officer aboard the ship except the captain himself, and could veto the captain's decisions whenever the ship was not chasing a prize or engaged in battle. The quartermaster also was chiefly responsible for discipline, assessing punishments for crewmen who transgressed the articles. It was common for quartermasters to become captains after the previous captain was killed or deposed.

In the event of a Quartermaster's replacement, the Boatswain is normally next in line to fulfill the role of first officer.

Notable quartermastersEdit

Other quartermastersEdit

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