In the piratical world, the quartermaster was only one down in rank from the captain. He was usually elected by his crew and was in charge of discipline, as well as leading the pirates into attack when they boarded another ship. Many quartermasters went on to become a ship's next captain. He was also responsible for dealing with pirates who transgressed the articles, the agreed code of conduct for each pirate ship. Captain of the Revenge, John Phillips, set the following code for his pirates in 1724:
I. Every Man Shall obey civil Command; the Captain shall have one full Share and a half of all Prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner shall have one Share and quarter.
II. If any Man shall offer to run away, or keep any Secret from the Company, he shall be marooned with one Bottle of Powder, one Bottle of Water, one small Arm, and Shot.
III. If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company, or game, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be marooned or shot.
IV. If any time we shall meet another Marooner that Man shall sign his Articles without the Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.
V. That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Moses’s Law (that is, 40 Stripes lacking one) on the bare Back.
VI. That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoke Tobacco in the Hold, without a Cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a Lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.
VII. That Man shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and the Company shall think fit.
VIII. If any Man shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement, shall have 400 Pieces of Eight ; if a Limb, 800.
IX. If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.