First Mate- Some pirate ship crews had this position as the captain's right-hand man and the one who would assume his role if he were killed in battle or could no longer perform his duties. This was often considered the job of a lieutenant in a regular navy, and most pirate crews chose a quartermaster instead of a First Mate.
Quartermaster - Out of their distrust of dictatorial rule, pirates of the Golden Age placed a large portion of the captain's traditional role and power into the hands of an elected quartermaster who became second-in-command and almost a co-captain through his representing the best interests of the crew.
As a foreman, he was in charge of maintaining order, distributing rations and supplies, delegating work, and guarding and dividing plunder. In fighting, the quartermaster decided what ships were worth it and often led any boarding party, ultimately deciding what loot to keep. When discipline or punishment was necessary, only he could give it, but even then it was with the agreement of the captain or the vote of the crew.
In the worst of situations, he was a sheriff enforcing fairness in duels or a judge presiding over jury trials for serious crimes committed among the crew. For all his hard work, the quartermaster received a larger portion of any plunder and would often be asked to command any highly valued ship taken in battle.
Boatswain (bos'n) - This position may be compared to the modern chief petty officer. Ship of any size would require the boatswain to oversee several junior officers who would share his responsibility for the crew's morale and work efficiency as well as the maintenance and repair of the hull, rigging, lines, cables, sails, and anchors.
Gunner - A gunner would be the leader of any separate group manning the artillery. His special skill would be in aiming, but he would oversee the four to six men required to take the gun through the steps of loading, aiming, firing, resetting, and swabbing for the next load. He would also work to ensure the gun crew's safety in avoiding dangerous overheating or excessive recoiling of the weapon. A master gunner would help to coordinate the timing and accuracy of the individual crews, especially when a broadside was ordered.
More often than not, a cook would be a disabled pirate who was allowed to stay on ship if he could make food that didn't kill crewmembers. Perhaps it was felt that if a pirate crew survived his cooking, he could make something to help heal as a stand-in surgeon.
Cooper - If a pirate captain was fortunate enough to have a prosperous career, perhaps he could afford the services of a cooper, a barrel maker. Most everything not in a crate or canvas bag was in a barrel. Using steel hoops and strong wood, the cooper would make containers to keep gunpowder dry, food free of pests, and water and spirits from leaking into the bilge. With a changing environment and the constant shifting of the cargo, the hoops and staves of the barrels required constant upkeep to remain intact and tight.
Musicians - Those who could play drums, bagpipes, trumpets, accordions, fiddles, and other instruments were so well liked that they escaped torture if captured by pirates. With entertainment at a premium on most uneventful days at sea, they would be expected to play a jig to dance to, lead a shanty for work tempo, or provide dinner music. Musicians would usually play prior to and during a battle, blaring out martial tunes, nautical favorites, or simple loud noise to inspire the crew. Bartholomew Roberts wrote a provision in his articles stating that regular Sabbath rest should be provided for his musicians.
Answered By: phil - 7/10/2006