One practice is called “careening,” turning a wooden ship on its side to expose the hull. It was the most dangerous time for pirates as it made them vulnerable to attack.
Ships’ hulls would become thick with grasses, seaweed, worms, mold, and organisms such as barnacles making the ships difficult to steer. Since speed was critical to pirates, it was necessary for the hulls to be scraped every two to three months.
Careening also allowed for repairs of damage caused by dry rot or cannon shot and for coating the exterior with a layer of sulfur, tar and tallow to reduce leakage.
A wooden ship would be beached at high tide to expose the ship below the waterline. This was also called “hove down.”
Ships would be taken to a shallow area and the masts pulled to the ground by securing the top halyard to an object such as a tree.
Susan F. Craft is the author of The Chamomile, an inspirational Revolutionary War romantic suspense set in South Carolina. Her work in progress is the third book in The Chamomile trilogy.