Women at sea
Preservation Week 2013
Women At Sea
Custom House Maritime Museum curators Kevin MacDonald and Michelle Hastings provide insights on the presence of wives and young children of Captains aboard ship and their life at sea
To fight the loneliness of long voyages, and of being away from home for many months, or even years, at a time, many ship captains, by the late 1840s began bringing their wives and young children with them to sea. By this time, ships had become sufficiently large to provide captains with comfortable, homelike cabins, spacious enough to provide for their wives and even a child or two.
Having women on board had beneficial effects: the captain was better-mannered to his crew, the crew reduced their swearing, and everyone felt that they had a home at sea. Newburyport ships, like the Volant, became mobile extensions of the city, in which friends and neighbors from home, along with their wives and children, could encounter each other and recreate their community whenever their ships met in distant ports.
This is a Newburyport Preservation Week event hosted by the Custom House Maritime Museum and is open to the public.