Women and the Sea logo
Introduction
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Myths and Mermaids
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Life in Port
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Going to Sea
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Lighthouse Keepers
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Changing Roles for Women
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Women in the Military
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Women in Wartime Production
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Early Yachting and Racing
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Women and the Sea in the 20th Century
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Timeline
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Resources
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In This Chapter

Introduction

Women Posing
as Sailors
Women and
the British Navy
Merchant and
Whaling Wives

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Introduction

Due in part to continuing superstitions about women at sea, few women lived on board permanently. However, by the early eighteenth century, adventurous women like Mary Anne, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read had begun to join ships' crews disguised as men. During the Napoleonic Wars, wives began accompanying their husbands aboard warships. Since there was no shore leave, a few captains allowed wives to share their husbands' hammocks and rations, and in many cases these women performed important duties in battle. As the century wore on, merchant and whaling captains began to take their wives to sea for long voyages, convinced that the value of their mutual companionship outweighed the dangers of life at sea.





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