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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