The crew of a ship are the men and women aboard it that handle the sails, shoot the cannons, pump the bilges, and board other ships. In Pirates of the Burning Sea, crew are a single value, similar to sails, structure, or morale. They have no other stats other then their quantity (in a boarding action, they have the same level as their captain). A ship whose crew has been reduced will suffer various stat debuffs. Similarly, in a boarding action, ships with larger crews will have more waves to call on.
Crew can be and frequently are killed by enemy fire. Certain cannon ammunitions are more effective at killing crew, but some crew will usually die any time a hit lands. Crew can also be lost as a result of various skills, like the privateer's terrorize, or sacrificed by Cutthroat skills like Sacrifice For Speed.
If too many crew members are damaged the remaining will make sure that certain key functions on the ship continue to work at full effect while neglecting others. As a result, the ships acceleration, turning rate and reload rate will be reduced. However, each career has the ability to ignore one of these penalties.
Crew remaining - effect
- 100%-76% – Regular, no negative effects.
- 75%-51% – Harried, -10% on Stats
- 50%-26% – Beleaguered, -20% on Stats
- 25% and below – Desperate, -50% on Stats
- Navy Officer: Reloading rate
- Freetrader: Acceleration
- Privateer: Turning rate
- Cutthroat: Turning rate
- Buccaneer: Turning rate
Crew during boarding actions
Crew in boarding action have the same level as their captain. The number of crew in a ship at the start of a boarding action determines how many waves the captain can call upon. There is not a strong correlation between the crew value and the number of waves. For example, a small ship with all its crew will get 4 or 5 waves in boarding action, while the same ship with 2 crew remaining will get 3 or 4 waves.
Crew are only temporarily reduced in sea combat, not killed, and will slowly replenish even while in combat. They can also be brought back faster with the use of consumables like Keg of Rum, Rough, or skills like Rally the Crew.