Life Aboard

Cook’s Clothing

In the summer, cooks aboard Gloucester fishing schooners wore cotton trousers and plaid shirts like these. In the era of dory fishing, the cook was one of the most important men on board. He prepared four or five meals a day, fished if needed, and assisted the captain when the men were out in the dories.

Gift of the U.S. Fish Commission


Cook’s Bell

This bell was used aboard a Gloucester schooner to summon fishermen to their meals. Daily meals started with breakfast before dawn, dinner as the main meal, and a hearty supper. Frequent “mug-ups,” or coffee breaks, usually consisted of coffee or tea and leftover snacks. On larger schooners, the cook served meals in two shifts.

Gift of the U.S. Fish Commission


Feeding the Crew

Cook George W. Scott kept a journal on the fishing schooner Ocean King during a voyage out of Gloucester to the Grand Banks in 1879. Among the provisions brought aboard for a four-month voyage were:

  • 210 Hogsheads of salt (for salting the cod)
  • 5 Barrels beef
  • 1 Barrel pork
  • 1 Barrel hams
  • 10 Barrels flour
  • 330 Pounds of sugar
  • 50 Gallons molasses
  • 15 Bushels potatoes
  • 200 pounds butter
  • and including all other things usuly [sic] found in a grocery store


Gift of Capt. George Merchant Jr.

View object record

Fox & Geese Board, 1880s

Fishermen passed the time on long voyages playing Fox & Geese and other simple board games. This game requires two players. The fox (a single token) has to remove the geese (multiple tokens) before they surround him.