This page describes the Crew Positions that someone can take on a ship. Below, each position is separated based on Primary Positions and Support Positions. A ship should not set out to sea without all of their primary positions filled out in order to reduce the risks the seas can bring.
The required positions on a ship to be filled out before one would set sail with a safe conscious. Each of the following positions are filled out by the anime's infamous main crew, the Straw Hat Pirates.
The title of Captain is the title given to an individual in control of a ship at sea, and tend to be the strongest members of their crew. Anyone can attain the rank of captaincy out of pure leadership, as a founding member or voted by other crew members. All major decisions are made by them, though they may be usually advised and influenced by other members. Although a captain may be the highest authority of the crew, there are situations where they are betrayed, overthrown and even killed in mutinies. Although rare, there are a few captains who take on a role within the crew in addition to their captaincy.
The First Mate a major officer on a ship that answers directly to the Captain. Their general position is oftentimes something important on the crew such as a doctor or shipwright, but some captains have their second strongest fighter as their First Mate. Their secondary duties after their general position is to check the stock of the ship and make sure all of the other filled positions are pulling their weight on the crew.
The Second Mate on a crew is customarily the Navigator in charge of charting the route of the ship. Their job is to take on the work load of the First Mate if they are absent and perform the duties of watchkeeping. In some cases, the position can also be filled in by the third strongest member of a crew.
A boatswain or bosun, is the senior of the deck department and is responsible for the components of a ship's hull. The boatswain supervises the other members of the ship's deck department, except on vessels with small crews. Additional duties vary depending upon ship, crew, and circumstances. A boatswain also tends to the other parts of the ship that the shipwright wouldn't necessarily check first such as mending the sails, fixing the crew quarters, and otherwise assigns duties across the ship.
A cook, or chef, is a person who prepares food for passengers or crew mates on ships. A cook must have knowledge of nutritional values and know how to cook a variety of things while out at sea into something edible. They also tend to be one of the main people a Quartermaster will check in with when making a list of things the crew and ship require before each stop at an island. While there are many positions a cook can take, such as Head, Sous, or Executive Chef, they are not necessary if a crew has a single good chef for every eight to ten members of their crew.
The doctor is someone who studies medicine and treats injuries. While out at sea it is important for a doctor to be well versed in worldly knowledge of diseases in the seas that their crew will be swimming in. As well, they need to be able to treat virtually any sickness or wound inflicted on a member of the crew, if possible. Without a doctor, a single mishap could spell the end even for for an entire crew of incredibly powerful sailors.
A navigator is the person on board a ship responsible for the navigation of the vessel. The navigator's responsibilities includes planning the journey, advising the captain, and ensuring that hazards or obstacles, climatic or otherwise, are avoided. They are often given the title of Second Mate on a large crew. A Navigator must be skilled in using compasses, maps, and sea charts to their advantage both on and out of the seas. They should be extremely knowledgeable about the world which is crucial when knowing where to sail and when due to weather patterns or otherwise that would impede the trip.
A shipwright is a person who is responsible for the design, construction, and/or repair of ships, boats, and other marine vessels. They are responsible for the building and the repair of the ship; similar to how a ship's Doctor is responsible for the health of its crew, the Shipwright is responsible for the well being and seaworthiness of the ship itself. Often this position is shared with a Boatswain who would tend to the sails or other parts of the ship that do not directly deal with the foundation of a vessel. However, even the most advanced shipwrights cannot fix a boat that is beyond repair.
A sniper is a person adept at utilizing as well as maintaining ranged weaponry both on and off of a ship. Their duties usually involve maintaining the cannons, firearms, and other ranged weaponry a ship may contain. Sometimes, if one is present on a crew, a sniper may task the duties of being cannoneer, or gunner, to the Commando of the crew. Some snipers are also so physically powerful that they can use normal everyday objects, such as a stone, with deadly accuracy and velocity if thrown or fired from a weapon.
Ships are vessels that travel across water. In the heavily oceanic world, ships are a very common mode of transportation. All ships are just as important as every single member in a primary position on a crew, and are often treated just like a full fledged member of the crew. While the craftsmanship and design may differ from ship to ship, a crew requires a vessel to sail the seas. While most are made of wood, and in extremely rare cases Adam Wood, there can be ships made of metal. Some shipwrights claim that if a ship is taken care of well enough, a Klabautermann will appear, which is the spirit of the ship personified. Many sailors take this as a simple rumor and brush it off.
These positions are not necessary before setting out into the sea. Most of these positions can be filled by other members of the crew whose abilities or skills bleed into these categories. Some are completely optional while others may see some use on larger crews.
An Archaeologist is a type of Scientist that goes out and studies the ancient history of cultures or ruins. They have knowledge of the past and possibly some locations that may no longer be written on up-to-date maps. Their knowledge may also stem far enough back, or they've performed studies of, to understand Poneglyphs. This skill could be useful for anyone wishing to find the legendary treasure left behind by the Pirate King.
Assassins are trained killers that are often powerful and stealthy fighters. They are normally hired to assassinate other individuals, gather or steal information, and perform clandestine operations. This position is often only filled in by agents working directly for the World Government, large scale organizations, or the Marines. It is rare that an Assassin is found on a Pirate crew, however, it is not unheard of.
The Barber is in charge of maintaining the healthiness of the crew by tending to their hair. They can give the crew distinct haircuts or help them disguise themselves using some supplies involving extensions or specific hairstyles. A Barber is often also known to be one of the more fashionable members of the crew, able to gather information in crowds and gossip easier than most of their crew due to their status.
A Beast Tamer, or Pet Tamer, is someone on a crew who often handles the animals brought on board for the duration of the travel. These animals could be trained specifically for amusement, combat situations, or otherwise. An unorthodox addition to any crew, it would definitely be a surprise as some professional Beast Tamers can tame massive beasts with ease. Some Beast Tamers can also communicate with animals using Haki, though this is a speculated rumor among sailors.
The Blacksmith attends to all of the armor, ammunition, and weapons on the ship. It is their job to polish, repair, and maintain the efficiency of weapons, primarily those wielded by Martial Artists and Swordsmen on the crew. Some Oftentimes, the Blacksmith of a crew can create new weapons for their crew if they are knowledgeable enough in craftsmanship and repair.
The Cabin Mate is often the maintenance worker of the ship handling menial tasks on board of a ship. Scrubbing decks, performing duties the Boatswain, Cook, or Shipwright would perform in small increments to teach the crew mate how to live among the sea. Most Cabin Mates end up being promoted as full fledged members of the ship in one of the Supporting Positions, or in rare cases a Primary Position if their work ethic reached high standards.
The Chronicler records the crew's adventures in their log book. They normally don't take part in the major activities and goings-on so as to properly chronicle the events. Chroniclers are usually historians who have noticed the various changes and epic events that tend to happen when the pirate crew gets involved, and thus have joined up with them so as to "experience history as it's being made" and record it accurately. Some Chroniclers are notable historians or major figures in the World Government but were particularly noted on Ohara Island.
A Commando or Guerrilla Unit is a person who uses multiple weapons, a specific kind of warfare, or both in order to attack an enemy force. These units are normally found on Marine ships in a highly regarded position as their power could rival that of the Captain themselves. Normally consisting of three units or a single unit of force equal to three or more men, a Commando handles tens of enemies at once using their varied arsenal. Some Commandos are also given the job of cannoneer which handles the main artillery of a ship normally handled by a Sniper.
Devil Fruit Specialist
These specialists are brought on board crews that are expecting to encounter Devil Fruit users. Often armed with Seatone coated weapons, or able to use a particular fighting style adapted to combating the three types of known Devil Fruits, these individuals are valued members of Marine ships. If a crew discovers a Devil Fruit, this specialist will be able to tell the crew what the fruit is and what it does at a mere glance due to their studies. It is rumored that there are some Devil Fruit Specialists who learned the secret to Devil Fruits and can even extract them from a living user of a Devil Fruit.
The Helmsman steers the ship. This position can easily be filled by any of the other crew members, as it is with the Straw Hats, though it is usually Usopp or Franky. But someone with the official position of Helmsman will be much more skillful with steering the ship than a member of the crew with a different official position.
The Lookout mans the crow's nest and uses a telescope or binoculars to gaze out at the horizon, ever alert for approaching ships and land masses. With smaller crews like the Straw Hats, this position can be leisurely filled by any member of the crew. But a crew member with the official Lookout position will probably practically live in the crow's nest. He or she will likely heavily personalize the space due to spending so much time there, such as by adding a hammock or sleeping bag, or stocking it with books to read and snacks to eat.
The Rigger handles the ship when docking and shoving off. Usually he or she unties the ship from the dock when setting sail, and ties the ship to the dock when docking. The rigger will also raise and lower the sail, and may also raise and lower the anchor. This position is easily filled by any member of the crew, as it is with the Straw Hats.
The Quartermaster is in charge of overseeing ship preparations and announcing when the ship is ready to set sail. They also assign crew quarters. It helps for them to have skill with weather knowledge, so as to be able to tell if it is really wise to set sail or not. This position is normally only present on larger crews or trade ships.
The Tailor mends and sews up the damaged clothing of the crew members. Among the Straw Hats, Nami unofficially fills this position, as shown when she mended Luffy's hat after Buggy tore it.
A bit of a joke position, Cyberweasel89 saw this in a fan fiction and felt it was humorous enough to add to the list.
The Scholar is the researcher and general knowledge expert of the crew. He or she will often provide the crew with information on locations and things they come across. It also helps for the scholar to have knowledge of languages, should the crew encounter people who speak a different language. This position is filled on the Straw Hat crew by Nico Robin as the Archaeologist. "Scholar" is just a broader term for her position, and should be used when categorizing characters.
The Merchant keeps record of the crew's inventory and spending. It is usually the Merchant who will purchase new supplies, exchange treasure for Beli, trade with the people of every port town, and hand each of the crew members their spending money. This position is unofficially filled by Nami on the Straw Hat crew.
The Musician plays music to entertain the crew. They are essential on long sea voyages, where pirates will have trouble keeping themselves entertained. It is officially filled on the Straw Hat crew by Brook.
The Janitor is in charge of cleaning the ship and making sure it does not get dirty. The ship can easily be cleaned by any member of the crew, so the only reason for this position is to lessen the work load of the other crew members.
Pirates often keep pets, so to speak. Cats are often kept on ships to hunt rats. And dogs are always faithful companions. And despite what some may think, pirate parrots weren't just a myth. Historically, pirates really did keep parrots as pets. The talking birds kept pirates entertained during long voyages. And since they were considered exotic, they often sold for high prices among the wealthy at port towns. This position is considered to be held by Chopper for the Straw Hat pirates although it isn't.
Infantry are the members of the crew that have no position. They are usually unskilled in combat and easily taken down by officially positioned members of an enemy crew. As a result, they are usually assigned to stay with the ship guard the rest of the crew's valuables whenever the main crew are out on a venture. They are usually only present on very, very large crews.
The Swordsman takes care of close-range combat. He or she must be an expert swordsman and usually wields one or more swords of melee weapons. Zoro fills this position on the Straw Hats as the ship's swordsman.