One player is chosen as the captain. S/he calls out orders to the rest of the players who are the crew. If a player does not follow an order correctly, s/he is out. (This decision is made by the captain who is always right.)
To the ship: run to the captain's right
To the island: run to the captain's left
Hit the deck: lay down on your stomach (or if players don't want to get dirty, they can crouch down)
Attention on deck: salute and yell, "Aye, aye captain!" -- players may not move now until the captain gives the order of, "At ease!" (ie even if the captain gives a different order such as "to the ship" the crew must continue to remain at attention until told "at ease")
Three men in a boat: the crew must form groups of three and sing "Row, row, row your boat" Anybody who is not in a group of three is out.
The love boat: crew members grab a partner and dance. Anybody without a partner is out.
Clear the deck: everyone must have their feet up off the floor
Scrub the deck: everyone on their knees scrubbing
Captain's Quarters: everyone ran towards the captain.
Man-over-board: Players must find a partner as quickly as possible. One partner must lay on their stomach while the other places their foot on their partner's back. Children without a partner or pairs that are too slow are eliminated.
A Parascope: Every player falls on their back and sticks one leg in the air. The last ones are eliminated.
SHARK!!!!: Everyone must run to a designated base (multiple bases can be used). The last player to the base is eliminated.
Crow's nest: All players must find a partner. The lightest player rides on their partner's back. Those without partners or who assemble the crow's nest too slowly are eliminated.
Three maids in a row: Children form groups of three and sit in a vertical row. The players who are the odd-man-out are eliminated.
Sick turtle: Everyone falls onto their backs and waves hands and feet in the air.
Bow: Run to the front of the boat
Stern: Run to the back
Port: Run to the right side of the boat
Starboard: Run to the left side of the boat.
Row the Boat: Each player finds a partner, sits face to face, holds hands, and pretends to row a boat. Players who can't find partners or who are too slow are eliminated.
Alternative rules: If playing in a pool, all of the orders stay the same except for "hit the deck" which becomes "walk the plank." This means that crew members must bob underwater.
To make the game less competitive, player do not get "out." Instead, if the captain notices that they do not follow an order, they must stand out for a count of 20.
Contributed by Sarah Buhmann
Additional orders contributed by J. Pelley and Melissa Jo Johnston