Boarding an enemy ship could lead to a chaotic hand-to-hand melee in close quarters, and deck officers were often at the head of the fight. This officer’s dirk is an example of a typical fighting weapon carried in battle. Unlike the ceremonial swords and daggers that were worn or carried by officers on other occasions, this weapon is almost completely bereft of decoration and was designed for functional efficiency. The dirk is primarily a thrusting weapon usually wielded while lunging forward into an enemy. The heavier length of the blade contributed to this purpose and helped ensure the weapon would not be broken if used in parrying attacks.