The Longest Song Wiki

Anne Louise

The Captain's Daughter is the first track on Bones in the Ocean, and plays a lot with nautical slang.

This song is a Longest Johns original , written by Dave Robinson.


  • Batten down the hatch: Prepare for inclement weather by securing hatch doors with wooden "battens"(thin strips of material used for multiple purposes aboard ship) to prevent water from entering.
  • Bo's'n: A boatswain. A non-comissioned officer responsible for keeping the regular sailors in order.
  • bear: usually used in reference to aiming a cannon at something, bringing one's back to bear became slang for a sailor preparing to receive a flogging.
  • Captain's Daughter: A cat o' nine tails, a whip with several lashes used to administer martial punishment for grievous errors aboard ships.
  • Cat out of the bag: See Captain's Daughter.
  • Caught Adrift: a reference to inattentiveness.
  • Crow's Nest: A perch usually kept atop a mast, manned by a sailor for the purposes of warning of approaching dangers.
  • Jack: A sailor.
  • Skipper: A captain.
  • Signal Flag: A reference to semaphore, the code of coloured flags and positions used to signal between ships.
  • Tack: In this context refers to a navigational course adjustment used to make the way easier, presumably, the captain was stubborn.


When I was just a lad of twelve, I joined a skipper's crew,
To sail about the ocean wide, in search of treasures new
But failed to batten down a hatch, I let in scores of water
And that's when bo's'n introduced me to the captain's daughter

{Chorus} Oh! The captain's daughter, she's a sight!
She'll keep you up in the dead of night
She'll make you weep 'till your eyes turn sore
Like many other men before

The captain was an older man, not known for giving tack
He'd bring his daughter out for any ordinary Jack
She'll make your skin shift colours faster than a signal flag
So don't be caught adrift and let that cat out of the bag


Well, out across the pond one day we heard the crow's nest call
And down the mast came crashing, being struck by cannonball
The captain stood there laughing, bid us stand to our last breath
But we'd rather face his daughter than a terrifying death

So onwards, to demise, she floats while we all beat to quarters
"Abandon ship" the first mate cried and jumped into the water
"Belay that!" cried the captain, "I did not give those orders!
Fish out that dog from in the drink and fetch him to my daughter!"


Though years ago I'm still reminded of those awful days
My wife reminds me of the lash in oh so many ways
But between the two of them I know which brings more pain
I'd rather bring my back to bear than see my wife again!

{Chorus til finish}