... but in my experience, it was always used more in fun. For pirates tho, I think it was more about having 'had it with the biscuit.'
Much more so than in remaining aboard a navy or merchant vessel, joining a pirate crew was for most a fairly sure ticket to joining the line up for your last communion, whether you agreed The Spirit resided in the biscuit or not. And in the homeland of early-modern pirating culture, most didn't.
This, of course, is part and parcel of the mystique of pirating. Braving not just uncertain odds, but most certainly bad ones: often ridiculously bad. Still, the life of a regular sailor or merchantman was too hard for some and the low-grade ship's biscuit, also known as hardtack, figures prominently in the list of complaints.
Not that a handful of hardtack, a healthy portion of salt pork, and gallon of beer a day seems stingy, but voyages did tend to drag on and harsh discipline reportedly increased proportionately as rations depleted. [Pressure cooked chicken and fries at what would be called a taco stand in Mexico; not sure what it's called here]
So I suppose the more democratic nature of pirate ships and the promise of better eats became a selling point for many, more compelling than a siren's call. And, of course, not all 'pirate' ships were unsanctioned. Thus the alternate terms, privateer and buccaneer, which apply in some of the more famous cases to free sailors who'd re-enlist with these ships whose captains carried 'letters of marque' from The Crown, such as Captain Morgan.
Regardless, whereas navy and merchant vessels typically sailed in a fleet and tended to join hostilities more judiciously, pirates and privateers lived for the hunt and so thrived on sailing in what we might call today, the red zone, often alone. So the need for secret hideouts, rather than bases, amongst other things.
One of these other things for pirates at 'home' so to speak in their red zones, was what we occasionally refer to today as psy-ops, or psychological operations: refitted and re-rigged ships able to speed over the horizon and surprise; reconfigured and modified armaments and loads capable of finding their target from incredible range; ominous black and red flags; and even more garish clothing, hats, and hairstyles -- all to shock the marked target and encourage surrender.
Now, if you found yourself wrecked and washed up, otherwise stranded, or worse, marooned on shore in the red zone, you might be well advised to take the opposite tack, even, or perhaps especially, if you managed to have kept a few coins or more in your money bag.
Letters of Marque or no, avoiding becoming a mark yourself in such a case while trying to find your way back to some place where you wouldn't be persona non grata would have been a tall order -- not that you wouldn't have been used to such -- and so the radical adjustment in your psy-ops.
You might have started by doffing your fancy pirate clothes, for example, and donning something more modest to blend in; taken back to simpler fare as biscuits, salted meats and beer (tho much as you may have gotten used to rum or wine as a pirate I'm sure few wouldn't still have thought beer was just fine); and, adopted a less proud bearing and bold cadence in your gait.
So, when I found myself accidentally walking alone (and I am here alone so that's no surprise tho I haven't been marooned per se) thru the red zone of El Chorillo on my way back to the hostel, and with a pocket full of cash I'd just exchanged at the mega Albrook Mall, I was glad I'd never needed biscuits to feel His presence.
In fact, I didn't feel particularly like a marked man at all. Still, while only on the hunt for pirate lore and locales here in Panama, rather than being a pirate myself, I was glad I'd opted for the other psy-ops approach to success of blending in, clothing and bearing wise, much as I still have blue eyes and a red beard and not much of a tan.
Indeed, it struck me as funny at that point, while feeling none too marked in my old shorts, black t-shirt, and scruffy beard, and navigating my way out of El Chorillo and back to the harbour of the hostel, that the only time on this maiden voyage to Panama that I felt something unwelcome might be coming round the bend for me, was when I'd lunched at what for all intents and purposes appeared to be a well-appointed tourist trap that the hop on hop off bus had dropped us at. I'd price checked the fish, but hadn't bothered with the French fries I thought might be included or the beer, since it wasn't on the menu and I was feeling optimistic.
As the place filled up, including with some fancy locals, that optimism faded, tho I kept smiling and steeled myself for the impending surprise. Sure enough, a piece of fish, some fries billed separately, and some beer and I'd stuck myself with a bill ringing in above the cost of my room for the night. Ah well, it was a lovely piece of fish. And after all, the name of the place was Buccanero's.