Owners of slave ships did their best to hold as many enslaved people as possible, cramming, chaining, and selective grouping techniques were used to maximize space and make travel more profitable.Those that were on the ships were underfed and treated with brutality which caused some to die before even boarding the ships. These people also were not treated as human as the enslaved were naked and shackled together with several different types of animalistic chains. Not only were they treated in an inhumane fashion, they lived like animals throughout their long voyage to the New World. Most of the captives were on the floor beneath bunks with little to no room at all to move, most spent their entire time not being able to move due to the crammed conditions. Accounts from the enslaved discuss the fact that they spent a large portion of time pinned to floorboards which would wear skin on their elbows down to the bone. Firsthand accounts from former slaves such as Olaudah Equiano describe the horrific conditions that enslaved people were forced to endure.[Source]
Ships carried anything from 250 to 600 slaves. They were generally very overcrowded. In many ships they were packed like spoons, with no room even to turn, although in some ships a slave could have a space about five feet three inches high and four feet four inches wide.