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What is a Ship Captain?

Also known as: Seamaster, Shipmaster, Sea Captain, Boat Captain.

A ship captain is the leader of an entire vessel, which can range in size from a small yacht to an entire cruise liner. He or she has vast experience with ships and their operation, and has likely worked their way through the ranks of other ship-related positions. Duties on the ship fall far beyond the scope of a management position, as the ship captain must be proficient in every aspect of running a ship, from ship operation to maintenance, and in the instance of touring ships, playing host to the passengers. The entire success of a ship's voyage lies on the captain's shoulders and how well he or she manages the crew.

How to Become a Ship Captain

Interested in becoming a ship captain? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good ship captain? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

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  2. Get the Education

    A certificate or associates degree is required to be a Ship Captain.

  3. Get Hired

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What does a Ship Captain do?

A captain's responsibilities are wide-ranging in expertise and include navigation, operation of the ship's equipment, business functions, and the assignment and monitoring of duties performed by all crew members. Ensuring all equipment receives proper maintenance and follows environmental regulations also falls under their jurisdiction. Lesser, but equally important to their other duties, is the task of keeping regular logs throughout the journey, and supervising passengers and crew members embarking and disembarking the ship. Nearly everything that happens on the vessel must be rigorously documented and checked by the ship captain to keep a formal record of every excursion and the ship's functions throughout. In the instance of international travel, it is the captain's duty to meet the requirements of local and international customs and inspections.

In some cases, the captain must maintain the ship's financial operations and accounting, including cash-on-hand and payroll, in the absence of a purser on board. They must also be responsible for the ship's security, both in terms of basic operation and under extreme circumstances, such as responding to threats from terrorists, pirates, hijackers, and stowaways.

In the instance of trouble during the voyage that results in cargo damage or loss, improper ship piloting, or the injury or death of a crew member, a captain must act as a direct contact to local authorities to aid in the preceding investigation. They must provide thorough documentation and accounts of the event in question and be capable of providing any further information the investigative party may require.

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What is the workplace of a Ship Captain like?

A ship captain's workplace is upon their particular boat, which can vary in type and size depending on their certification. The boat's territory may range from touring at sea, traveling rivers, or navigating various other waterways in between harbours. Because of the nature of maritime travel, a captain's stay at their workplace may be a day-to-day outing, or last for several weeks to months.

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Further Reading

  • What Are The Different Types Of Captain Jobs? www.wisegeek.com

    Captain jobs might include working on a cargo ship, cruise ship, yacht, ferry, commercial fishing boat, or as a harbor pilot. In each case, the captain takes responsibility for the operation and safety of the vessel while in national or international waters.

  • How To Be A Captain On A Navy Ship work.chron.com

    There are three ways to become the captain of a Navy ship.

  • Want To Be A Captain? www.captainmcd.com

    As to how one advances to become a captain, it is probably the same in most countries. All merchant officers must be licensed to sail on the ships of the country of registry of the ship. There are two areas of competence, one is a deck officer (or Mate) the other in an Engineer.

  • Duties Of A Ship Captain everydaylife.globalpost.com

    Every ship, from small pleasure cruisers to large commercial freighters, operates under the authority of a captain.

  • Cruise Ship Captain www.ipaciapc.ca

    Becoming a cruise ship captain is both very difficult and prestigious. As a cruise ship captain, you will have more responsibilities than any other mariner.

  • A Working Life: The Ship's Captain www.theguardian.com

    Encounters with Somali pirates are all part of the job for Roy Whelan – as are long hours and hectic schedules in port.

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How to Become a Ship Captain

Interested in becoming a ship captain? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good ship captain? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    A certificate or associates degree is required to be a Ship Captain.

  3. Get Hired

      Loading jobs...

    View all jobs →

    Would you like to post jobs on this career? Find the best candidates using Sokanu's new psychometric job platform. Visit employers.sokanu.com today.