HOME

TheInfoList




A sea captain, ship's captain, captain, master, or shipmaster, is a high-grade
licensed mariner Image:Usmm-license.jpg, 200px, A sample United States Merchant Marine license issued by the United States Coast Guard in 2006 A licensed mariner is a sailor who holds a license from a maritime authority to hold senior officer-level positions aboar ...
who holds ultimate command and responsibility of a merchant vessel.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.3. The captain is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the shipincluding its seaworthiness, safety and security, cargo operations, navigation, crew management, and legal complianceand for the persons and cargo on board.


Duties and functions

The captain ensures that the ship complies with local and international laws and complies also with company and
flag state The flag state of a merchant vessel is the jurisdiction under whose laws the vessel is Ship registration, registered or licensed, and is deemed the nationality of the vessel. A merchant vessel must be registered and can only be registered in one jur ...
policies. The captain is ultimately responsible, under the law, for aspects of operation such as the safe navigation of the ship,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.4. its cleanliness and seaworthiness,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.5. safe handling of all cargo,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.7. management of all personnel,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.7-11. inventory of ship's cash and stores,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.11-12. and maintaining the ship's certificates and documentation.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.13-15. One of a shipmaster's particularly important duties is to ensure compliance with the vessel's security plan, as required by the
International Maritime Organization The International Maritime Organization (IMO, French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), ...
's ISPS Code.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.97. The plan, customized to meet the needs of each individual ship, spells out duties including conducting searches and inspections,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.100-101. maintaining restricted spaces, and responding to threats from terrorists, hijackers, pirates, and stowaways.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.103-111. The security plan also covers topics such as
refugee A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person Forced displacement (also forced migration) is an involuntary or coerced movement of a person or people away from their home or home region In geography, regions are areas that are broa ...

refugee
s and
asylum seeker An asylum seeker is a person who leaves their country of residence, enters another country and applies for asylum (i.e., international protection) in this other country. An asylum seeker is an immigrant Immigration is the international mo ...
s, smuggling, and saboteurs.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.110-114. On ships without a
purser A ship's purser (also pusser)From which the Pusser's Pusser's Rum is a brand name of rum produced by Pusser's Rum Ltd. Nine years after the Royal Navy discontinued the daily rum ration in 1970, the company was founded to produce the rum from the ...

purser
, the captain is in charge of the ship's
accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event, which can be used to compare with other ob ...
.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.209. This includes ensuring an adequate amount of cash on board,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.210-211. coordinating the ship's payroll (including draws and advances),Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.211-223. and managing the ship's .Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.223-225. On international voyages, the captain is responsible for satisfying requirements of the local
immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective ident ...

immigration
and
customs Customs is an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that u ...

customs
officials.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.175-208. Immigration issues can include situations such as embarking and disembarking passengers,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.208. handling crew members who desert the ship,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.206-207. making crew changes in port,Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.207. and making accommodations for foreign crew members.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.204, 206, 208. Customs requirements can include the master providing a cargo declaration, a ship's stores declaration, a declaration of crew members' personal effects, crew lists and passenger lists.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.183-187. The captain has special responsibilities when the ship or its cargo are damaged, when the ship causes damage to other vessels or facilities. The master acts as a liaison to local investigatorsAragon and Messner, 2001, p.46-47. and is responsible for providing complete and accurate logbooks, reports, statements and evidence to document an incident.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.47-49. Specific examples of the ship causing external damage include collisions with other ships or with fixed objects, grounding the vessel, and dragging anchor.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.52-61. Some common causes of cargo damage include heavy weather, water damage, pilferage, and damage caused during loading/unloading by the
stevedore . Photograph by Lewis Hine,  1912 Port Sudan 1960 A stevedore (), also called a longshoreman, a docker or a dockworker, is a Dock (maritime), waterfront manual laborer who is involved in loading and unloading ship A ship is a large wat ...
s.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.65-69. All persons on board including public authorities, crew, and passengers are under the captain's authority and are his or her ultimate responsibility, particularly during navigation. In the case of injury or death of a crew member or passenger, the master is responsible to address any medical issues affecting the passengers and crew by providing medical care as possible, cooperating with shore-side medical personnel, and, if necessary, evacuating those who need more assistance than can be provided on board the ship.Aragon and Messner, 2001, p.77-89.


Performing marriages

There is a common belief that ship captains have historically been, and currently are, able to perform marriages. This depends on the country of registry, however most do not permit performance of a marriage by the master of a ship at sea. In the
United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = "Anchors Aweigh" , mascot = , equipment = List of equipment of the United St ...
, a captain's powers are defined by its 1913 Code of Regulations, specifically stating: "The commanding officer shall not perform a marriage ceremony on board his ship or aircraft. He shall not permit a marriage ceremony to be performed on board when the ship or aircraft is outside the territory of the United States." However, there may be exceptions "in accordance with local laws and the laws of the state, territory, or district in which the parties are domiciled" and "in the presence of a diplomatic or consular official of the United States, who has consented to issue the certificates and make the returns required by the consular regulations." Furthermore, in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, there have been a few contradictory legal precedents: courts did not recognize a shipboard marriage in
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...

California
's 1898 ''Norman v. Norman'' but did in
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
's 1929 ''Fisher v. Fisher'' (notwithstanding the absence of municipal laws so carried) and in 1933's ''Johnson v. Baker'', an
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

Oregon
court ordered the payment of death benefits to a widow because she had established that her marriage at sea was lawful. However, in ''Fisher v. Fisher'' the involvement of the ship's captain was irrelevant to the outcome.
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
's 1919 ''Bolmer v. Edsall'' said a shipboard marriage ceremony is governed by the laws of the nation where ownership of the vessel lies. In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, the captain of a merchant ship has never been permitted to perform marriages, although from 1854 any which took place had to be reported in the ship's log.
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
and
Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, ...

Filipino
law, as narrow exceptions, recognise a marriage ''in articulo mortis'' (on the point of death) solemnized by the captain of a ship or chief of an aeroplane during a voyage, or by the commanding officer of a military unit.
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
allows ship captains to perform a marriage ceremony at sea, but only for Japanese citizens.
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
,
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen "God Save the Queen", alternatively "God Save the King" (dependent on the gender of the reigning monarch), is the or in most s, their territories, and the British . The author of the tune is unknown, ...

Bermuda
and the
Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a sovereign country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Atlantic. It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago's land area and is home to 88% of the a ...
permit captains of ships registered in their jurisdictions to perform marriages at sea.
Princess Cruises Princess Cruises is a cruise line owned by Carnival Corporation & plc . The company is incorporated in Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen" , song_type = Unofficial territorial song , song = "Hail to Bermuda" , image_map = , ma ...
, whose ships are registered in Bermuda, has used this as a selling point for their cruises, while
Cunard Cunard Line is a British cruise line based at Carnival House at Southampton, England, operated by Carnival Corporation & plc#Carnival United Kingdom, Carnival UK and owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. Since 2011, Cunard and its three shi ...

Cunard
moved the registration of its ships ''
Queen Mary 2 RMS ''Queen Mary 2'' (also referred to as the ''QM2'') is a British transatlantic Transatlantic, Trans-Atlantic or TransAtlantic may refer to: Film * Transatlantic Pictures, a film production company from 1948 to 1950 * Transatlantic Enterpr ...

Queen Mary 2
'', ''
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...
'' and '''' from
Southampton Southampton () is a port A port is a facility comprising one or more or loading areas, where ships load and discharge and passengers. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, ports can also be found far inland, su ...
to Bermuda in 2011 to allow marriages to be conducted on their ships. Some captains obtain other credentials (such as ordination as ministers of religion or accreditation as notaries public), which allow them to perform marriages in some jurisdictions where they would otherwise not be permitted to do so. Another possibility is a wedding on a ship in port, under the authority of an official from that port. In works of fiction, ship captains have performed marriages in various media, including the 1951 film ''
The African QueenThe African Queen may refer to: Horticulture * African Queen, a cultivar of ''Osteospermum'', a member of the sunflower family Vessels * African Queen (boat), the vessel used in the 1951 film "The African Queen" * African Queen (ship), including a ...
'', and episodes of ''
The Love Boat ''The Love Boat'' is an American romantic comedy Romantic comedy (also known as romcom or rom-com) is a subgenre of comedy and slice-of-life Slice of life describes the depiction of mundane experiences in art and entertainment. In thea ...
'', ''
How I Met Your Mother ''How I Met Your Mother'' (often abbreviated as ''HIMYM'') is an American sitcom, created by Craig Thomas (screenwriter), Craig Thomas and Carter Bays for CBS. The series, which ran from 2005 to 2014, follows the main character, Ted Mosby, and h ...
,
The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy is a type of film or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. These productions are often ...
'' and various ''
Star Trek ''Star Trek'' is an American science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci- ...

Star Trek
'' series.


Licensing


Employment


United Kingdom

As of 2008, the U.K.
Learning and Skills Council The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) was a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' ...
lists annual salaries for senior deck officers as ranging from £22,000 to over £50,000 per year.Learning and Skills Council, 2008. The Council characterizes job opportunities for senior deck officers as "generally good" and expects a "considerable increase" in the job market over the next few years.


United States

As of 2013, captains of U.S.-flagged deep sea vessels make up to US$1,500 per day, or US$80,000 to US$300,000 per year.Pelletier, 2007, p.160. Captains of smaller vessels in the inland and coastal trade earn between US$350 and US$700 per day, or US$65,000 to $180,000 per year. Captains of large ferries average US$56,794 annually. In 2005, 3,393 mariners held active unlimited master's licenses.Pelletier, 2007, p.45. 87 held near-coastal licenses with unlimited tonnage, 291 held unlimited tonnage master's licenses on inland and Great Lakes waters, while 1,044 held unlimited licenses upon inland waters only. Some 47,163 active masters licenses that year had tonnage restrictions, well over half of those being for near-coastal vessels of up to 100 tons
gross tonnage Gross tonnage (GT, G.T. or gt) is a nonlinear measure of a ship's overall internal volume. Gross tonnage is different from gross register tonnage. Neither gross tonnage nor gross register tonnage should be confused with measures of mass or weigh ...
. As of 2006, some 34,000 people were employed as captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels in the United States.Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008-2009, p. 4. The U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government responsible for occupational safety and health, ...
projects 18% growth in this occupation, expecting demand for 40,000 shipmasters in 2016.


Uniform

Uniforms are worn aboard many ships, or aboard any vessels of traditional and organized navigation companies, and are required by company regulation on passenger and cruise vessels. In the passenger-carrying trade a unified corporate image is often desired and it is useful for those unfamiliar with the vessel to be able to identify members of the crew and their function. Some companies and some countries use an
executive curl The executive curl, or the "Elliot's Eye", is the name given to the ring above a naval officer's gold lace or braid insignia. It originated with the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although war ...
similar to that of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
. In the United States, and in numerous other maritime countries, captains and officers of shipping companies may wear a or merchant marine regular uniform in conjunction with their employment. ;Rank insignia for sea captains GR mercantile marine Commander.svg, Greece Rank insignia of Comandante superiore of the Italian merchant Navy.svg, Italy (ships over 20,000 GRT) PL rank merchant marine d4kb.svg, Poland Pala Capitán M.Mercante.png, Spain British Merchant Navy Master (Captain) Rank.jpg, United Kingdom


Related terms


Master mariner


Captain's seniority

In a few countries, such as UK, USA and Italy, some captains with particular experience in navigation and command at sea, may be named
commodore Commodore may refer to: Ranks * Commodore (rank) Commodore is a senior naval rank used in many navies which is equivalent to brigadier and air commodore that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. It is either regarded as ...
or
senior captain Senior captain is a rank which is used in some countries' armed forces, navy, navies and merchant marines. Army In some army, armies of the world, the senior captain is a rank between a regular Captain (land and air), captain and a major. The rank ...
or ''captain senior grade''.


Master

The term ''master'' is descended from the Latin ''
magister Magister is Latin for "master" or "teacher". It may refer to: Positions and titles * Magister degree, an academic degree * Magister equitum, or Master of the Horse * Magister militum, a master of the soldiers * Magister officiorum (''master of off ...
navis'', used during the imperial Roman age to designate the nobleman (
patrician Patrician may refer to: * Patrician (ancient Rome), the original aristocratic families of ancient Rome, and a synonym for "aristocratic" in modern English usage * Patrician (post-Roman Europe), the governing elites of cities in parts of medieval a ...
) who was in ultimate authority on board a vessel. The ''magister navis'' had the right to wear the ''
laurus ''Laurus'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viruses. ...
'' or ''corona laurèa'' and the ''corona navalis''. Carrying on this tradition, the modern-day shipmaster of some nations wears golden
laurel Laurel may refer to: Plants * Lauraceae, the laurel family * Laurel (plant), including a list of trees and plants known as laurel People * Laurel (given name), people with the given name * Laurel (surname), people with the surname * Laurel (musi ...

laurel
leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit together form the shoot system. Leaves are ...

leaves
or golden
oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including on ...

oak
leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit together form the shoot system. Leaves are ...

leaves
on the visor of his cap.


Skipper

A skipper is a person who has
command COMMAND.COM is the default command-line interpreter A command-line interface (CLI) processes commands to a computer program in the form of lines of text. The program which handles the interface is called a command-line interpreter or comma ...
of a
boat A boat is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It m ...

boat
or
watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or n ...
or
tug A tugboat or tug is a marine vessel Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are Vehicle, vehicles used in and on water, including boats, ships, hovercraft, and submarines. Watercraft usually have a propulsive capabili ...

tug
, more or less equivalent to "captain in charge aboard
ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional propertie ...

ship
." At sea, or upon lakes and rivers, the skipper as shipmaster or captain has command over the whole crew. The skipper may or may not be the owner of the boat. The word is derived from the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
word ''schipper''; ''schip'' is Dutch for "ship". In Dutch ''sch-'' is pronounced and English-speakers rendered this as . The word "skipper" is used more than "captain" for some types of craft, for example
fishing boat A fishing vessel is a boat or ship used to catch fish in the sea, or on a lake or river. Many different kinds of vessels are used in Commercial fishing, commercial, Artisan fishing, artisanal and recreational fishing. The total number of fishing ...

fishing boat
s. It is also more frequently used than captain with privately owned noncommercial or semi-commercial vessels, such as small
yacht A yacht is a sailing or power vessel used for pleasure, cruising, or racing. There is no standard definition, so the term applies to such vessels that have a cabin with amenities that accommodate overnight use. To be termed a , as opposed to a , ...

yacht
s and other recreational boats, mostly in cases where the person in command of the boat may not be a licensed or professional captain, suggesting the term is less formal. In the U.S., a "skipper" who is in command of a charter vessel that carries paying passengers must be licensed by a state or the USCG. If the vessel carries over six paying passengers, it must be an "inspected vessel" and a higher class license must be obtained by the skipper/master depending on the vessel's gross tons. In the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
,
Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is an amphibious Amphibious means able to use either land or water. In particular it may refer to: * ''Amphibious'' (film), a 2010 film * Amphibious aircraft An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an airc ...
,
U.S. Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = " Anchors Aweigh" ...
, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and merchant naval slang, it is a term used in reference to the
commanding officer The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typ ...

commanding officer
of any ship, base, or other command regardless of rank. It is generally only applied to someone who has earned the speaker's respect, and only used with the permission of the commander/commanding officer in question. Skipper RNR was an actual rank used in the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
Royal Naval Reserve The Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) is one of the two volunteer reserve forces of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scot ...
for skippers of fishing boats who were members of the service. It was equivalent to
Warrant Officer Warrant officer (WO) is a rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two ...

Warrant Officer
. Skippers could also be promoted to Chief Skipper RNR (equivalent to Commissioned Warrant Officer) and Skipper
Lieutenant A lieutenant ( or abbreviated Lt., Lt, LT, Lieut and similar) is a commissioned officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, i ...

Lieutenant
RNR.


See also

* * * * List of sea captains * *


Notes


References

* * * * * * * *


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Captain (Nautical) Nautical terminology Marine occupations * Ship management