|Other names||Ship's captain, ship's master, shipmaster, captain, master|
|Duties||In charge of a merchant ship.|
|Requirements||master's license or extra master's license or commissioned officer|
A sea captain, ship's captain, captain, master, or shipmaster, is a high-grade licensed mariner who holds ultimate command and responsibility of a merchant vessel.The captain is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the ship, including its seaworthiness, safety and security, cargo operations, navigation, crew management, and legal compliance, and for the persons and cargo on board.
|Contract of carriage/Charterparty|
The captain ensures that the ship complies with local and international laws and complies also with company and flag state policies.The captain is ultimately responsible, under the law, for aspects of operation such as the safe navigation of the ship, its cleanliness and seaworthiness, safe handling of all cargo, management of all personnel, inventory of ship's cash and stores, and maintaining the ship's certificates and documentation.
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's ISPS Code.The plan, customized to meet the needs of each individual ship, spells out duties including conducting searches and inspections, maintaining restricted spaces, and responding to threats from terrorists, hijackers, pirates, and stowaways. The security plan also covers topics such as refugees and asylum seekers, smuggling, and saboteurs.
On ships without a purser, the captain is in charge of the ship's accounting.This includes ensuring an adequate amount of cash on board, coordinating the ship's payroll (including draws and advances), and managing the ship's slop chest.
On international voyages, the captain is responsible for satisfying requirements of the local immigration and customs officials.Immigration issues can include situations such as embarking and disembarking passengers, handling crew members who desert the ship, making crew changes in port, and making accommodations for foreign crew members. 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.
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 investigatorsand is responsible for providing complete and accurate logbooks, reports, statements and evidence to document an incident. Specific examples of the ship causing external damage include collisions with other ships or with fixed objects, grounding the vessel, and dragging anchor. Some common causes of cargo damage include heavy weather, water damage, pilferage, and damage caused during loading/unloading by the stevedores.
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.
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, 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, there have been a few contradictory legal precedents: courts did not recognize a shipboard marriage in California's 1898 Norman v. Normanbut did in New York's 1929 Fisher v. Fisher (notwithstanding the absence of municipal laws so carried) and in 1933's Johnson v. Baker, an 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'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 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.A ship's master can, however, conduct a church service, regardless of any clergy aboard.
Spanishand 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 allows ship captains to perform a marriage ceremony at sea, but only for Japanese citizens. Malta,Bermuda and the Bahamas permit captains of ships registered in their jurisdictions to perform marriages at sea. Princess Cruises, whose ships are registered in Bermuda, has used this as a selling point for their cruises, while Cunard moved the registration of its ships Queen Mary 2 , Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth from Southampton 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 Queen , and episodes of The Love Boat , How I Met Your Mother, The Office and various Star Trek series.
As of 2008, the U.K. Learning and Skills Council lists annual salaries for senior deck officers as ranging from £22,000 to over £50,000 per year.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.
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.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.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.
As of 2006, some 34,000 people were employed as captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels in the United States.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 18% growth in this occupation, expecting demand for 40,000 shipmasters in 2016.
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 similar to that of the Royal Navy.
In the United States, and in numerous other maritime countries, captains and officers of shipping companies may wear a merchant navy or merchant marine regular uniform in conjunction with their employment.
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 or senior captain or captain senior grade.
The term master is descended from the Latin magister navis , used during the imperial Roman age to designate the nobleman (patrician) who was in ultimate authority on board a vessel. The magister navis had the right to wear the laurus or corona laurèa and the corona navalis. Carrying on this tradition, the modern-day shipmaster of some nations wears golden laurel leaves or golden oak leaves on the visor of his cap.
A skipper (sometimes also serving as the helmansperson, helmsman, or driver) is a person who has command of a boat or watercraft or tug, more or less equivalent to "captain in charge aboard 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 word schipper; schip is Dutch for "ship". In Dutch sch- is pronounced [sx] and English-speakers rendered this as [sk].
The word "skipper" is used more than "captain" for some types of craft, for example fishing boats.
It is also more frequently used than captain with privately owned noncommercial or semi-commercial vessels, such as small yachts 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, Royal Marines, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and merchant naval slang, it is a term used in reference to the 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 Royal Naval Reserve for skippers of fishing boats who were members of the service. It was equivalent to Warrant Officer. Skippers could also be promoted to Chief Skipper RNR (equivalent to Commissioned Warrant Officer) and Skipper Lieutenant RNR.
Maritime transport and hydraulic effluvial transport, or more generally waterborne transport, is the transport of people (passengers) or goods (cargo) via waterways. Freight transport by sea has been widely used throughout recorded history. The advent of aviation has diminished the importance of sea travel for passengers, though it is still popular for short trips and pleasure cruises. Transport by water is cheaper than transport by air, despite fluctuating exchange rates and a fee placed on top of freighting charges for carrier companies known as the currency adjustment factor. Maritime transport accounts for roughly 80% of international trade, according to UNCTAD in 2020.
Seamanship is the art, knowledge and competence of operating a ship, boat or other craft on water. The Oxford Dictionary states that seamanship is "The skill, techniques, or practice of handling a ship or boat at sea."
The United States Merchant Marine refers to either United States civilian mariners, or to U.S. civilian and federally owned merchant vessels. Both the civilian mariners and the merchant vessels are managed by a combination of the government and private sectors, and engage in commerce or transportation of goods and services in and out of the navigable waters of the United States. The Merchant Marine primarily transports cargo and passengers during peacetime; in times of war, the Merchant Marine can be an auxiliary to the United States Navy, and can be called upon to deliver military personnel and materiel for the military. Merchant Marine officers may also be commissioned as military officers by the Department of Defense. This is commonly achieved by commissioning unlimited tonnage Merchant Marine officers as Strategic Sealift Officers in the United States Navy Reserve.
The Merchant Navy is the maritime register of the United Kingdom and comprises the seagoing commercial interests of UK-registered ships and their crews. Merchant Navy vessels fly the Red Ensign and are regulated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). King George V bestowed the title of "Merchant Navy" on the British merchant shipping fleets following their service in the First World War; a number of other nations have since adopted the title. Previously it had been known as the Mercantile Marine or Merchant Service, although the term "Merchant Navy" was already informally used from the 19th century.
This is a glossary of nautical terms; some remain current, while many date from the 17th to 19th centuries.
Deadweight tonnage or tons deadweight (DWT) is a measure of how much weight a ship can carry. It is the sum of the weights of cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water, provisions, passengers, and crew.
A chief mate (C/M) or chief officer, usually also synonymous with the first mate or first officer, is a licensed mariner and head of the deck department of a merchant ship. The chief mate is customarily a watchstander and is in charge of the ship's cargo and deck crew. The actual title used will vary by ship's employment, by type of ship, by nationality, and by trade: for instance, chief mate is not usually used in the Commonwealth, although chief officer and first mate are; on passenger ships, the first officer may be a separate position from that of the chief officer that is junior to the latter.
A second mate or second officer (2/O) is a licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship holding a Second Mates Certificate of Competency, which is issued by the administration. The second mate is the third in command and a watchkeeping officer, customarily the ship's navigator. Other duties vary, but the second mate is often the medical officer and in charge of maintaining distress signaling equipment. On oil tankers, the second mate usually assists the chief mate with the Cargo operations.
A third mate (3/M) or third officer is a licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The third mate is a watchstander and customarily the ship's safety officer and fourth-in-command. The position is junior to a second mate. Other duties vary depending on the type of ship, its crewing, and other factors.
Seafaring is a tradition that encompasses a variety of professions and ranks. Each of these roles carries unique responsibilities that are integral to the successful operation of a seafaring vessel. A ship's crew can generally be divided into four main categories: the deck department, the engineering department, the steward's department, and other. The reasoning behind this is that a ship's bridge, filled with sophisticated navigational equipment, requires skills differing from those used on deck operations – such as berthing, cargo and/or military devices – which in turn requires skills different from those used in a ship's engine room and propulsion, and so on.
The USS Guinevere (IX-67) was a patrol vessel of the United States Navy that operated in service from 1942 to 1945.
An able seaman (AB) is a seaman and member of the deck department of a merchant ship with more than two years' experience at sea and considered "well acquainted with his duty". An AB may work as a watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these roles. Once a sufficient amount of sea time is acquired, then the AB can apply to take a series of courses/examinations to become certified as an officer.
Commodore John William Anderson was the longest serving captain of the SS United States, the fastest ocean liner in history. In 1952, he relieved Commodore Harry Manning as master of the superliner after the recordbreaking voyage on which she broke the translantic speed record previously held by the RMS Queen Mary and captured the Blue Riband for the United States.
Defensively equipped merchant ship (DEMS) was an Admiralty Trade Division programme established in June 1939, to arm 5,500 British merchant ships with an adequate defence against enemy submarines and aircraft. The acronym DEMS was used to describe the ships carrying the guns, the guns aboard the ships, the military personnel manning the guns, and the shore establishment supporting the system.
The displacement or displacement tonnage of a ship is its weight. As the term indicates, it is measured indirectly, using Archimedes' principle, by first calculating the volume of water displaced by the ship, then converting that value into weight. Traditionally, various measurement rules have been in use, giving various measures in long tons. Today, tonnes are more commonly used.
A master mariner is a licensed mariner who holds the highest grade of seafarer qualification; namely, an unlimited master's license. Such a license is labelled unlimited because it has no limits on the tonnage, power, or geographic location of the vessel that the holder of the license is allowed to serve upon. A master mariner would therefore be allowed to serve as the master of a merchant ship of any size, of any type, operating anywhere in the world, and it reflects the highest level of professional qualification amongst mariners and deck officers.
The Friendship of Salem is a 171-foot replica of the Friendship, a 1797 East Indiaman. It was built in 2000 in the Scarano Brothers Shipyard in Albany, New York. The ship usually operates as a stationary museum ship during most of the year. But it is a fully functioning United States Coast Guard-certified vessel capable of passenger and crew voyages; it makes special sailings during various times of the year. The Friendship of Salem is docked at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, established in 1938 as the first such site in the United States. The site, which includes several structures, artifacts and records, is operated by the National Park Service.
"The captain goes down with the ship" is a maritime tradition that a sea captain holds ultimate responsibility for both their ship and everyone embarked on it, and in an emergency will either save those on board or die trying. Although often connected to the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912 and its captain, Edward J. Smith, the tradition precedes Titanic by at least 11 years. In most instances, captains forgo their own rapid departure of a ship in distress, and concentrate instead on saving other people. It often results in either the death or belated rescue of the captain as the last person on board.
RMS Lady Hawkins was a steam turbine ocean liner. She was one of a class of five sister ships popularly known as "Lady Boats" that Cammell Laird of Birkenhead, England built in 1928 and 1929 for the Canadian National Steamship Company. The five vessels were Royal Mail Ships that CN operated from Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Caribbean via Bermuda. In 1942 the German submarine U-66 sank Lady Hawkins in the North Atlantic, killing 251 of the 322 people aboard.
The Centre of Maritime Studies and Engineering is a vocational maritime school located in Tórshavn. It offers three year shipmaster and marine engineer courses as well as other maritime related courses. It was established in 2005 after the merger of the Faroese Nautical School, the Engineers School and the Faroese Firefighting School.