Ship Captain Job Description
A ship captain is someone who commands the crew and operations of a ship to ensure the ship’s safety and success in carrying out its functions. Their job involves studying maps and charts to determine the best route to a destination, organizing and overseeing crew activities, supervising the maintenance of the ship and supervising the loading, unloading and storage of cargo.
A ship captain should be well organized, disciplined, responsible and adaptable, and have the ability to work at sea, lead and manage a crew, and make good decisions under pressure. They should be familiar with the roles of all crew members to assist and direct them in carrying out their responsibilities.
What does a Ship Captain do?
Ship captains may do some or all of the following:
- direct and coordinate ship crew members
- monitor the position of the ship with navigational aids and charts and direct the piloting of the ship
- oversee the maintenance of the ship’s engines
- oversee the loading and unloading of passengers and cargo
- ensure that proper procedures and safety practices are observed in managing the ship’s activities
- inspect and examine the ship to ensure it is seaworthy and safe for passengers and crew
- manage the ship’s budget
- manage the evacuation of the ship in event of crisis
Where does a Ship Captain work?
Ship captains may travel onboard ships for up to 3 months at a stretch, and then take 3 months leave. They work at sea in all weather conditions.
What is Required to Become a Ship Captain ?
To become a ship captain, you will need years of seafaring experience. You can apply for the position of a deck officer or third officer, and after some years rising through the ranks and gaining the necessary experience, you will be qualified to become a ship captain. To qualify for the position of a deck officer or third officer, you'll need to pass medical and personality tests.
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Ship captains need to have:
- manual dexterity
- mechanical aptitude
- alertness and quickness
- confidence and assertiveness
- integrity and dependability
- physical strength and stamina
- good eyesight and normal color vision
- good memory
- good attention to detail
- good hand-eye coordination
- good interpersonal skills
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- good observational skills
- swimming skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organization skills
- leadership, persuasion and negotiation skills
- math and computer skills
- the ability to manage finance
- the ability to remain calm under pressure
- the ability to work at sea and cope with being away from home for long periods of time
- the ability to read and interpret maps, charts and diagrams
- knowledge of electrical and mechanical systems
- knowledge of safety procedures and methods
- knowledge of maritime laws and regulations
- knowledge of how to navigate and control a ship
- knowledge of ship engine maintenance
Should I be a Ship Captain ?
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