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Ship Captain

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Life As a Ship Captain

Job Description & Duties Command vessels in oceans, bays, lakes, rivers, or coastal waters.

Daily Life Of a Ship Captain

  • Assign watches or living quarters to crew members.
  • Adjust navigation according to weather conditions.
  • Perform various marine duties, such as checking for oil spills or other pollutants around ports or harbors or patrolling beaches.
  • Read gauges to verify sufficient levels of hydraulic fluid, air pressure, or oxygen.
  • Signal crew members or deckhands to rig tow lines, open or close gates or ramps, or pull guard chains across entries.
  • Calculate sightings of land, using electronic sounding devices and following contour lines on charts.

Qualities of a Ship Captain

Ship Captains state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

  • Ship Captain
  • Dock Master
  • Master Mariner
  • Steamboat Captain
  • Fishing Vessel Captain

What Kind of Ship Captain Job Opportunities Are There?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 38,800 jobs in the United States for Ship Captain. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 3,400 new jobs for Ship Captain by 2026. There will be an estimated 4,400 positions for Ship Captain per year.

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The states with the most job growth for Ship Captain are Nevada, Georgia, and Tennessee. Watch out if you plan on working in Kentucky, Indiana, or Oregon. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Ship Captain

The typical yearly salary for Ship Captains is somewhere between $35,410 and $144,690.

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Ship Captains who work in Texas, Oregon, or Maryland, make the highest salaries.

How much do Ship Captains make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $79,750
Alaska $72,570
California $70,840
Delaware $74,790
Florida $78,880
Georgia $73,410
Hawaii $52,830
Illinois $67,020
Iowa $75,600
Kentucky $79,130
Louisiana $93,010
Maine $61,410
Maryland $86,460
Massachusetts $57,700
Michigan $83,040
Minnesota $73,910
New Hampshire $51,490
New Jersey $75,170
New York $95,370
North Carolina $55,710
Ohio $47,810
Oregon $100,150
Pennsylvania $74,780
South Carolina $67,090
Tennessee $54,480
Texas $103,950
Virginia $77,370
Washington $90,890
Wisconsin $48,190

Tools & Technologies Used by Ship Captains

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Ship Captains:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Autodesk Revit
  • Computerized maintenance management system CMMS
  • Log book software
  • Jeppesen Marine Nobeltec Admiral
  • Maptech The CAPN
  • KNMI TurboWin

Becoming a Ship Captain

Education needed to be a Ship Captain:

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Who Employs Ship Captains?

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Ship Captains work in the following industries:

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Are you already one of the many Ship Captain in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: via CC0 Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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