Merchant Marine Captain Job Description

Merchant marine captain are in charge of all aspects of their ships operations.

Primary objectives:

  • The Merchant Marines Captain is responsible to the owners of their ships for the safety of the vessels, crew, and the passengers or cargo.

  • The Merchant Marine Captain is responsible for the discipline of the crew and keeping order on board ship while they are out to sea.

  • The Merchant Marine Captain is sometimes called Masters.

The Merchant Marine Captain, usually rises through the ranks of deck command, which is made up of first, second, and third mate. The first mate is the Merchant Marine Captain’s most important assistant in assigning duties and maintaining orders issued by the captain. A first mate also plans the loading and unloading of cargo and assists the captain in taking the ship in and out of port. The second mate is traditionally, the navigation officer. While the third mate oversees the navigating bridge and the chart room, and maintains the signaling and life-saving equipment. The Merchant Marine Captain, must go through all these procedures before he can earn his positions.

The Merchant Marine Captains may act as the ship owners aged in dealing with custom officials, while they are at port. The Merchant Marine Captain may pay and keep records of wages for the ship’s other employees. The Merchant Marine Captain is responsible for the entire operation of the ship and its employees, while they are out at sea, and often when they are at a foreign port. The Merchant Marine Captain has the most senior job in the Merchant Marines. The Merchant Marine Captain must attend officer training schools; qualify for their jobs in a series of examinations over a period of years; and possess the leadership qualities needed to run large, complex organizations.

Prospective Merchant Marine Captains should attend one of the maritime academies that provide officer training:

  • The US Naval Academy.
  • The US Coast Guard Academy.
  • The US Merchant Marine Academy.
  • State Academies in California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Texas.

Merchant Marine Captains, who are candidates for the US Naval Academy or US Merchant Marine Academy, must be nominated by members of Congress. Applicants for the other academies are competitive. Applicants must be between 17 and 22 years of age, single, high school graduates, US citizens, and in good physical condition. The Academy provides three and four year programs in nautical science and practical sea experience. The Course of Studies Taken by the Merchant Marine Captains includes navigation, mathematics, electronics, propulsion systems, electrical engineering, languages, history, and shipping management. When a student graduates, they are qualified to work as a third mate in the Merchant Marine. The graduate must then apply for US Coast Guard certification to work on American ships. This is required for seamen, and officers that they certified by the Coast Guard, US citizens and possess as health certificates from the U.S. public health service.

A third may not be at leave 19 years old, in order to work the way up through the ranks of third, second, and first mate to captain, they must pass qualifying Coast Guard examinations at each rank. The length of service and the size of the ships on which I may as training is also a factor in being promoted to captain. Of course The Merchant Marine Captains are expected to attend a credited academy before being fully licensed to operate a ship. Most Merchant Marine Captains work for private enterprises, such his crew ship lines, cargo ships, and other types of seafaring vessels. The Merchant Marine Captain spends a lot of time on the ocean and has very little time to stay on dry land. This is one of the reasons why the academies prefer training young men who are not married.

The individual who dedicates his life to this type of question realizes that it is very difficult to have a life on land until they are in the middle ages. The Merchant Marine Captain normally considers himself married to the sea because he knows that he must dedicate most of his time board ship far away from his home. In reality the ship has become his home, but unfortunately, he may not get to stay board the same ship but transfer from one ship to another. Then again some Merchant Marine Captain stays aboard the same ship their whole career.

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