Vessel Captain –
Q. What does your job entail?
A. I’m in charge of a fairly small ship, but my job is the same as any ship captain’s, which means that I am fully responsible for the ship and crew. I delegate the tasks to other members and head up navigation, scheduling, maintenance, engineering, etc. Our ship travels to and from ports in Florida.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of your job?
A. The time I get to spend with my crew, especially on long voyages. You get to become a family.
Q. What is your least favorite aspect of your job?
A. Coming into port. It’s bittersweet, especially when crewmembers aren’t coming back for more work with us. I also don’t like dealing with port relations. Every port has its own rules, and it can be a hassle to keep the information straight.
Q. What skills do you need to be a good ship captain?
A. Patience, above all. You’ll mix with a number of people, and some you won’t like, but you still have to deal with them to get the job done. You also have to be organized so that everything that needs to happen happens. I suppose it takes a bit of bravery as well. There’s that whole “a captain goes down with his ship” thing. I have a family at home, so I don’t think that’s necessarily true, but if I was ever in a situation where my ship was sinking, the safety of my crew would come first.
Q. What kind of training would you recommend to become a ship captain?
A. That depends on the ship. If you buy a yacht, you’re a captain! However, to work commercially, you do need some training. You can go to school in a maritime field or work your way up from a lower deckhand position over a number of years. Usually a combination of both. Navy experience helps, too.
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Q. What would surprise people about your job?
A. Most things. I mean, when people think of a ship captain, they’re likely to think of someone who spends most of his days divvying out tasks. That’s somewhat true, but I work right alongside my crew as well.