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Ship and Boat Captains


Tasks and Duties

Job Requirements



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Monterey Peninsula College
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Ship and Boat Captains

Tasks and Duties

  • Calculate sightings of land, using electronic sounding devices, and following contour lines on charts.
  • Compute positions, set courses, and determine speeds, by using charts, area plotting sheets, compasses, sextants, and knowledge of local conditions.
  • Direct and coordinate crew members or workers performing activities such as loading and unloading cargo, steering vessels, operating engines, and operating, maintaining, and repairing ship equipment.
  • Inspect vessels to ensure efficient and safe operation of vessels and equipment, and conformance to regulations.
  • Maintain records of daily activities, personnel reports, ship positions and movements, ports of call, weather and sea conditions, pollution control efforts, and/or cargo and passenger status.
  • Monitor the loading and discharging of cargo or passengers.
  • Signal crew members or deckhands to rig tow lines, open or close gates and ramps, and pull guard chains across entries.
  • Steer and operate vessels, using radios, depth finders, radars, lights, buoys, and lighthouses.
  • Arrange for ships to be fueled, restocked with supplies, and/or repaired.
  • Assign watches and living quarters to crew members.
  • Collect fares from customers, or signal ferryboat helpers to collect fares.
  • Interview and hire crew members.
  • Maintain boats and equipment on board, such as engines, winches, navigational systems, fire extinguishers, and life preservers.
  • Measure depths of water, using depth-measuring equipment.
  • Purchase supplies and equipment.
  • Read gauges to verify sufficient levels of hydraulic fluid, air pressure, and oxygen.
  • Resolve questions or problems with customs officials.
  • Signal passing vessels, using whistles, flashing lights, flags, and radios.
  • Tow and maneuver barges, or signal tugboats to tow barges to destinations.
  • Contact buyers to sell cargo such as fish.
  • Perform various marine duties such as checking for oil spills or other pollutants around ports and harbors, and patrolling beaches.
  • Sort logs, form log booms, and salvage lost logs.



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This project is supported, in part, by the NationalScience Foundation.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation .