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Ship and Boat Captains - 53-5021.01

O*NET-SOC Description

Command vessels in oceans, bays, lakes, rivers, or coastal waters.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

  • Boat Captain
  • Boat Operator
  • Captain
  • Charter Boat Captain
  • Ferry Boat Captain
  • Harbor Tug Captain
  • Relief Captain
  • Ship Captain
  • Tug Captain
  • Tugboat Captain

SOC Occupation Groups

Related Occupations


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

Detailed Work Activities

  • Acquire supplies or equipment.
  • Arrange maintenance activities.
  • Choose optimal transportation routes or speeds.
  • Collect fares or payment from customers.
  • Communicate with others to coordinate material handling or movement.
  • Determine geographic coordinates.
  • Direct emergency management activities.
  • Direct maintenance or repair activities.
  • Direct material handling or moving activities.
  • Direct passenger or freight transport activities.
  • Maintain watercraft engines or machinery.
  • Measure the level or depth of water or other liquids.
  • Monitor equipment gauges or displays to ensure proper operation.
  • Monitor loading processes to ensure they are performed properly.
  • Monitor surroundings to detect potential hazards.
  • Operate ships or other watercraft.
  • Recommend personnel decisions or human resources activities.
  • Record operational details of travel.
  • Resolve issues affecting transportation operations.
  • Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement.
  • Sort materials or objects for processing or transport.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Boatswain's Mate (Coast Guard - Enlisted)
  • Boatswain's Mate (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Boatswain's Mate Basic (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Cannon Crewmember (Army - Enlisted)
  • Causeway Lighterage Craftmaster (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Cavalry Scout (Army - Enlisted)
  • Combat Engineer (Army - Enlisted)
  • Combat Medic Specialist (Army - Enlisted)
  • Commanding Officer, Afloat (Captain) (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Commanding Officer, Afloat (Commander) (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Commanding Officer, Afloat (Lieutenant Commander) (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Commanding Officer, Afloat (Lieutenant) (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Commanding Officer, Afloat (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • CWO - Special Warfare Combatant-Craft (Navy - Warrant Officer only)
  • Infantryman (Army - Enlisted)
  • Landing Craft Air Cushion Craftmaster (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Landing Craft Utility Craftsmaster (Navy - Enlisted)
  • LCAC Loadmaster (Navy - Enlisted)
  • LDO - Special Warfare Technician (Navy - Commissioned Officer only)
  • M1 Armor Crewman (Army - Enlisted)
  • Marine Deck Officer (Army - Warrant Officer only)
  • Marine Engineering Officer (Army - Warrant Officer only)
  • Military Police (Army - Enlisted)
  • Officer in Charge, Afloat (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Officer in Charge, Combat Craft (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • RL - Special Duty Officer - Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) (Navy - Commissioned Officer only)
  • Special Warfare Boat Operator (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman Master (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman Senior (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Submarine Rescue Systems Officer (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Superintendent (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Tugmaster (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Unit Supply Specialist (Army - Enlisted)
  • URL - Special Warfare (Navy - Commissioned Officer only)
  • URL - Surface Warfare (Navy - Commissioned Officer only)
  • Watercraft Operator (Army - Enlisted)
  • Wheeled Vehicle Repairer (Army - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

No information available.

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Barge Captain
  • Captain, Fishing Vessel
  • Deep Submergence Vehicle Operator
  • Derrick-Boat Captain
  • Dredge Captain
  • Ferryboat Captain
  • Ferryboat Operator
  • Master, Passenger Barge
  • Master, Riverboat
  • Master, Ship
  • Master, Yacht
  • Tugboat Captain