A yacht captain (also called a master or a shipmaster) is a licensed mariner in ultimate command of the yacht. The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with local and international laws, as well as company and flag state policies. All persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, passengers, guests and pilots, are under the captain’s authority and are his ultimate responsibility.  Crewed yacht charter captain A ship’s captain commands and manages all ship’s personnel, and is typically in charge of the ship’s accounting, payrolls, and inventories. The captain is responsible for compliance with immigration and customs regulations, maintaining the ship’s certificates and documentation, compliance with the vessel’s security plan, as mandated by the International Maritime Organization. The captain is responsible for responding to and reporting in case of accidents and incidents, and in case of injuries and illness among the ship’s crew and passengers. Charter A ship’s captain must have a master’s license or certificate, issued by the ship’s flag state. Various types of licenses exist, specifying the maximum vessel size indicated in gross tonnage and in what geographic areas the captain can operate. An unlimited master’s license or certificate (usually known as a master mariner’s certificate) allows the captain to operate any vessel worldwide. Restricted tonnage licenses include vessel categories down to 200 gross tonnage and below. Examples of licenses with restricted geographic scope include those issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for the Great Lakes, inland waters, and near coastal waters or issued by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) for near coastal voyages. A candidate for an unlimited master’s license requires several years of seagoing experience as a deck officer and must have completed various nautical studies at a maritime college or academy.

Yacht Captain’s Responsibilities

The captain ensures that the ship complies with local and international laws and complies also with company policies. The captain is ultimately responsible, under the law, for aspects of operation such as the safe navigation of the ship, its cleanliness and seaworthiness, safe handling of all cargo, management of all personnel, inventory of ship’s cash and stores, and maintaining the ship’s certificates and documentation. One of a shipmaster’s particularly important duties is to ensure compliance with the vessel’s security plan, as required by the International Maritime Organization’s ISPS Code. The plan, customized to meet the needs of each individual ship, spells out duties including conducting searches and inspections, maintaining restricted spaces, and responding to threats from terrorists, hijackers, pirates, and stowaways. The security plan also covers topics such as refugees and asylum seekers, smuggling, and saboteurs. On ships without a purser, the captain is in charge of the ship’s accounting. This includes ensuring an adequate amount of cash on board, coordinating the ship’s payroll (including draws and advances), and managing the ship’s slop chest. On international voyages, the captain is responsible for satisfying requirements of the local immigration and customs officials. Immigration issues can include situations such as embarking and disembarking passengers, handling crewmembers who desert the ship, making crew-changes in port, and making accommodations for foreign crewmembers. Customs requirements can include the master providing a passanger and cargo declaration, a declaration of crewmembers’ personal effects, crew lists and passenger lists. The captain has special responsibilities when the ship or its cargo are damaged, when the ship causes damage to other vessels or facilities, and in the case of injury or death of a crewmember or passenger. The master acts as a liaison to local investigators and is responsible for providing complete and accurate logbooks, reports, statements and evidence to document an incident. Specific examples of the ship causing external damage include collisions (two ships collide with each other), allisions (one ship collides with another), grounding the vessel, and dragging anchor. Some common causes of cargo damage include heavy weather, water damage, pilferage, and damage caused during operations Finally, the master is responsible to address any medical issues affecting the passengers and crew by providing medical care as possible, cooperating with shore-side medical personnel, and, as necessary, evacuating those who need more assistance than can be provided on-board the ship.

A ship’s captain must have a number of qualifications, including a license. To become a master of vessels of any gross tons upon oceans in the United States, one must first accumulate at least 365 days of service while holding a chief mate’s license. The chief mate’s license, in turn, requires at least 365 days of service while holding a second mate’s license, passing a battery of examinations, and approximately 13 weeks of classes. Similarly, one must have worked as a third mate for 365 days to have become a second mate. There are two methods to attain an unlimited third mate’s license in the United States: to attend a specialized training institution, or to accumulate “sea time” and take a series of training classes and examinations.[27] Training institutions that can lead to a third mate’s license include the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (deck curriculum), the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Naval Academy with qualification as an underway officer in charge of a navigational watch, any of the Five state maritime colleges in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, or California or the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, or a three-year apprentice mate training program approved by the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. A seaman may start the process of attaining a license after three years of service in the deck department on ocean steam or motor vessels, at least six months of which as able seaman, boatswain, or quartermaster. Then the seaman takes required training courses, and completes on-board assessments. Finally, the mariner can apply to the United States Coast Guard for a third mate’s license. ( yacht charter  ) An alternate method of obtaining a license as a master of vessels of any gross tons upon oceans, without sailing as a third, second, or chief mate, is to obtain one year of seatime as a 1st class pilot of any gross tons or mate of vessels of any gross tons upon Great Lakes and inland waters. Then pass an examination for the license of master of vessels of any gross tons upon Great Lakes and inland waters. A master of vessels of any gross tons upon Great Lakes and inland waters may, without any additional seatime, take the examination for master of vessels of any gross tons upon near coastal waters. If the candidate does not already have sufficient deep sea experience he may with six months of additional seatime, in any licensed capacity, take a partial examination consisting primarily of celestial navigation and have the near coastal restriction removed. 46CFR 11.403 A master of 1,600 ton vessels can, under certain circumstances, begin the application process for an unlimited third mate’s license. If approved the applicant must then successfully pass a comprehensive license examination before being issued the license. Hawsepiper is a maritime industry term used to refer to an officer who began his or her career as an unlicensed merchant seaman, as opposed to earning his third mate’s license by attending a maritime college or academy. The term derives from a ship’s hawsepipe, the opening on the ship’s bow through which the anchor chain passes. A mariner is said to have “climbed up the hawsepipe,” a nautical metaphor for climbing up the ship’s rank structure. Since the requirements of STCW ’95 have been enacted, there have been complaints that the hawsepiper progression path has been made too difficult because of the cost in time and money to meet formal classroom training requirements. These critics assert that the newer requirements will eventually lead to a shortage of qualified mariners, especially in places like the United States. Several merchant seamen’s unions offer their membership the required training for career advancement. Similarly, some employers offer financial assistance to pay for the training for their employees. Otherwise, the mariner is responsible for the cost of the required training. captain’s Uniform A captain’s emblem that features the “executive loop.” The traditional sleeve emblem for captains is four gold stripes (often called “rings”) on the lower sleeve or shoulderboard. Many navies follow the precedent of the Royal Navy and have an “executive loop” also known as a “Nelson” on the top or inner ring. Often harbormasters have a fouled anchor or other local symbol on the gold rings. Uniform is still worn aboard many ships, or aboard any vessels of traditional and organized navigation companies, and is required by company regulation on passenger and cruise vessels. It is not unusual for ship’s officers to have to dress in uniform to go into the wardroom after a certain time of day and it may be expected for entry into the saloon for dinner. Uniform at sea may consist of navy blue trousers, black shoes, white navy regular shirt and epaulets denoting rank. Full uniform involving a navy blue or reefer jacket and hat may be required during particular activities other than at remembrance services, marriages, and so forth. In the passenger-carrying trade a unified corporate image is often desired and it is useful for those unfamiliar with the vessel to be able to identify members of the crew and their function. In this case, captains on duty usually wear the four stripes and rings with the traditional emblem or design of their particular shipping company or vessel’s nationality. Some companies and countries use an executive loop (also called Nelson loop) similar to that of the Royal Navy. Captain and officers on British ships often wear the traditional diamond shape within the stripes. This represents a blade of a ship’s propeller. It should be worn on the correct direction with the overlapping loop facing forward. In the United States, and in others numerous maritime countries, captains and officers of shipping companies may wear a merchant navy or merchant marine regular uniform when aboard ship. The captain’s uniform also consists of a navy blue or white peaked cap, with a badge at the front: traditionally this would be the shipping line’s house flag or company logo within a golden wreath of oak leaves. However, in the UK, Italy and in certain other historical maritime countries, many captains and officers instead wear the standard Merchant Navy cap badge, which is an anchor on a red or blue oval, within a golden wreath of oak or laurel leaves and topped by a Old Roman- naval crown in Latin corona navalis. On the visor of the captain’s cap is one row for each side of golden oak leaves or golden laurel leaves (or “scrambled eggs”) along the edge. In a few other merchant navies, the captain’s cap visor is added with a 6/8 golden-lace forming sea waves shape along the edge. Related terms are : master mariner The International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA) The Council of American Master Mariners The Honourable Company of Master Mariners The Company of Master Mariners of Australia The Irish Institute of Master Mariners The Company of Master Mariners of Canada The Company of Master Mariners of Sri Lanka Captain’s seniority

In a few countries, some captains with particular and requested experiences in terms of navigation and in terms of command at sea, depending by application of different countries’ laws, will be named senior captain. Magister navis The term master came from old Latin language used during the imperial Roman age, from the old Roman term magister navis, that is, the nobleman patrizio designated as maximum authority on board the vessel. The magister navis had the right to use the laurus or corona laurèa. From this old roman age tradition the modern shipmaster of a few nations use to wear on the cap’s vizor the golden laurel leaves. Sailing master (naval) Master (naval) In the Royal Navy in the days of sail, “master” was often used as an abbreviation for the sailing master, the warrant officer responsible for the navigation and steering of the vessel. The position of sailing master was later commissioned and renamed the navigating officer.[citation needed] The navigating officer on a flagship, however, continued to be known as the master of the fleet until after the Second World War. This term and this charge on board naval ships is far and different from master mariner that is the officer or person qualified and designated to assume the command as captain aboard merchant ships. Skipper A skipper is a person who has command of a boat or sea-craft or tug, more or less equivalent to “captain in charge aboard ship.” At sea, the skipper as shipmaster or captain has the absolute command over the crew. The skipper may or may not be the owner of the yacht. The word is derived from the low German and Dutch word schipper; schip is Dutch for “ship”. In Dutch sch- is pronounced [sx] and English-speakers rendered this as. The word “skipper” is used more than “captain” for some types of craft, for example fishing boats. It is also more frequently used than captain with privately-owned noncommercial vessels, such as small yachts and other recreational boats, mostly in cases where the person in command of the boat is likely not a licensed or professional captain, suggesting the term is less formal. In Navy/Marine Corps and merchant naval slang, it is a term used in reference to the commanding officer of any ship, base, or command regardless of rank. It is generally only applied to someone who has earned the speaker’s respect, and only used with the permission of the commander in question. Skipper RNR was an actual rank used in the British Royal Naval Reserve for skippers of fishing boats who were members of the service. It was equivalent to Warrant Officer. Skippers could also be promoted to Chief Skipper RNR (equivalent to Commissioned Warrant Officer) and Skipper Lieutenant Rnr.



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