Who gets to call himself Captain?

Ok, whether you’re on a rowboat or the Knock Nevis, if you’re aboard a vessel and in charge you are the Captain but what about when you step ashore?<br><br>Some, like Richard Rodriguez call themselves captain despite only having worked on small boats. Most say you need a Master’s Unlimited license to call yourself captain and still others say you need varying amounts of seatime to go with that license. So what’s the answer?<br>

I have always been somewhat bemused by this pissing contest in the maritime industry. In the aviation world, no one would think to question whether the captain of a regional jet is really a captain, just because he’s never been pilot in command of a 747, yet in our industry it is common and even encouraged by some to minimize the guy with the small license who runs a little boat, as if somehow length, breadth, and draft determine authenticity. It is an uncomplicated case of responsibility, trust, command, and liability, not a question of limited vs unlimited tonnage, six-pack dive boat vs VLCC, or most importantly the priceless value of the lives placed in the hands of a Master that gives him/her the privilege of calling himself/herself Captain.<br><br>If you hold a license as Master, regardless of tonnage or route, and
you have borne the mantle of responsibility for lives and cargo by
sailing on that license as Master, you have every right to call
yourself Captain. If you hold a Master’s license but never have sailed
as Master, you’re a Mate.

We’re in agreement Doug.

…and if you’re from Australia, you’re a mate and a captain.

I’d have to agre with Doug as well - I know some people who have their Unlimited Master’s, but have never sailed on it, and DEMAND to be called Captain - and when you don’t they get pissed. But I always understood it, like Doug says, that if you’ve never sailed on it, you’re still a Mate.

Are we all in agreement that minnisupplyman is called “Captain” then?

Right then, mate! Captain Minnisupplyman then, right, mate?

Among professional mariners, the title “Captain” is generally reserved
for someone who has served in command of a merchant vessel greater then 3000 ITC, and not for
someone who may hold a command license but has never been appointed to
a command position. Below 3000 ITC would be referred to as a Skipper.

That’s a new one on me.

I’ll gladly call a yacht owner skipper, but I won’t insult the licensed Master of any commercial vessel below an arbitrary tonnage number by relegating him to a lesser class. Master is master is master is master… tonnage be damned, and as far as the USCG is concerned when you wind up across the green felt table from them, master is master is master is master…

Way back when in my small passenger vessel days, I had a deckhand who passed his license exam. The next day, he showed up wearing four-stripe epaulets. I asked him what the hell he was doing, and he told me that “I’m a Captain now and I’ll wear four stripes.” I last saw him walking up the dock after I sent him packing.<br><br>It ain’t the piece of paper, it is the responsibility that earns you the title as Captain.

A 1600ton master commands the vessel (maneuvers, docking, etc) while Unlimited masters Command the operation (routes, people, office, weather). That is why the later is called a Captain ashore and the former is only called a captain aboard his vessel.<br><br>For example the mark of a good limited captain is a safe and successful voyage while that of the unlimited captain is safe and successful future voyages. Both should be able to dock a ship but only the later has to be able to do it hands-free and blindfolded (e.g. asleep in his cabin).

1600ton masters sleep as well.<br><br>The only difference is the size of the boat and some variations in skill-set,but like Capt_Anonymous said…the responsibility is the same and that’s the true measuring stick… “master is master is master is master…” <br><br><br>

ds,<br><br>Are you serious? As a 1600 ton master Oceans, I’m surprised to learn that I don’t have control over my crew, my route, my vessel, and I’m surprised to learn that an unlimited master (if I read your post correctly) commands the weather. Hmmm… I learn something new every day!<br><br>I don’t know an unlimited master worth his salt who sleeps while the pilot docks his ship.

<A href="http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/gcaptains-newest-contributer-john-denham/]John Denham</A> asked me to post this for him:<br><br><br>“The subject article and comments are obviously not in response to VOX OCEANUS article in PMM July 2008 issue. In my 66 years of experience, as varied and complex as it is I have accepted that Captain was a person in charge, in command a leader and most important, responsible. There are several classifications of captain: those employed as Master:of a vessel, those in command of a vessel, and those appointed by federal, state or a local political sub-division of government. Holding a Master license certifies one has been duty examined and found competent by the undersigned etc.My last re-issue was signed by a Boatswain Mate Chief of the U.S. GUARD.Professionals know the difference; they usually ask of what?” . JGD

<P>Well being the founder of gCaptain and holding a Master’s Unlimited but not having sailed in the position of master for more then short term relief I can tell you my policy. If the article (or email, snail mail, comment…) is likely to be read by people unfamiliar with the industry and the article is an editorial or just needs to be placed in context, I add the title. Otherwise I leave it off. I am also guilty of using the title when money is involved, like when contacting potential advertisers ;)<br><br>I don’t care much what other people of various tonnages do… the only “captains” who bother me are those who put the title on all their magazine subscriptions while the ink is still wet on their license. What’s the point?<br><br></P>

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px]<STRONG><EM>Being a Captain is like being a pretty girl, if you have to tell people you are then you’re not!</EM></STRONG></span>

<p class="MsoNormal] John, <p class="MsoNormal] We actually have a guy a Chouest
that changed his first name to “Captain”…legally!!! LOL. Even
though some actually fit the aforementioned definition of “Captain”, I still reserve
the right to substitute “RETARD” where appropriate…like in this

After reading this, Capt.Lee might have to change his screen name. I bet “Rear Admiral” was his first choice anyway.LOL.

It doesn’t have the same ring to it. Although anchorman was referred to as the “COMMANDER” of the Laney Chouest in a Professional Mariner Article when the boat was new. He is not the Captain… he is the “COMMANDER”!!!