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Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels Career Video

Description: Command or supervise operations of ships and water vessels, such as tugboats and ferryboats. Required to hold license issued by U.S. Coast Guard.


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Video Transcript

Seafaring is not just a career…it’s a lifestyle. Captains, mates and ship pilots spend their days on the water on vessels of all sizes…on inland lakes and rivers, as well as the open sea. The captain is responsible for every aspect of the voyage and vessel. They set course and speed, direct crew members, and ensure that proper procedures are followed, keeping logs and records of the ship's movements and cargo, and supervising the loading and unloading of cargo and passengers. Mates are the captain's "right hand." They manage and train the deck crew, inspect and maintain inventory of equipment and order needed repairs. They stand watch, oversee ship operations and navigation when the captain is not on duty. Pilots are responsible for steering ships in and out of berths, through hazardous conditions and boat traffic. They motor out from harbor as a ship approaches, then climb aboard to take charge and safely berth the ship. Life aboard ship requires that one must be in good physical condition to tolerate the extremes of weather and irregular hours, and to be ready to respond to unexpected danger. Captains and ship pilots are expected to have vocational training or an associate’s degree, while mates often have a high school diploma. All require experience onboard ships. Licensing by the Coast Guard is required for work on ships registered in the U.S. If you can't resist the call of the sea, you might set sail for a nautical career.