How to become a Ship's Master

Ships' masters oversee navigation and manage the operation of ships at sea, in port and at anchor. They consult weather forecasts, make voyage plans and conduct equipment and inventory inspections in preparation of a vessel leaving port.

Personal requirements for a Ship's Master

  • Able to make decisions under pressure
  • Responsible and diligent
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Literacy, numeracy and computer skills
  • Able to lead and manage a crew
  • Willing to spend time at sea, often being away from home for long periods
  • Able to pass an eyesight test and have normal colour vision and hearing
  • A commitment to safety.

Duties & Tasks of a Ship's Master

Ships' masters may perform the following tasks:

  • Control and direct the ship during berthing and mooring
  • Plan navigation according to relevant rules and regulations, allowing for possible emergencies during the voyage
  • Ensure safety regulations are followed
  • Oversee the receipt and transmission of information by radio, flags, morse lighting and pyrotechnic lighting
  • Ensure the ship runs safely, efficiently and economically
  • Monitor and maintain procedures for fire hazard, abandon ship and damage control situations
  • Observe and record the ship's course, any route alterations, weather conditions and its position in the daily logbook
  • Coordinate cargo loading and discharge operations
  • Oversee maintenance activities
  • Take responsibility for budgeting and expenditure.

Working conditions for a Ship's Master

Ships' masters may be required to work irregular hours or full-time shifts. They often remain on duty for long periods and may be at sea for months at a time. Conditions on board a ship may be dangerous and unpleasant in rough seas.


Specializations

Ship's Captain

A ship's captain controls the operation of vessels used in water transport and commands the officers and crew. A captain may command a passenger liner, tanker, cargo ship, car carrier, livestock carrier, large fishing vessel, ferry or tugboat.

Ferry Master

A ferry master controls ferryboats to transport people, motor vehicles or freight across bodies of water such as lakes, bays or rivers. Ferry masters determine the speed and course of the ferryboat and steer, or direct others to steer, the vessel towards the landing pier on the opposite side of the water body.

Ferry Master

A ferry master controls ferryboats to transport people, motor vehicles or freight across bodies of water such as lakes, bays or rivers. Ferry masters determine the speed and course of the ferryboat and steer, or direct others to steer, the vessel towards the landing pier on the opposite side of the water body.

Ship's Captain

A ship's captain controls the operation of vessels used in water transport and commands the officers and crew. A captain may command a passenger liner, tanker, cargo ship, car carrier, livestock carrier, large fishing vessel, ferry or tugboat.

Ship's Master

Ships' masters oversee navigation and manage the operation of ships at sea, in port and at anchor. They consult weather forecasts, make voyage plans and conduct equipment and inventory inspections in preparation of a vessel leaving port.

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