A substantial amount of cargo is transported by cargo ships and barges, and the harbors and ports that service these craft typically need support vehicles (such as tugboats) as well. Additionally, many places use ferries and passenger ships. The persons who command these watercraft work as a captain, mate, or pilot of water vessels.
Pilots or captains are ultimately responsible for the safe operation of their vessel. They supervise the work of any crew on board, work with any department heads or mates to assist with their concerns, and regularly perform safety inspections of the craft and crew to help ensure the vessel's continued safe operation. The captain should have an extensive knowledge of their boat, the environment and water conditions, and any related weather or navigational concerns.
The mate on a ship may be assigned either as a general first assistant to the captain or as a department head. Their role typically involves substantial direct supervision over crew members aboard the ship and likely includes more hands-on performance of assigned tasks than the captain.
The career path for captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels typically starts with working as a crew member or deckhand. A person may have some formal education or military service training in the operation of waterborne vessels as well, and many employers favor such individuals for more rapid promotion. A captain, pilot, or mate must possess extensive practical experience, as well as the proper certification and licenses to operate either cargo or passenger craft. Employees in this occupation spend much of their time aboard the vessels assigned to or owned by them, usually in transit on the water. In some cases, this may require overnight work.
Captain, Mate, or Pilot of Water Vessels Tasks
Oversee the loading and unloading of vessels.
Complete drills and training of crew including Man Overboard (MOB), Fire, and Abandon ship.
Manage all aspects of vessel operations including transportation, cleanliness and appearance of vessel. Drive vessel when required.
Supervise or participate in company procedural programs such as Safety, Near Miss Reporting and Job Safety Analysis.
Coordinate the operation of the vessel through the Port Captain, Port Engineer, and the Home Office while on duty