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Port Captain Job Description

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Port captains apply significant maritime expertise and education in the preparation of a variety of ships that visit their docks. They lead efforts that ensure all vessels contain the necessary equipment and crew to safely perform their missions, which range from human transportation to the shipping of goods.

Duties and Work Environment

Port captains ensure that waterborne ships are fully prepared to embark on their voyages. In addition to the main task of verifying that a vessel contains sufficient crew and equipment needed to complete its mission, other responsibilities include monitoring for safety issues, supervising ship captains, scheduling maintenance, inspection duties and completion of all necessary documentation.

Being a port captain involves plenty of physical work, including heavy lifting and exposure to potentially dangerous mechanical hazards. These professionals have to be comfortable working during inclement weather, and should be capable of withstanding rough waters when boarding ships.

Education and Other Requirements

The minimum education for prospective port captains tends towards a bachelor's degree from a maritime college or a related field. Employers also require that candidates possess a U.S. Coast Guard Deck license, with licensure as a Master typically preferred. Depending on the types of ships used, some employers may require specific licenses for dealing with large ships. Port captains typically need at least five years of experience working with vessels in a leadership role to be considered for this position.


Kent Tukeli has been writing for business and media organizations since 2007, including Valnet Inc., Top Affiliate Publishing and Mirvish Productions. He honed his skills at the University of Toronto, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.

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