What does a Captain do?

A captain is the leader of an entire vessel ranging from a small yacht to a cruise liner. They have vast experience with operating ships having likely worked their way through the ranks of ship-related positions. They are proficient in every aspect of running a ship from its operation to its maintenance and if they work on a touring ship including a cruise liner they play host to passengers.

A captain ensures equipment receives proper maintenance and that the vessel follows environmental regulations. They keep regular logs throughout the journey and supervise passengers and crew members, embarking and disembarking from the ship. If traveling to international waters, a captain must meet local and international customs and inspections’ requirements. They are also responsible for security aboard the ship in terms of basic operations and under extreme circumstances, including a response to threats from terrorists, pirates, hijackers, and stowaways. Captains need a master's degree in marine engineering or marine science, preferably from a maritime academy or college.

Work/Life Balance
3.2 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.7 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a Captain make?

$92,985 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Captain Career Path

Learn how to become a Captain, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training
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Captain Insights

Read what Captain professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Star LineStar Line
Boat Captain
Aug 17, 2021

“The pay is really good and somehow compensates for the seasonal nature of the job.”

Piedmont AirlinesPiedmont Airlines
Apr 11, 2022

“Certain Management positions tend to try to go out of the way to persecute employees for personal reasons”

Nov 12, 2021

“occasionally get little notice for an upcoming trip or last minute changes to a current trip.”

US ArmyUS Army
O3 - Army - Captain
Jan 20, 2022

“Training on items assigned or of interest to you at all phases of your career.”

Delta Private JetsDelta Private Jets
Line Captain
Jul 16, 2021

“Fun Place to work and the people are very nice and helpful.”

Wheels UpWheels Up
Jun 27, 2021

“Good people and clientele.”

Oman AirOman Air
O3 - Army - Captain
Apr 30, 2022

“Good good good good good”

Ship Captain
Apr 29, 2020

“I love my work ai means everything to me because i am always happy working with the staff”

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Captain Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a Captain

The most similar professions to Captain are:
  • Flight Instructor
  • Pilot
  • Helicopter Pilot
  • General Manager

Related Careers

Flight Instructor
No skills overlap
No skills overlap
Helicopter Pilot
No skills overlap
General Manager
No skills overlap

Captain Jobs