Ship and Boat Captains

What do they do?

Command vessels in oceans, bays, lakes, rivers, or coastal waters.

Also known as:

Boat Captain, Boat Operator, Captain, Charter Boat Captain, Ferry Boat Captain, Ferry Captain, Harbor Tug Captain, Master, Port Captain, Relief Captain, Ship Captain, Tow Boat Captain, Tug Boat Captain, Tug Captain, Tugboat Captain, Vessel Captain, Vessel Master

Typical Wages

Annual wages for Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels in United States

★ You’re seeing wages for Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels because we don’t have information for Ship and Boat Captains.

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as average compared to all occupations.

★ You’re seeing projected growth rate for Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels because we don’t have information for Ship and Boat Captains.

Projected Employment

No Data Available

Projected Employment Rankings For Virginia:

  • 8.2%

    Percent Change

    Ranks #13 in job growth rate
  • 260

    Annual Projected Job Openings

    Ranks #4 in net job growth
★ You’re seeing projected employment information for Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels because we don’t have information for Ship and Boat Captains.

Select Type of Degree:

Typical College Majors

Majors that prepare Ship and Boat Captains:

Indicates your preferred majors

★ Number of granted degrees for degree type, All, is listed after the major.

Education Level

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree (1.4%)
  • Master's degree (4.9%)
  • Bachelor's degree (18.8%)
  • Associate's degree (9.7%)
  • Some college, no degree (26.1%)
  • High school diploma equivalent (28.7%)
  • Less than high school diploma (10.2%)

Percent of workers in this field

★ You’re seeing education information for Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels because we don’t have information for Ship and Boat Captains. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

Colleges that Prepare

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People in this career often have these skills:

  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
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People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


People in this career often have talent in:

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Spatial Orientation - The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
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Activities: what you might do in a day

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Operate ships or other watercraft.
  • Choose optimal transportation routes or speeds.
  • Monitor equipment gauges or displays to ensure proper operation.
  • Direct emergency management activities.
  • Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement.
  • Determine geographic coordinates.
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This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 24.1 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (“USDOL/ETA”). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

careeronestop logo Videos: CareerOneStop, USDOL/ETA and the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development

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