Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 40 Times in 37 Posts
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I think this thread has shown that "captain" is mostly a professional term, and gender makes less difference every year, as more women (who have been graduating from the sea service and merchant marine academies for over 30 years now) command ships, or pilot the big ships around seaports. Maybe the inland towing industry is the last in the bunch to move women from the galley into the wheelhouse, but they're starting to do it, too.
It's kind of pompous to expect the moniker (other than in friendly jest) on a small to medium pleasure boat, unless you're dealing with port officials.
But if you're on the VHF, you'll routinely say, and be called, "captain", since the FCC regs sort of presume the speaker is a captain or delegated mate, an "acting captain". Since you may not initially know to whom you're speaking, it's the benefit of the doubt. I'll say "thanks, Cap" to whoever responds to my radio check, even if it's a dockman somewhere. And you're hearing a lot more female voices around the commercial ports, and at sea.