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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #21  
Old 08-08-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Maybe the confusion in the USA is because they think the license to drive a boat makes them a "Captain"?

What does the actual license say?


In the rest of the world the word 'captain' is never used in the license to drive a boat.

[Aditional info]
I've just checked the net and in the USA there is no such thing, that I can find, that makes one a Captain.

The most common is the 6-pack license:



So that person is not a Captain, merely a vessel Operator.
If there is another type of license often used then lets have a look at it

[More additional]
I see how there can be misrepresentation when websites doing the exam call it a captains license:
Get your U.S. Coast Guard Captain's License Online - 25% OFF!

So I went through all that crap for nothing? Well at least I learned that True Virgins Make Dull Companions. I can still see my instructor, an old crusty salt, blush like a school girl when he explained the mnemonic. I was the only gal in the classroom full of guys. I didn't see what the big embarrassment was all about, they are.
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  #22  
Old 08-08-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

Mark gets confused North of the equator on a few things. Down under a Commercial Captain is referred to as Master class IV or IV. A bit lower on the scale is the "coxswains" ticket. The engineer is called a MED I or II. Marine Engine Driver...
Some of the classes or requirements are so watered down I felt better off before taking them. Not sure I'm any more competent as a Master and a few grand poorer on worthless courses then I was as a simple captain with a lot of sea miles.
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  #23  
Old 08-08-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

Just like a party at your house. They should respect your wishes but no obligation. If you want them gone they are gone. If you dont want to deal with them again, dont.
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  #24  
Old 08-08-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

Well the 100-ton license I hold does say "Master" of steam, motor, sail 100tons, etc. The 6-pack may indeed still say "operator", in fact the 100 ton used to be called "Ocean Operator" if I recall.

That doesn't make everyone else "slaves". But in matters of safety and seamanship, the captain should have the last word, as anarchy tends to be unsafe in a crisis. On a commercial vessel, the crew are employees and have to do what the "boss" says unless it's illegal or obviously unsafe.

With passengers or recreational guests and especially with paying passengers, it's more of a caretaker status. I work for you, and treat you like a guest, or a student, or a passenger as the case may be. When I tell you what to do (put on a lifejacket, move to the other side, get below decks, keep a lookout on somethng) it's for everyone's benefit, assuming I know what I'm doing that is.

And "orders" work best if wrapped in honey rather than vinegar. this is true ashore as well.
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  #25  
Old 08-15-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

Mark,

There is the OUPV and there is the Masters.

Under the 72 Colregs, regardless if one has a license or not, the Captain legally calls the shots.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Maybe the confusion in the USA is because they think the license to drive a boat makes them a "Captain"?

What does the actual license say?


In the rest of the world the word 'captain' is never used in the license to drive a boat.

[Aditional info]
I've just checked the net and in the USA there is no such thing, that I can find, that makes one a Captain.

The most common is the 6-pack license:



So that person is not a Captain, merely a vessel Operator.
If there is another type of license often used then lets have a look at it

[More additional]
I see how there can be misrepresentation when websites doing the exam call it a captains license:
Get your U.S. Coast Guard Captain's License Online - 25% OFF!

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  #26  
Old 08-15-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

Well said.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Well the 100-ton license I hold does say "Master" of steam, motor, sail 100tons, etc. The 6-pack may indeed still say "operator", in fact the 100 ton used to be called "Ocean Operator" if I recall.

That doesn't make everyone else "slaves". But in matters of safety and seamanship, the captain should have the last word, as anarchy tends to be unsafe in a crisis. On a commercial vessel, the crew are employees and have to do what the "boss" says unless it's illegal or obviously unsafe.

With passengers or recreational guests and especially with paying passengers, it's more of a caretaker status. I work for you, and treat you like a guest, or a student, or a passenger as the case may be. When I tell you what to do (put on a lifejacket, move to the other side, get below decks, keep a lookout on somethng) it's for everyone's benefit, assuming I know what I'm doing that is.

And "orders" work best if wrapped in honey rather than vinegar. this is true ashore as well.
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  #27  
Old 08-15-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

The ISAF regs for offshore racing put it this way:

The safety of a yacht and her crew is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the Person in Charge who must do his best to ensure that the yacht is fully found, thoroughly seaworthy and manned by an experienced crew who have undergone appropriate training and are physically fit to face bad weather. He must be satisfied as to the soundness of hull, spars, rigging, sails and all gear. He must ensure that all safety equipment is properly maintained and stowed and that the crew know where it is kept and how it is to be used. He shall also nominate a person to take over the responsibilities of the Person in Charge in the event of his incapacitation.
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  #28  
Old 08-15-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

On my boat I have the usual bronze plate that says ;"Captain's words are the law" or something like that, and right next to it I have a small box with a printed message that says " If you want to make decisions on this boat, please drop your credit card here"

2 kinds of crew I dislike " I know a shortcut outside the channel" and " Naahh I can tack closer to the big powerboat"
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Old 08-15-2013
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

Captain is a position on a boat. You do not have to be a Captain to be a captain. Bligh was a Lieutenant when he captained the Bounty.

CAPTAIN or SEA CAPTAIN, mar. law. The name given to the master or commander of a vessel. He is known in this country very generally by the name of master. (q.v.) He is also frequently denominated patron in foreign laws and books.
2. The captains in the navy of the United States, are officers appointed by government. Those who are employed in the mercantile service, have not strictly an official character. They are appointed or employed by the owners on the vessels they command.
3. It is proposed to consider the duty of the latter. Towards the owner of the vessel he is bound by his personal attention and care, to take all the necessary precautions for her safety; to, proceed on the voyage in which such vessel may be engaged, and to obey faithfully his instructions; and by all means in his power to promote the interest of his owner. But he is not required to violate good faith, nor employ fraud even with an enemy. 3 Cranch, 242.
4. Towards others, it is the policy of the law to hold him responsible for all losses or damages that may happen to the goods committed to his charge; whether they arise from negligence, ignorance, or willful misconduct of himself or his mariners, or any other person on board the ship. As soon, therefore, as goods are put on board, they are in the master's charge, and he is bound to deliver them again in the same state in which they were shipped, and he is answerable for all losses or damages they may sustain, unless it proceed from an inherent defect in the article, or from some accident or misfortune which could not be prevented.
5. It may be laid down as a general rule, that the captain is responsible when any loss occurs in consequence of his doing what he ought not to do, unless he was forced by the act of God,. the enemies of the United States, or the perils of the sea.1 Marsh. Ins. 241; Pard. n. 658.
6. The rights of the captain are, to choose his crew as he is responsible for their acts, this seems but just, but a reasonable deference to the rights of the owner require that he should be consulted, as he, as well as the captain, is responsible for the acts of the crew. On board, the captain is invested with almost arbitrary power over the crew, being responsible for the abuse of his authority. Ab. on Shipp. 162. He may repair the ship, and, if he is not in funds to pay the expenses of such repairs, he may borrow money, when abroad, on the credit of his owners or of the ship. Abb. on Sh. 127-8. In such cases, although contracting within the ordinary scope of his powers and duties, he is generally responsible as well as the owner. This is the established rule of the maritime law, introduced in favor of commerce it has been recognized and adopted by the commercial nations of, Europe, and is derived from the civil or Roman law. Abbott, Ship. 90; Story, Ag. Sec. 116 to 123, Sec. 294; Paley, Ag. by Lloyd, 244; 1 Liverm. Ag. 70; Poth. Ob. n. 82; Ersk. Inst. 3, 3, 43; Dig. 4, 9, 1; Poth. Pand. lib. 14, tit. 1; 3 Summ. R. 228. See Bell's Com. 505, 6th ed; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.
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  #30  
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Re: Limits of Captains authority

Traditionally most ships went to sea for extended periods, away from any legal jurisdiction.

Today many of us live under governments which are more totalitarian, and more involved with our daily lives than ever before. Just call 911 and government officers show up in minutes.

The idea of being completely separated from this government involvement for an extended of time may be a new concept to many people. A ship is like a country of its own, and somebody has to be in charge. There must be rules and authority for any group of people to function.

Many people are used to living with governments that have legislative, executive and judicial branches, and the concept that a king or other single person can make a rule and enforce it seems scary and strange. But that's how it has to be. Pick a captain who is reliable and wiser than you are, then you don't have to worry. If something bad happens that puts your lives in danger, then you can mutiny, just like people revolt against their governments.
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