|Hawaii Teacher on Board
By Naidah GamurotPosition: Captain Person Interviewed: Glenn Gomes
Location: Bridge of R/V Thomas G. Thompson
Date: October 22, 1998
Describe some of the daily responsibilities and daily activities of the Captain?
The Captain is responsible for the entire ship. He supervises each of the 3 departments on board, dealing with each of the department heads - the Chief Engineer, the Chief Steward, and the Chief Mate. He works on distance and routes with the ship's 2nd Mate. He does all customs and immigration clearences, as well as the cargo manifests. He also documents everyone's sea time. On the Thompson, Captain Gomes is the person certified to suture.
What are some of the skills, physical abilities, and personal characteristics someone should have if considering becoming a Captain?
A good sense of humor, strong organizational skills, and patience are very important. Strong leadership skills are necessary because of the increased responsibility. The captain must have an ability to teach others your knowledge. Must work well with people and direct others. Able to carry out company orders and make decisions.
The captain must also be able to interprete all the laws in the Code of Federal Regulations.
What kinds of high school courses would you recommend for someone considering this type of work?
Math, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. This is used to plot courses. Earth Science and geography for navigating by the stars, knowing the tides and ocean currents. Any anatomy, safety, and first aid classes, since he is the medical officer on board. Chemistry, especially on tankers courses that develop writing and organizational skills. Any courses that help develop a person's "people" skills would be extremely helpful.
What additional training is require or available after high school?
EMT (Emergency Medical Training) is required.
Attending a maritime academy would be useful.
What is the job market like in this position or field?
The job market is good, but specialized training is required.
What is the entry level job for this position?
Starting with ordinary seaman, also called mariner 1, for 1 year (365) days at sea. Progressing to AB seaman (mariner 2), for a duration of 3 years - at sea. Moving on to 3rd mate for one year, then becoming 2nd mate. After 1 year at sea, the 2nd mate is elgible for chief mate, then is elgible to become a captain
What is the next higher level?
At sea, captain is the highest level.
What are your working hours like?
No scheduled hours. Always on call.
In what kind of environment do you work?
Anywhere on the ship.
What is the average starting salary for your job?
On the Thompson, starting base pay is $5,576. In addition to base pay, everyone on board also receives a 15% Sea Premium Pay while the ship is away from home port and 8 hours overtime at time-and-a-half for each Saturday, Sunday, and holiday while the ship is away from home.
What are some positive features of your job?
The person in charge - increased responsibility. Traveling and learning new things. More involved with the daily movement of the ship. Being the captain represents the culmination of a career
What are some negative features of your job?
A lot more responsibility and now being accountable in a court of law for decisions made at sea. At risk of losing license and/or spending jailtime for poor decisions. Lawsuits usually include your name. Sometimes it can get boring waiting for something to happen.
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