Ship and Boat Captains: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, Overview

Ship and Boat Captains

Ship and Boat Captains command vessels in oceans, bays, lakes, rivers, or coastal waters.

Becoming One
Post-secondary certificate
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Interest Match

Job description

Ship and Boat Captains command vessels in oceans, bays, lakes, rivers, or coastal waters.

  • Steer and operate vessels, using radios, depth finders, radars, lights, buoys, or lighthouses.
  • Dock or undock vessels, sometimes maneuvering through narrow spaces, such as locks.
  • Adjust navigation according to weather conditions.
  • Inspect vessels to ensure efficient and safe operation of vessels and equipment and conformance to regulations.
Read more about what does a Ship and Boat Captain really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$82380 per year

Average hourly wage
$40 per hour

Ship and Boat Captains with little to no experience tend to make between $35410 and $48190 while the more experienced ones can earn over $100730 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
TX $50 $103,950
OR $48 $100,150
NY $46 $95,370
LA $45 $93,010
WA $44 $90,890

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Ship and Boat Captain is to move to a higher paying state like TX. Right now, the highest paying states for Ship and Boat Captains are TX, OR, NY, LA and WA.

However, a higher pay at TX doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at TX might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Ship and Boat Captain is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Post-secondary certificate

We asked other Ship and Boat Captains what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Post-Secondary Certificate followed by a High School Diploma.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Commercial Fishing
Marine Science/Merchant Marine Officer
Read more about how to become a Ship and Boat Captain and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Ship and Boat Captain.

Suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
Suitable for people who wants independence and likes to work on their own and make decisions
This career is perfect for people who love to work both indoors and outdoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Demand for this career is growing fast
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

75% of Ship and Boat Captains said they were satisfied with their job and 67% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Entrepreneurs and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Learn more about Ship and Boat Captains

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Job Description

Related career information

Ship and Boat Captains job description, Ship and Boat Captains salary, Ship and Boat Captains information, what is the job of a Ship and Boat Captain like, pros and cons about Ship and Boat Captains, colleges and universities for Ship and Boat Captains, is Ship and Boat Captains the right career for me, careers in Transportation

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