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Experience or license - What makes a Captain?

Discussion in 'Becoming a Captain' started by Wookie, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
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    Im going to throw in another variable bought to mind by @Akimbo. Personality. A tale of two captains on one ship - a tall ship very difficult to sail authentic 1606 replica who weve taken all the way from Australia to Holland.

    Captain for part of the trip - a retired merchant navy master. Quiet old bloke, never raises his voice, have only seen him move quickly twice from MOB in Bass Strait to Force 9 gale in North sea.
    Never seen expression on his face change.

    Captain for other parts of trip - master mooring pilot for LNG supertankers. Rated for Singapore, Rotterdam, the busy tricky ports around the world. Insanely good with tech like DP none of which exists on said old ship. High energy - will give me a lesson in making and throwing monkey fists because he cant see anything else im doing. Has run said ship aground and with a quite whisper will tell me To grab the whipstaff and just wait a second because hes already spotted the approaching ferry and knows its wake will lift us off the sandbar and goes to entertain passengers who never know we are aground.

    So two totally different approaches, two true masters, both have a way of inspiring confidence in you as they impart thousands of hours knowledge gained to teach you.

    When it comes to dive boat captains where im just a paying passenger - theres one who stands out. Tamboras captain whos worked fishing boats in Alaska amongst other vessels and waters. Never says much other than I smoke too much when im borrowing his lighter or peering at our location or spreading out charts, imparts same sense of ability to handle conditions and contingencies regardless.

    Have also sailed under BIG race winning skippers/captains and absolute idiots who did the bare minimum before heading off on a gilligans island tour who "taught" me what its like to sink at sea. Not a fan. Not a fan of the champagne and socials racing yacht set either.

    What makes a good captain? Good question.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  2. Wookie

    Wookie Orange Man Bad Staff Member ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    I go back every year to 2 years and take some kind of class. Not necessarily to learn what the class is teaching, but to be in a learning environment with a bunch of smarter more experienced guys than I am.

    I'm sailing on my engineer ticket right now, and so I'm not spending too much time behind the wheel, but I maintain my license, and learning new technologies (I cut my engineering teeth on a 1960's Navy reactor plant, which doesn't have much to do with the real world) is part of what makes the job stay fun.
     
    chillyinCanada and Seaweed Doc like this.
  3. Wookie

    Wookie Orange Man Bad Staff Member ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Maybe. Were you a line captain? Did you have 25 non-rates working for you? 1 3 year tour or 20 years? Being an E-3 line handler and needle gunner is a lot different than being first lieutenant or Senior Chief BM.
     
  4. edwants2dive

    edwants2dive Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Central Illinois
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    I was kind of being facetious. I was actually an E-3 non rate before converting to Damage Controlman. I would probably have more experience on the engineer side of sea time from monitoring diesel engines and boilers. I did have 7 or so e-1 to e-4 working for me as an E-5 DC. Although I did get to take the Con on the bridge a few times underway under the supervision of the OOD. Oh and did earn my ESWS qual as an e-3 (couldn't wear it til I made DC3).
     
  5. Wookie

    Wookie Orange Man Bad Staff Member ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    And I was being snotty back, but boat driving skills, while important, aren’t really the number 1 priority.

    Knowing when to follow the rules, or not follow the rules in the name of boat and passenger and crew safety is probably number 1, and keeping the crew in a good mood number 2.
     
    edwants2dive likes this.
  6. nolatom

    nolatom Captain

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Orleans
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    I came up on sailboats starting with little ones and racing, then bigger ones for cruises, shakedowns, deliveries, my old man was a yacht broker/dealer so I was the useful organism for teaching new boat owners with more enthusiasm (or just money) than experience. Or delivering their new boats to some other state that didn't have a sales tax. All this without a license, none required. College sailing, then coaching them while in grad school. Then into the Coast Guard, where I learned more about the "bigger stuff",in shipyards and on sea trials, and eventually sat for a 100-ton near-coastal license for sail or motor.
    Later on, more teaching and a few charter captain gigs, which did require a license. Even a couple of short dive boat gigs, including Frank's boat once or twice where I discovered what 1800 horsepower and three throttles felt like as opposed to 45, and one.
    I think the sailing was good boathandling experience, gave me big respect for Mother Nature and made me a cautious guy, but curious to learn more. So yeah, I too think experience is key. So is humility, we are servants of the vessel more so than "masters".


    PS: Frank's a very good captain, listen to him more than me.
     
    edwants2dive likes this.

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