sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : When is a Captain not a Captain?
When is a Captain not a Captain?

'When is a Captain not a Captain?'    .

The first time a smartly dressed Customs officer came on board our boat, his chest ablaze with brass buttons, and asked with a thick accent 'Where is the Captain on this ship?' I tried not to giggle too obviously. We had a 'Captain' on our 'ship'? - a 45ft cruising boat? We were somewhere in the Middle East and I concluded that he was not very accustomed to dealing with yachts and skippers.

I did get used to it, but since then the habit of referring to the skipper of a boat as the 'Captain' seems to have surged in popularity. So the following, written by long-experienced American cruising skipper, John Harries, made me smile all over again:


I just can’t stand it any more. I tried to ignore it, I really did, but it’s no good, I have to say something.

What’s making me crazy is the current fashion for recreational mariners, particularly on VHF radio, to call each other 'Captain'. This seems to be confined to the US, although it is spreading to Canada too. As far as I know that’s as far as it has got…I fervently hope so.

You can call yourself 'Captain' if you are:

A serving officer in the Army, Airforce, or Marines with a rank one below Major.
A serving, or retired, officer in the Navy with a rank one below Admiral.
You have an unlimited tonnage all oceans master mariner’s licence and command a commercial vessel at sea, which almost always requires four years at a recognized maritime university and several years serving at sea working your way up the ladder through various mate positions to command. You would also be entitled to use the title in retirement.
You sit in the left pilot seat in a large transport aircraft.

To quote Bugs Bunny, 'that’s all folks'. (Actually I don’t know for sure that there are no other positions that are properly titled 'Captain', so if you know of one I missed, please leave a comment.)

You are not a Captain because you have a US Coast Guard 100 ton licence or a RYA yacht master. Heck, I have a good friend who has a Coast Guard 500 ton licence and has served as an officer on tall ships for over a decade. She does not call herself 'Captain'.

If you command a yacht, you can call yourself 'Skipper' or, if signing something official, 'Master'. But you are not a Captain.

Not only do we look ridiculous, particularly to commercial mariners, when we call ourselves 'Captain', it is also extremely disrespectful to those that have put in years of study and sea experience to earn that title legitimately.

You wouldn’t call yourself 'Doctor' after doing a three day first aid course would you? Or 'Reverend' just because you go to church regularly? Or 'Professor' at the end of your first year of university? Or 'Engineer' because you did two years of shop at high school? Ok, I’ll stop, you get the idea.

Now I know that none of us yachties that do this mean anything bad by it. In fact, I think it has become a kind of verbal tic. But, none the less, let’s stop. Please pass the word.

©2014 John Harries, Attainable Adventure Cruising. To read more of John Harries' always entertaining and extremely useful information, go to his Reference site and blog
117016312970235514226


Letter received from reader:

Sender: Chris Connor

Message: In my younger days, I sailed commercial vessels with a German Captain that would lose control when someone referred to him as 'skipper.' He would begin shouting usually at some junior officer of the watch that, 'Skipper is a dog's name!' He would add some profanity for colour.

I still chuckle whenever someone calls me Skipper.

I would also chuckle silently whenever I heard colleagues of mine that I know had never commanded a vessel in their career referred to themselves as Captain. I met a few of them.

I enjoyed the rant.

Christopher Connor, Master Mariner
RYA Yachtmaster Instructor & Examiner
In command at sea
the Gulf of Guinea


by ©2014 John Harries/Sail-World Cruising


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=123641

8:31 PM Mon 23 Jun 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World















470 Men and Women Worlds - Champions decided in Santander by International 470 Class Association,
















































Big Boat Series - It's not the size, it's the length by Erik Simonson, Pressure-Drop.US,




ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Day 8 images by Sailing Energy
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Finn leaders emerge from shifty Santander breeze
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - RS:X winner images by Barbara Sanchez
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio 2016 470 spots awarded
52 Super Series 2015 - Outlook looks hot for the 52 Super Series
Starboard Hatteras Wave Jam - Another early start on day 4
ISAF Sailing World - First entry leaves sailor's reputation in tatters
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Four go through to quarter finals
470 Men and Women Worlds - Champs take over leaderboard
ISAF Sailing World Champ - Buckingham finishes with career-best result
America's Cup: Oracle's Larry Ellison to step down as CEO
Classic Yacht Regatta - Sonny takes top classic prize
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Buckingham finishes with career best
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio 2016 RS:X spots claimed
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Leaderboards shaping up in Santander + Video
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Giles Scott continues to extend lead
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Day 7 images by Sailing Energy
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Laser and Radial winner images by Jesus Renedo
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Medal Race images by Sail-World.com
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Dutch dominate Laser and Radial in Santander
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing more than doubles overall lead   
J/24 World Championship - Excitement builds for Newport racing   
Volvo Ocean Race - Seb Marsset joins Team Alvimedica   
Fall Seamanship training opportunities at New York Yacht Club   
Rolex Big Boat Series: More images from San Francisco - Final Day   
AWT Hatteras Wave Jam action commences on day 3   
Rolex Big Boat Series: Images from San Francisco - Final Day   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Watch medal races live here   
Hobie 16 Open North American Championships and Pan Am Games qualifier   
ISAF Sailing World Championship - Videos from Santander   
ISAF Sailing Worlds: Buckingham into Medal Race, 470's stay consistent   
470 Men and Women Worlds - Vadlau and Ogar into pole position   
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Defending champion on top   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Big breeze on day 6 + Video   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Buckingham into Laser Medal Race   
U.S. Multihull Championship - Hobie Alter Trophy to be decided   
ISAF Sailing Worlds - The kind of form most sailors only dream about   
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing ahead of target   
ISAF Worlds Santander - 19 Rio 2016 Laser Radial spots awarded   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT