Everyone wants to go on a cruise and experience a vacation on board a ship. It is a perfect getaway for someone who wants to relax and enjoy a few days on a luxurious cruise. All of these will not be possible without the help and care of the ship’s crew led by the captain. He is the one in charge of the whole ship, making sure that all passengers and the entire crew are safe for the duration of the cruise.
It is not easy to be a cruise ship captain as you will have to study for many years, get the necessary experience, and acquire the special skill set to be on top of the game.
10 Get the Right Education
If your dream is to be a cruise ship captain, you have to get the right education. This means completing high school and getting a bachelor’s degree from a maritime institute. The proper education will give you the basic knowledge that you will need at sea like logistics, maritime laws, and navigation. As there are many aspiring captains, you will stand out more if you have a master’s degree, although it’s not a necessity. You can explore getting higher education in marine engineering or marine science as these will surely help you in your quest to be a cruise ship captain.
9 Get the Experience
It is not enough to earn your degree, it’s also important to get credentials and certifications if you dream to be a cruise ship captain. While studying, you can apply for on-the-job programs to get the training you need. You will be able to experience almost all the jobs around the ship when you work in different departments. You will begin as an ordinary seaman while in the deck department or a wiper in the engine department. There are also some local and international certification programs that you can take to increase your credentials. What is important is that you take advantage of opportunities to learn more and get your hands on every chance to acquire practical knowledge on the ship.
8 Take the Licensing Exam
Because ship captains are responsible for the lives of his passengers and crew, a licensing exam is needed in order to navigate a ship. Depending on your citizenship, education, and experience, you can choose what licensure exam to take. There are differences in these exams like the limit on the size of the ship you can steer and where you can operate. You can enroll in programs that will refresh your knowledge on questions that will appear on the tests like tidal calculations, meteorology, buoyage systems, and seamanship. Once you get your captain’s license, you will be able to work as a paid captain, improve your credentials, charter your own boat, and apply for a job on bigger ships.
7 Electronics and Computer Skills
While there are many members of a ship’s crew, the captain needs to be on top of what is happening in his ship. The captain has to have the knowledge to ensure that all equipment and materials are working properly and when they should be scheduled for maintenance. He should be able to use navigation software to ensure the safety of his passengers. The captain needs to learn and know how to use the telecommunications system for transmission and broadcasting of messages. He will also need knowledge on circuit boards, electronic equipment, hardware and software on the ship. Basic knowledge of engineering and technology is also needed so he can use these in practical situations on the ship.
6 Physical Examination
The physical health of the cruise ship captain should be on top of his priority. He should be free of injuries and other illnesses that may hinder him from functioning at the top of his game, especially in case of an emergency. Licenses could be denied to applicants who suffer from sleep disorders, cardiac disease or diabetes. Aside from being free from these diseases, the captain should also have good eyesight and hearing as these are essential in navigating the ship. A physical examination is a necessary step to ensure that the captain is capable of fulfilling his responsibilities and that he will not be a threat to the safety of his passengers.
5 Work Your Way Up
Getting promotions on a ship is no different when getting promoted at any other job. A promotion means better pay plus the boost that it gives to your self-confidence. No one starts at the top and if your dream is to become a cruise captain, then you will start from the bottom. Remember that all technical tasks are as important as the decisions and managerial tasks that captains make. Always do your best in whatever duty is assigned to you and learn from them. Volunteer when you can and display leadership when the situation calls for it. Learn new things every day whether it’s in the department you are assigned to or not because all these will become handy as you climb up the ladder in the maritime hierarchy.
4 Work Ethics
Your attitude towards your work and your colleagues is very important when on a ship. Keep in mind than being aboard a ship will keep you away from your family for a period of time. Homesickness is not a reason to be lax on your job or be unprofessional on the ship. You should take the necessary precautions against factors that can affect your performance because as ship captain, you have an enormous responsibility for hundreds or even thousands of people. You may need to stay in cramped quarters or even share your space with other people. There are luxuries on land that are not available on the ship so you need to get used to living without these. You need to always be not only physically, but also mentally ready to face these things if you are on your way to be a captain.
3 Character Reference
A captain must have unquestionable character. The background of the captain is as important as his physical health. As in any job, background investigations are done to confirm the items listed by the applicant on his resume. The character references that a captain should include in his application must be people who are of an impeccable reputation as well. These should be individuals who have become valuable in your journey and have contributed to your education and experience. They do not need to be members of the maritime industry but they should not be family members. They should know you well enough to confirm that you have the character it takes to become the head of a cruise ship.
2 Leadership and Decision-Making
The cruise ship captain is faced with everyday situations that will challenge his leadership skills. He should be able to make decisions regarding the ship, his crew, his resources and his passengers, especially in emergency situations. Because they are away from their families for a long time, it is up to the captain to make sure that the crew is happy and well-compensated. As a leader, he is in charge of keeping his staff motivated while keeping excellent performance. The captain should be able to communicate with his crew effectively, earn their trust, and lead them to a successful cruise.
1 Customer Service
As cruise ship captain, your customers are your crew and the passengers of the ship so it is important to have good customer service skills. For your team, you need to learn basic human resources principles in order to effectively manage them. The administration of the crew will depend on you so you need to make sure that they are satisfied with their jobs to ensure that they will pass this satisfaction to your passengers. Although there are customer service representatives in a ship, the captain should lead by example and check on their passengers as well. Although he may not be able to speak with everyone on board, the occasional greetings and asking how the passenger is doing will spell a big difference in the cruise experience of the tourists.