View Full Version : just to stir up the pot

12-23-2009, 12:57 PM
I grew up in a small Maine coastal village, where - until it became gentrified - 80 to 90 per cent off it's income was connected to the Gulf of Maine. I always thought the term "captain" was reserved for masters who had been out beyond the blue waters. Even coastal schooners who carried firewood to Boston were called "skipper." After the war the distinction began to fade. My father, who began operating a six-pak in 1947, started out as skipper, but by the fifties was a skipper, and he never went much beyond Boone.

I hope this doesn't ruffle any feathers as I don't decry the trend, but would just appreciate anyone else's input.

Bob Parsons
12-23-2009, 02:41 PM
First I moved this post to the NE forum so it would get more attention. All I know is when ever the Coast Guard has addressed me, they used the title "captain"

12-23-2009, 02:50 PM
Didn't they also call Gilligan's boss "Skipper" too?

12-23-2009, 05:18 PM
I don't know who the arbiter of nautical titles is but............

I grew up in a fishing family in Gloucester. A captain was usually the holder of an unlimited ocean tonnage CG license and a Master Mariner to boot. During the 1950s and 1960s most owners of their own commercial fishing boats were referred to as captain.

I'm not sure when the coast guard began addressing all 6-pac and head-boat licencees as captain - probably about 15 years ago - since then everyone with a boat seems to have become a captain.

When I got my license, 1958 I believe, the CG addressed the envelope it arrived in to Mr. Wm. D. Hubbard.

12-24-2009, 12:26 AM
I guess technically anyone in command of a vessel is a captain. To formally use Capt. in front of your name I believe you need to have merchant marine credentials. I have a 50 ton near coastal masters license that states I'm a merchant marine officer. A so called 6 pack license is formally an "OUPV"- Operator Uninspected Passenger Vessel. I'm not sure if an OUPV is a merchat marine officer. Whether an operator or master the person is refered to as captain. Maybe it just a courtesy.

12-24-2009, 02:17 PM
Good topic for the off season.

I've always referred to anyone running a commercial boat as "captain" including 6packers. I have no idea if that's correct or not but they didn't seem to mind. Come to think of it, some of my friends call me "captain" when they are fishing on my boat which always makes me laugh consdering how little I really know about navigating a boat (just enough to stay out of trouble and keep everone safe in the haba) - LOL.

12-25-2009, 03:23 PM
I am a former merchant mariner, having attained a Chief Mate's license, oceans and tonnage unlimited. I was never the Captain of anything, and I'm always pretty uncomfortable being addressed as "Captain," usually by harbormasters and the like while operating my little center console. I'd like to be referred to as "the owner', and I always respond to "hey you."

12-26-2009, 09:09 AM
Sounds like they have relegated the title Captain to the same caregory as
" Kentucky Colonel".


12-26-2009, 12:53 PM
Just as browndog, I to have a near coastal masters license which names the holder as an officer.

I understand the opinion that the title "Captain" is generally thought of as the person who is in charge of an ocean going vessle on the high seas such as larger vessles like tankers, cruise liner, tug or cargo ship.

With that said, the Coast Guard considers the 'Captain" as the person ultimately responsable for all property and souls on board in regards to all safety and/or damage to property or any loss of life in the event of an accident or gross neglect . This is why all licensee's are required to study and pass exam's such as First Aid/CPR, Fire Safety/Fighting, COLREG's, Survival, Towing and Navigation just to name a few.

All licensed marchant mariner captains (including OUPV) must pass the same basic set of tests until they have enough hours/days outside the Demarcation Line, which can also include endorsments/documentation from higher level Masters to qualify for higher license levels such as "Master", all the way up to "Oceans Unlimited".

With all that said, the Captain that is running an 18 foot CC operating under an OUPV license is held by the same liabiliy standards by the Coast Guard / Maritime courts as any other officer licensed by the Coast Guard.

I don't claim to know the entire law or ruling on this subject but I will attempt to explain the best I can based on my recollection from Boat School, here it goes.

I assure you guys that the USCG does consider "any compensation for services rendered" as payment for a "Charter".

The USCG uses this "rule" as a means of determining who is actually the employing party on board the vessel, usually the Captain/Crew do not offer or are not required to compensate the Captain or the owner of the vessle for services rendered by the vessle, Captain and Crew. Therefore the party receiving transportation or services of the Captain, Crew and Vessle are considered to be the "Chartering Party"

With that said, I understand the lack of distinction by the USCG between commercial and recreational vessels tends to ruffle a few feathers when ever this topic comes up. We must try to understand the reasoning behind it.

Try to remember that the reason it is important has to do with the legal ramifications if something tragic where to happen during the voyage. If the USCG legal system and lawyers need to step in to settle a dispute, the parties onboard the vessle need to be identified/distinguished as "Chartering Party" (receiving services) or "Chartered Vessle" (rendering services).

I hope this helps to explain this topic for those who are scratching their heads in confusion.

I would hope that common respect for lower level licensee's is had by all, someday your lives may depend on the OUPV Captains skills.

Sorry for the rant,


12-26-2009, 10:57 PM
I'm just a putz and like to fish- the coast guard has always addressed me Captain............Therefore I am a "Captain" --127-3-

I return the favor by addressing them "sir"

Gadabout Guinea
12-27-2009, 10:12 PM
Just call me Doctor and I won't bitch! I didn't do 20 years of evil school to be called Mister!


Joey Langan
12-30-2009, 08:01 PM
No idea what the correct terminology is but I do agree that it seems nowadays anyone with a boat is being addressed as a captain. All I know is that if Bob Parsons keeps taking me out fishing in his boat I'll call him Captain all he wants!:brow