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Career and Education Opportunities for Ship's Captains in Gulfport, Mississippi

There are many career and education opportunities for ship's captains in the Gulfport, Mississippi area. There are currently 300 working ship's captains in Mississippi; this should grow by 12% to 330 working ship's captains in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for ship's captains are expected to grow by about 17.3%. In general, ship's captains command vessels in oceans, bays, and coastal waters.

Income for ship's captains is about $28 hourly or $58,440 per year on average in Mississippi. Nationally, their income is about $29 hourly or $61,960 per year. Ship's captains earn more than people working in the category of Nautical generally in Mississippi and more than people in the Nautical category nationally.

There are six schools of higher education in the Gulfport area, including one within twenty-five miles of Gulfport where you can get a degree to start your career as a ship's captain. Ship's captains usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so you can expect to spend a short time training to become a ship's captain if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Ship's Captain

Ship's Captain video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, ship's captains command vessels in oceans, bays, and coastal waters.

Ship's captains steer and operate vessels, using radios and lighthouses. They also maintain records of daily efforts, personnel reports, ship positions and movements, ports of call, weather and sea conditions, pollution control efforts, and/or cargo and passenger status. Equally important, ship's captains have to examine vessels to insure efficient and safe operation of vessels and equipment, and conformance to regulations. They are often called upon to monitor the loading and discharging of cargo or passengers. They are expected to direct and schedule crew members or staff performing activities such as loading and unloading cargo, steering vessels and operating, maintaining, and repairing ship equipment. Finally, ship's captains measure depths of water, using depth-measuring equipment.

Every day, ship's captains are expected to be able to understand events and object details at a distance. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for ship's captains to manage ships to be fueled, restocked with supplies, and/or repaired. They are often called upon to purchase supplies and equipment. They also read gauges to confirm sufficient levels of hydraulic fluid and oxygen. They are sometimes expected to signal crew members or deckhands to rig tow lines, open or close gates and ramps, and pull guard chains across entries. Somewhat less frequently, ship's captains are also expected to calculate sightings of land, using electronic sounding devices, and following contour lines on charts.

Ship's captains sometimes are asked to perform various marine duties such as checking for oil spills or other pollutants around ports and harbors, and patrolling beaches. They also have to be able to compute positions and decide on speeds, by using charts, area plotting sheets and knowledge of local conditions And finally, they sometimes have to tow and maneuver barges, or signal tugboats to tow barges to destinations.

Like many other jobs, ship's captains must be reliable and be able to take change and lead.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Gulfport include:

  • Ship Pilot. Command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, and sounds, and on rivers, lakes, and bays. Must be licensed by U.S. Coast Guard with limitations indicating class and tonnage of vessels for which license is valid and route and waters that may be piloted.
  • Truck Driver. Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 GVW, to transport and deliver goods, livestock, or materials in liquid, loose, or packaged form. May be required to unload truck. May require use of automated routing equipment. Requires commercial drivers' license.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Ship's Captain Training

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Perkinston, MS

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 51 Main Street, Perkinston, MS 39573. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is a medium sized college located in Perkinston, Mississippi. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,215 students. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has a one to two year program in Marine Transportation, Other Specialties.

CERTIFICATIONS

Coastal Navigation Certification: Coastal Navigation Certification requires the successful completion of knowledge and skills, as demonstrated by passing a written examination.

For more information, see the US Sailing website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi photo by Charlie Brenner

Gulfport is located in Harrison County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 70,055, which has shrunk by 1.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gulfport, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Gulfport are valued at $108,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-two new homes were constructed in Gulfport, down from three hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Gulfport are health care, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.1% of Gulfport residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gulfport is 9.3%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Gulfport residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Saint Johns Catholic Church, Saint James Baptist Church and Broadmoor Baptist Church are all churches located in Gulfport. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Gulfport is home to the Harrison County Courthouse and the West Side Community Center as well as Cowan Road Field and Harbor Square Park. Shopping centers in the area include Great Southern Shopping Center, Gulf Mart Shopping Center and Hardy Court Shopping Center. Visitors to Gulfport can choose from Best Western Seaway Inn, Crystal Inn and Best Western Seaway for temporary stays in the area.