How to Become a Ship Captain in the Navy – the a-Z Guide 2022

In the maritime world, if we regard the ships as the grand palaces or great kingdoms on the ocean, then the ship captain is seen as the king of the kingdom. They hold all the responsibility and powers inside the ship. 

If you’re an admirer of the sea like me and have longed to explore the vast ocean, then a Navy career is right for you. There are numerous job profiles aboard a Navy ship, but the most outstanding job on the vessel is the ship captain. I’m sure you’ve watched many movies about the Navy, seas and cruise ships. And just as you have seen countless times in movies and TV shows, the captain is the officer with the highest position and responsibility on the ship. The navy ship captain is responsible for navigating the ship towards its destination as well as keeping track of all maintenance done on the ship. All procedures and routines of crew members are overseen by the captain. If your dream is to one day be a ship captain, then this article is the guide you need to achieve your goal.

How do I become a Navy Ship Captain?

If you desire to become a ship captain, then you must begin your journey in high school. Getting good grades in your high school is the first step you have to take because you’ll need good grades to get into a top-ranked college. To become a ship captain you must first obtain a bachelor’s degree. There are captains with, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even doctoral degrees, hence, getting your college degree is a must. 

The next step is to enroll in the Navy and become a Navy officer. You can’t become a captain of a ship without first having experience as an officer. A minimum of 20 years of experience is required before you can become the captain of the ship. As you can imagine, the competition to become a captain of a naval ship is fierce, but if you set your heart and mind to it, you will surely achieve it.

As a Navy officer with an aspiration of being a ship captain, endeavor to volunteer for any extraordinary duty available. These tasks and assignments will be for you as promotion points, you may even create some entries that will be documented in your permanent records, these records will be examined when you’re been considered for the captain position. Life aboard a navy ship is far different from your life at home, so prepare well before coming aboard the ship. Make sure you get some rack curtains, good bedsheets, and top-rated mattress toppers to make life on the ship as easy as possible. 

The next step in your quest to become a navy captain is to apply for the ensign training program. If accepted into the program, you must successfully complete the training program, after which you will be assigned to serve in an operational career field. You must also have exceptional fitness and service reports to boost your chances of becoming a ship captain.

The next step is to work your way up through the ranks and become an executive officer (XO). An XO is the next ranking officer after the ship captain, they are the second-in-command on any naval vessel. As an XO you will learn how to command a ship and manage the crew members. An XO is the right hand of a navy ship captain and as such, he acts in his/her stead when in port or at sea.

As an XO, you are one step away from your goal. The next step utilizes any opportunity you get to inform your superiors about your desire to become a ship captain. To become a navy captain, you’ll need to be recommended by high-ranking officers. Hence, by exhibiting outstanding performance in all your duties, and proving trustworthy in good and bad situations will you be called upon one day to take command of a navy ship and her crew.

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