The position of tug boat captain requires a demonstrated ability to multitask, as well as strong leadership and command skills. A tug boat captain has the legal responsibility and accountability for the safe operation of a tug boat under a variety of challenging conditions and situations. Tug boats are used to push or pull cargo barges to transport materials and goods both domestically and internationally. They also are used to provide berthing assistance to large ships in harbors, as well as recovery and towing services to vessels in distress.
Completion of secondary school is required. Completion of deck officer cadet program from an approved nautical institute or One to three years of experience as a member of a deck crew is required. A deck officer certificate of competency, issued by Transport Canada, is required. For ship pilots, a ship pilot license and a master certificate of competency are required. Most water transportation jobs require the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) from the Transportation Security Administration and a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC), plus any related endorsements, from the U.S. Coast Guard. Employers may prefer to hire workers who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a merchant marine academy.
Overall employment of water transportation workers is projected to show little or no change from 2019 to 2029. Fluctuations in the demand for bulk commodities, such as petroleum products, iron ore, and grains, is a key factor influencing employment in these occupations.
Work takes place on ships, coast guard or other self-propelled vessels. Working on boats and ships with varied sea conditions can be hazardous.