Home Skipper What does skipper do?

What does skipper do?

The skipper of a floating vessel can be described as the heart of the vessel. This is so because he is responsible for the boat and take care of all aspects related to it. While he also drives the boat, a skipper also looks after the takeovers and vessel transfers. As a rule, everything what the skipper says should be like a command to those present on the boat because at times, the decisions taken by the skipper could be the difference between life and death. It is not that a skipper’s job only entails serious work, but it also involves his recommendations on interesting routes, new places to visit or guidelines to follow while in water or on shore.

The work area of a skipper


While there may be skippers for boaters going for a holiday, even fishing vessels ought to have a skipper. The skippers of a fishing vessel have the job of handling the boat while catching the fish. Such skippers may work on boats:

  • The inshore vessels or vessels that fish near the shoreline
  • The limited area vessels or vessels that fish within a defined area around the coast
  • Unlimited area vessels or vessels that work in distant waters even going out in international waters

Responsibilities of a skipper

  • A skipper as mentioned earlier is the most important person on a vessel and therefore, there are several responsibilities on him. These include:
  • Planning the voyages for the fishing season
  • Navigating the vessel
  • Maintaining the equipment, must also know how to operate them
  • Take care of the safety of the vessel and the crew
  • Management of the vessel in all respects

It is the responsibility of the skipper to ensure that whatever trip the vessel is making whether for fishing or for holidays, follows the regulations and maritime laws.

The work of a skipper although might seem to carry lots of responsibilities is that of fun. Most skippers are those who enjoy fishing and pursue it as a means of livelihood. These skippers work on personal boats and are self-employed. However, those who do not have a boat can work for large companies who employ skippers to take care of their vessels and their catch. The income opportunities of being a skipper are high and therefore, a person can earn a decent income. An experienced skipper can also move into some related careers like that of harbor tug work, Merchant Navy, offshore oil or gas exploration, fish farming and cargo operations.

The working hours for a skipper are dependent on the area of work. If a skipper is self-employed working on his own boat, he can work for as long as he like. However, one can consider long hours of work. A skipper on an inshore vessel would return to the shore each day while the offshore vessels venturing out in waters further from the shore would be able to return only after a few weeks or may be a few months.

Therefore, those interested in taking up the job of a skipper can apply for a license as this a requirement in UK.