Tugboat Captain

Guide tugboats safely and skillfully to port.

What does a Tugboat Captain do?

Have you ever seen a large barge floating down the river, overflowing with heaping mounds of garbage or other materials? If you look a little closer, you’d see that a tugboat is pushing, pulling, or steering that huge barge towards its destination. And the person in charge of that size-challenged tugboat is the Tugboat Captain.

As a Tugboat Captain, you make sure that the tugboat and its load are headed in the right direction and arrive without incident. To do that, your eyes constantly scan the Global Positioning System (GPS), which helps keep you on course, and the radar, which gives you a picture of obstacles and other vessels in your area.

The scenery around you changes depending on the job, because you don’t only work on the river. You might also maneuver oil platforms across sections of ocean, or skillfully guide large ships into a narrow port.

Safety is your chief concern so you’re always vigilant against underwater dangers, such as shallow water, tree limbs, or sunken debris. You also keep an eye out for conditions above water, like freezing temperatures, high winds, massive waves, or strong currents that might push you off course.

Being a Tugboat Captain entails a lot of responsibility, but you don’t do it alone. You carefully choose skilled crew members to perform tasks on deck. When you’re not steering the tugboat or supervising the crew, you spend your time maintaining the engine and machinery.