Ships and submarines are organized by departments, such as engineering, communications, weapons, and supply.
Ship and submarine officers work as team members to manage the various departments aboard their vessels.
What They Do
Ship and submarine officers in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
- Command vessels of all sizes at sea or in coastal waters
- Plan and manage the operating departments, under the captain’s direction
- Plan and manage training exercises, such as target practice, aircraft operations, damage control drills, and searches for enemy submarines
- Evaluate subordinate personnel and recommend awards and promotions
- Direct search and rescue missions
Helpful fields of study include engineering, oceanography, mathematics, and computer science. Helpful attributes include:
- Ability to organize and direct the work of others
- Interest in sailing and being at sea
Job training consists of classroom instruction and practical experience in one of the following departments: air, weapons, operations, communications, engineering, deck, administration, or supply.
Training length varies depending on specialty. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
- Management and organization of ship or submarine operations
- Piloting and navigation of ships
- Interpretation of maritime laws and policies
Ship and submarine officers work aboard their vessels. Engineering officers are subjected to hot, humid, and noisy environments. Submarine officers work in confined spaces for extended periods.
Civilian ship officers work for private maritime passenger, freight, and tanker firms.
With the exception of duties that are combat related, their duties are similar to those performed by military ship officers.
They may also be called ship captains, ship mates, or deck officers.