Job Family: Naval and Maritime Operations Ship and Submarine Officers
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Coast Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile 1 |  Profile 2 |  Profile 3 |  Profile 4 |  Career Path
Photo 1:
Officer gives mission briefing. Photo 2:
Coast Guard officer stands in front of ship.

Deb Kamzol
Occupation: Ship Officer

I have had a long, fulfilling career supporting Coast Guard missions. I started my career in the enlisted ranks and proudly accomplished my go…

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Richard Delaquis
Occupation: Submarine Officer

Born in the projects of Harlem to immigrant parents, I studied drafting and electronics at a Catholic technical high school and completed an Associ…

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Andrew Bonderud
Occupation: Ship Officer

I started thinking about joining the Navy when I was in high school. My father was in the Navy and my grandfather was in the Army Air C…

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Jeff Joseph
Occupation: Submarine Readiness Officer

When I was in high school, I decided that I was interested in the Navy ROTC program as a way to pay for school. It was an interesting o…

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Short Description
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 Attributes
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

Training Provided
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

Work Environment
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 Counterparts
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.

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