The master’s ticket is the pinnacle of a career on the high seas. Quite simply, there is no higher level of qualification for a seafarer in control of a ship. While the role of the today’s Master has evolved dramatically, there continue to be great career prospects both at sea and onshore for those holding a sought-after master’s ticket.
Not so long ago, the Master Mariner was expected to be proficient in the application of a barometer, chronometer, and sextant to direct a sailing ship; today the master must understand more high-tech means of navigating a ship, such as GPS, radar and electronic charts. There is also much more paperwork to be completed today, due in a large part to the growth in audits, surveys and technical checks that have been enforced to drive the safety of the industry.
A qualified Master Mariner will possess a Master Mariner certificate of competence, will have spent at least ten years working at sea and will need to have good communication and managerial skills to lead the crew in the safe operation of the ship. Interestingly, the professional community of mariners generally reserves the title “Captain” for a person who has held command of a merchant vessel, not for someone who may hold a command licence but has never been appointed to a command position.