Ships Officer/Skippers

Careers Information

What do they do?

Ships Officers command the vessel and are also called Masters, Skippers or Mates. They work on all types and size of vessels. They have knowledge of running and supplying a ship; navigation, control, chart reading and hazard identification. They also manage cargo, ballast and fuel, and must understand maritime laws and safety procedures such as firefighting, rescue, and collision prevention.

Typical day

Typically shift work, on the vessel. Ships Officers may navigate and control ships, take charge of ships when on watch, arrange repairs, fuel and supplies, supervise the loading, unloading and storage of cargo, organise crew activities on deck and organise ship security.

Does this sound like you?

Study areas

• Maths, Accounting or Economics

• Sciences or Workshop Technology

• Computing / ICT / Information Management


• Confident communicator

• Good literacy and numeracy

• Confidence with IT, computers, technology

• Good initiative ‘can do’ attitude

Helpful experience

• Administration, planning or organising things

• Working with facts and figures

• Working with computers

• Boating experience or crewing

Preferred work environments

• Outside (marine)

How much could I earn?

Icn Money

Smaller Vessels

$60k - $130k


Icn Money

Large, Foreign-Going Vessels

$45k - $90k

Career Pathway

School Entry level jobs Advancing jobs Senior jobs

Recommended – NCEA Level 2 in:




Skipper Inshore

Watchkeeper Deck


Chief Mate/Master

Skipper Coastal

Cheif Mate

Master Coastal

Master Foreign Going

Business Manager

Business Owner

Unit/Achievement standards in schools Traineeship Higher learning Higher learning

What do we offer?

  • We partner with industry associations like the Maritime and Seafood Educators Association and members of your industry to help recruit and build talented employees. This support includes promoting careers in your industry, identifying potential learners, and encouraging work placements.
  • We also ensure your industry’s qualifications continue to meet needs, support industry events like conferences and regularly celebrate your learners’ success.
  • When apprentices enrol, we assign them a Competenz account manager. Our account managers understand the industry and the skills learners and businesses need.