The sea captain has always been the master and commander of his ship. He is accountable for its security and well-organized undertaking. This includes cargo setups, ship steering, crew supervision and guarantees that the ship conforms to local and international directives, as well as corporation and flag country guidelines.
The sea captain is typically liable for the ship's bookkeeping, crew salary, and supplies. He is also responsible for submission with immigration and customs policies, maintaining the ship's documentations and credentials, and conformity with the craft’s security plan, as instructed by the International Maritime Organization. In addition, he is to blame for responding to and reporting in case of calamities and skirmishes, and in case of injuries and illness among the ship's crew and passengers.
The following are some outstanding brief histories of the sea captains that have mastered the sea:
- William Adams – the first Englishman to ever reach Japan
- Pedro Alvare Cabral – the first Portuguese explorer to discover the sea route to Brazil
- Christopher Columbus – A Genoan navigator who managed to discover the New World
- Stephen Decatur – the youngest American to ever reach the rank of captain in the Navy
- Francis Drake – an Englishman who made circumnavigation of the globe possible
- Robert Fitz Roy – captain of Darwin's HMS Beagle, and made weather forecasting more reliable
- Vasco de Gama – a Portuguese explorer who discovered a route to the Spice Islands (India) from Europe
- Minoru Genda – the Japanese strategist behind the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941
- Ferdinand Magellan – led the first circumnavigational expedition
- Edward Smith – Captain of the Titanic when it sank in 1912
However, there are fictional sea captains that have done outstanding feats in the literary ocean:
- Captain Ahab – the fictional hero of “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville
- Captain Englehorn – the ship captain in the “King Kong” series
- Captain James Hook – the evil captain in “Peter Pan”
- Captain Jack Sparrow – the skilled captain of the Black Pearl in “Pirates of the Carribean”
- Captain Nemo – Jules Verne's wise captain of the ship Nautilus in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”
A sea captain, no matter how colorful his adventures, may require a Master Mariner’s license issued by his country of origin. Great sea captains hold unlimited master’s licenses and are not restricted by their vessels’ tonnage or geographical origin. A contender for an unlimited master's licenses needs several years of seaworthy knowledge as third, second, and chief mate.
During navigation, a sea captain represents official authorities like the notary public and police enforcement. He also has the official power to use extreme force to defend the interests of the flag state, ship owner, the ship environment, cargo owners, his crew, vessel passengers and the safe navigation activities and laws. Nobody on board, regardless of his authority, during ship navigation can override the Captain in his important office. All persons aboard that conform to the nautical and navigation laws remain under the command and authority of the sea Captain.