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Who Is a Skipper in Sailing?

Whether you are taking a month-long cruise on an ocean liner or a three-hour tour, someone has to run the ship. You might even hear the term “skipper” thrown around. Who is a skipper in sailing? Is it a strange nautical term, or does it have a general meaning?

Who Is a Skipper?

Put in the simplest terms, the skipper is the individual in charge of a boat and its crew. They are officially liable for safety on the vessel. In general, the responsibilities of a skipper are identical to that of a captain.

Really, “skipper” is a less formal title for the same role. There is an unwritten convention that larger ships have a captain while smaller ships and boats have a skipper. It’s not a hard rule, and in an informal setting, calling the leader of a naval vessel “skipper” is just fine.

What Does a Skipper Do?

A skipper’s primary role is assuming responsibility and taking a leadership position. The skipper is responsible for the entire vessel, the equipment onboard the vessel, and the whole crew. All decisions ultimately fall at the feet of the skipper. As such, the skipper should know every function and detail of their vessel. They have to understand the navigation necessary for the trip at hand, how to handle the weather, and everything else that is relevant.

They are the ultimate authority and caretaker while a vessel is on a voyage. Depending on the size of the crew, the skipper should be able to perform every vital job that keeps the vessel running and safe.

So, the next time you are on any vessel at sea, remember that the skipper is working hard to keep you safe.

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