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The captain of the Wicked Wench.

"Well, well. Jack Sparrow, isn't it?"
Captain Jack Sparrow, if you please, sir."
"Well, I don't see your ship, Captain."
"I'm in the market, as it were.
James Norrington and Jack Sparrow[src]

Captain was a nautical term and the traditional title given to a person in charge of a ship at sea. Legal documents often correctly refer to these people as the ship's Master. The word came to English via French from the Latin capitaneus ("chief") which itself was derived from the Latin word caput ("head"). The analogous French title is Capitaine, it was notably used by the Pirate Lord Chevalle. The analogous Spanish title is Capitán, it was notably used by the Pirate Lord Esmeralda Maria Consuela Anna de Sevilla and the Spanish Royal Navy officer Armando Salazar. The "Captain" was usually helped by the first mate, or bo'sun.


"Captain gives orders on the ship."
"The captain of the ship is giving orders."
"My ship, makes me captain."
"They be my charts."
"That makes you 'chartman.'
Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa[src]

Over the years, the captain was responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including cargo operations, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complied with local and international laws, as well as company and flag state policies. All persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, passengers, guests and pilots, were under the captain's authority and are his ultimate responsibility.

In the Royal Navy, the term 'captain' referred to the officer in command of the ship whether he was a Lieutenant, Commander or Post Captain. The actually rank of Captain was referred to as 'Post Captain' to distingush it.

Some captains, like Jack Sparrow, owned their ships, while others such as James Norrington, commanded ships for others. The captain was the one to give the order to abandon ship. Disobeying the captain could be considered mutiny.

Gallery of notable captains

Behind the scenes



External links

WP favicon Captain on Wikipedia

Notes and references

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