Barge Captain

Take charge of steering a barge to its final destination.
picture of Barge Captain

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$31,000 – $117,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Barge Captains do?

Barges are massive ships that haul huge loads up and down waterways. It takes a crew, from the Deckhand to the First Mate, to avoid obstacles in the water, deal with weather conditions, and have enough eyes to see in all directions. The leader of the barge band is called the Barge Captain, and her duty is to manage everything that happens on the barge.

As a Barge Captain, you have experience in the marine world. So it’s no surprise to you when you have to adjust your heading to compensate for violent winds, or perform repairs mid-cruise. Being a Barge Captain means being a quick thinker and decision maker. You might have to make snap decisions about direction, speed, and emergency situations.

In addition to maneuvering the barge down the waterway, you’re a Personnel Manager, too. That puts you in charge of interviewing, hiring, firing, training, and evaluating job performance of every crewmember on board.

Of course, you also handle the budget. Like any business, a barge needs supplies and faces overhead costs. It’s up to you to set budgets, build relationships with vendors, and scour the fuel and maintenance expenditures on a regular basis.

Speaking of maintenance, you keep records of all activity on the barge, including required repairs and scheduled inspections, what load you’re carrying, and how long each trip takes. Additionally, you do your part to make sure the trip is environmentally friendly by tying down loads and respecting all local, state, and federal laws.

Should I be a Barge Captain?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • Also known as: Captain, Port Captain, Relief Captain

    How to become a Barge Captain

    We recommend at least a Certificate. Check out these schools offering Barge Captain-related education!
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