Riverboat Captain

Transport passengers and cargo up, down, and across rivers.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$31,000 – $117,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Riverboat Captains do?

A Riverboat Captain and the Driver of a 1960s Cadillac have a lot in common. Both are responsible for steering and maneuvering an incredibly large hunk of metal from point A to point B. Both are likely very concerned about running into anything with their vehicles. And both are working with vehicles that are sometimes slow to respond to commands, so a large amount of skill is required.

As a Riverboat Captain, you’re responsible for transporting freight down rivers. Sometimes, your freight consists of grains or commodities. Other times, it’s a group of tourists on a pleasure cruise.

You consult maps and navigation charts, and keep track of the tides. To do this, you may use sophisticated methods, or technologies that have been available for centuries. You head up a crew on your journey, and direct them to keep the boat on course and the cargo protected. When you arrive at your destination, you ensure that the cargo is unloaded properly.

You may be responsible for hiring your crew, and disciplining and firing them when needed. As you chug along your route, you need to ensure that your boat isn’t leaking and contaminating the water and the surrounding environment. You may have to fill out paperwork to prove that you’ve made these checks.

Some of your assignments as a Riverboat Captain can keep you away from home for weeks at a time. You spend all that time with your crew, which can be a lot of fun, as it’ll give you an opportunity to brush up on your poker-playing skills.

Should I be a Riverboat Captain?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Canal Driver, Harbor Tug Captain, River Boat Captain

    How to become a Riverboat Captain

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