The Law Dictionary

Your Free Online Legal Dictionary • Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

CAPTAIN Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

A head-man; commander; commanding officer. The captain of a warvessel is the officer first in command. In the United States navy, the rank of “captain” is intermediate between that of “commander” and “commodore.” The governor or controlling officer of a vessel in the merchant service is usually styled “captain” by the inferior officers and seamen, but in maritime business and admiralty law is more commonly designated as “master.” In foreign jurisprudence his title is often that of “patron.” In the United States army (and the militia) the captain is the commander of a company of soldiers, one of the divisions of a regiment. The term is also used to designate the commander of a squad of municipal police. The “captain of the watch” on a vessel is a kind of foreman or overseer, who, under the supervision of the mate, has charge of one of the two watches into which the crew is divided for the convenience of work. lie calls them out and in, and directs them where to store freight, which packages to move, when to go or come ashore, and generally directs their work, and is an “officer” of the vessel within the meaning of statutes regulating the conduct of officers to the seamen.


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