Who is a Harbour Master (Port Master)?

Harbour master is one career in the maritime industry which requires great skills and experience. The name defining it all, a harbour master is entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the proceedings of a port or a harbour.

 

Technically, a port master can be for both naval harbours as well as general commercial marine ports. However, the basics of this maritime job remain the same while the only change occurs in the authority under which the port master functions. In case of the former the navy is the authority concerned while in case of the latter, it is the port owners and the management committee.

In order to embark upon the maritime career of a port master, one has to primarily have the necessary working experience as a seafarer. Since the role is of a managerial nature, the port master has to reconcile both the operational and the managerial aspects of the domain quite effectively. Right from logistics of operations to even the most minute security requirements, the master of the harbour is required to carry it all with aplomb.

The job of a harbour master comes with great responsibilities. Anyone taking up this job should be ready for the following:

–          Interesting job role with newer challenges

–          Wider scope of responsibilities

–          Learning new technologies and adapting to the constantly changing maritime world

–          Dealing with emergency situations

–          Showcasing great leadership qualities

–          Willing to work in a team

–          Display motivational qualities

One of the most vital challenges of the profession is to meet the stringent professional requirements. The method of operation in no two harbours is alike. Therefore the harbour master needs to be prepared all concerns pertaining to the port under his command. The marine industry is a sector that functions 24 hours in a day on account of its extensive global coverage. Thus the port master needs to be on his toes in order to ensure that the operations are carried out smoothly and without any hitches whatsoever.

In case of a harbour being one in a small waterway, the harbourmaster has to ensure that the navigational conducts have sufficient deepness so as allow easy passage of the vessels. Similarly, the port master is also in-charge of ensuring that the towing and tugging vessels are maintained in prime condition and ascertaining that the vessel helmsmen are qualified to steer these vessels.

Security details and verification of the functionality of the set-up security measures is yet another focus area of the harbour masters. In the present scenario, security requirements have been beefed up in ports and harbours. It falls under the ambit of the port master’s job role to take care that all security credentials are met by the vessels approaching the harbour, the harbour’s internal security system is place and there is no disruption whatsoever. Last but not the least, the harbour master has to ensure that the cargo operations at the harbour goes on smoothly and efficiently.

Just like any other profession, even harbour masters have their own not-for-profit organisation known as the IHMA – the International Harbour Masters Association. Through this organisation, the professionals can interact and integrate themselves for the betterment of the entire profession in the days to come.

References

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