This is a list of sea captains. The list includes merchant ship's captains as well as naval ship's captains. It is limited to those notable in this role, and about which Wikipedia has articles.

About Nationality Merchant Naval Born Died
Adams, William

An English navigator who went to Japan and is believed to be the first Briton ever to reach Japan.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1564 1620
Alexanderson, Leroy J.

Last captain of the SS United States, the biggest ocean liner ever built in the United States and the fastest ocean liner in history.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1910 2004
Aruga, Kōsaku

A Japanese naval officer who participated in World War II. His most significant battles were the Battle of Leyte Gulf and at the East China Sea.

22x20px Japan Yes 1897 1945
File:William Bainbridge.jpg
Bainbridge, William

A Commodore in the United States Navy, notable for his victory over HMS Java during the War of 1812.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1774 1833
Barney, Joshua

A commodore in the United States Navy who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1759 1818
File:James Barron.jpg
Barron, James

Served in the Virginia Navy during the last years of the American Revolution and, nearly two decades later in 1798, received a commission as a Lieutenant in the new U.S. Navy.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1769 1851
Barron, Samuel

An officer of the United States Navy and later Confederate Navy, acting as a representative in Europe for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1809 1888
File:John Barry by Gilbert Stuart.jpg
Barry, John

An officer in the Continental Navy and later in the United States Navy.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1745 1803
Berwick, Thomas

Was a master mariner until he was found guilty of scuttling his ship and sentenced to twenty years transportation. At the time of his sentence he was married with seven children. He arrived in Western Australia on board the Hougoumont in January 1868.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1825 1891
Bligh, William

An officer of the Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. The notorious mutiny occurred during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789; Bligh and his loyal men made a remarkable voyage to Timor, after being set adrift by the mutineers in the Bounty's launch.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1754 1817
Borghese, Prince Junio Valerio Scipione

An Italian naval commander during Fascism and a hard-line fascist politician in post-war Italy.

22x20px Italy Yes 1906 1974
File:Guillermo Brown.png
Brown, William

Irish-born, "father of the Argentine Navy", victorious in the Independence War, the Argentina-Brazil War, and the Guerra Grande in Uruguay

22x20px Argentina Yes 1777 1857
Buchanan, Franklin

An officer in the United States Navy who became an admiral in the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War, and commanded the ironclad CSS Virginia.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1800 1874
File:Pedro Álvares Cabral - steel engraving by American Bank Note Company.jpg
Cabral, Pedro Álvares

Portuguese navigator and explorer, generally regarded as the first European discoverer of the sea route to Brazil (April 22, 1500).

Template:POR Yes 1467 1520
Peter Campbell

Irish-born founder of the Uruguayan Navy.

Template:URY Yes 1780 1832
File:Isaac Chauncey.jpg
Chauncey, Isaac

An officer in the United States Navy

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1772 1840
Columbus, Christopher

Genoese navigator, colonizer and explorer whose voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, funded by Queen Isabella of Spain, led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere.

Flag of Genoa Genoa Yes 1451 1506
File:William Hogarth 053.jpg
Coram, Thomas

Sea captain who later operated a ship building business at Taunton, Massachusetts. He afterwards became a successful merchant in London and, in 1732, a trustee of James Oglethorpe’s Georgia colony.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1668 1751
Cushing, William B.

An officer in the United States Navy, best known for sinking the Confederate ironclad CSS Albemarle during a daring nighttime raid on October 27, 1864, a feat for which he received the thanks of Congress.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1842 1874
Decatur, Stephen

An American naval officer notable for his heroism in the Barbary Wars and in the War of 1812. He was the youngest man to reach the rank of captain in the history of the U.S. Navy, and the first American celebrated as a national military hero who had not played a role in the American Revolution.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1776 1820
File:1590 or later Marcus Gheeraerts, Sir Francis Drake Buckland Abbey, Devon.jpg
Drake, Francis

An English privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. He is most famous for circumnavigating the globe in command of the Golden Hind between 1577 and 1580.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes Yes c. 1540 1595
File:George Duff.jpg
Duff, George

British naval officer during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, whose excellent career was cut short when he was killed by a cannon ball at the battle of Trafalgar.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1764 1805
File:Robert Fitzroy.jpg
FitzRoy, Robert

Vice-Admiral FitzRoy achieved lasting fame as the captain of HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin's famous voyage, and as a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate weather forecasting a reality. He was an able surveyor and hydrographer and served as Governor of New Zealand from 1843 to 1845.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1805 1865
Fryatt, Charles

Master of the Great Eastern Railways steamship Brussels, and he was shot by the Germans in 1916 after he used his ship to try and ram one of their submarines. Sometime after the attempt the Germans lay in wait for his ship and captured him.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1871 1916
da Gama, Estêvão

The second son of Vasco da Gama and brother of Cristóvão da Gama, and named after his paternal grandfather Estêvão da Gama.He commanded the fleet that entered the Red Sea, with the intent of attacking the Ottoman fleet in its harbor at Suez.

Template:POR Yes ca. 1505 1576
da Gama, Cristóvão

Son of explorer Vasco da Gama, commanded a ship in the Red Sea against the Ottoman naval base at Suez.

Template:POR Yes 1516 1542
da Gama, Paulo

A Portuguese explorer, son of Estevão da Gama and the older brother of Vasco da Gama, he took part on the first sea trip from Europe to India, led by his brother, commanding the ship São Rafael, which would be later scuttled in the return trip. Paulo da Gama joined the São Gabriel, but, already sick, died the day after his ship arrived at the Azores.

Template:POR Yes ? 1499
File:Vasco da Gama.png
da Gama, Vasco

A Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the European Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India.

Template:POR Yes ca. 1460 – 1469 1524
File:Giuseppe Garibaldi (1866).jpg
Garibaldi, Giuseppe

Italian patriot, merchant captain, and soldier of the Risorgimento.

22x20px Italy Yes 1807 1882
File:Minoru Genda.jpg
Genda, Minoru

Served in the Imperial Japanese Navy before and during World War II, and was the strategist behind the successful December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Considered one of the most successful naval strategists and leaders in the history of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

22x20px Japan Yes 1904 1989
Gold, Edgar

A German-born, Australian-Canadian lawyer, author, academic, and Master Mariner.

22x20px Canada Yes 1934
Gower, Richard Hall

English mariner, empirical philosopher, nautical inventor, entrepreneur, and humanitarian.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1768 1833
Halpin, Robert

Captained the Brunel-designed leviathan SS Great Eastern which laid transoceanic telegraph cables in the late 1800s.

22x20px Ireland Yes 1836 1894
Hara, Tameichi

Imperial Japanese naval commander during the Pacific War and the author of the IJN manual on torpedo attack techniques, famous for his high skill (particularly in torpedo warfare and night fighting).

22x20px Japan Yes 1900 1980
Hashimoto, Mochitsura

Commander of the Japanese submarine Japanese submarine I-58 which sank the USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945, which was the single greatest disaster in US naval history.

22x20px Japan Yes 1909 2000
Hazelwood, Joseph

Captain of the Exxon Valdez at the time of its 1989 oil spill.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1946
File:Hirose Takeo.jpg
Hirose, Takeo

An officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy. His selfless sacrifice during the Russo-Japanese War elevated him to the status of a deified national hero.

22x20px Japan Yes 1868 1894
File:Isaac Hull.jpg
Hull, Isaac

A Commodore, in the United States Navy. During the mid-1790s, the young Hull commanded several merchant vessels, losing some to French privateers. He was commissioned a Lieutenant in the newly-formed United States Navy in March 1798 and distinguished himself during the next two years while serving on board the frigate Constitution in the Quasi-War with France.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes Yes 1773 1843
File:Commodore George Johnstone.jpg
Johnstone, George

Began his career at sea in the Merchant Navy, then entered the Royal Navy in 1746. Shortly after his promotion to Lieutenant in 1755, Johnstone was court martialed for "insubordination and disobedience" however, his record of gallantry in combat taken into account, he was given a reprimand in 1757. He was promoted Captain in 1762, and Commodore in 1763. Later served as Member of Parliament.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes Yes 1730 1787
File:Catesby ap Roger Jones.png
Jones, Catesby ap Roger

An officer in the U.S. Navy who became a commander in the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1821 1887
Jones, Thomas ap Catesby

U.S. Navy Commodore during the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War. He began his naval career during the War of 1812, receiving honors for bravery at Lake Borgne, Louisiana, delaying the British before the Battle of New Orleans. In 1826, he signed a treaty with King Kamehameha III of the Sandwich Islands.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1790 1858

Japanese naval officer and statesman during the Late Tokugawa shogunate and the Meiji period. Kaishū was a nickname which he took from a piece of calligraphy (Kaishū Shooku 海舟書屋) by Sakuma Shōzan. His actual name was Rintarō.

22x20px Japan Yes 1823 1899
Le Lacheur, William

Guernsey Sea Captain widely credited in Costa Rica as having transformed the economy of this Central American country by establishing a direct regular trade route for Costa Rican coffee growers to the European market, thereby helping to establish the Costa Rican coffee trade.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1802 1863
Ladd, William

An American anti-war activist. He was born in Exeter, New Hampshire. After graduating at Harvard in 1797 he took to the sea and came to be known as a capable New England captain. A disbeliever in war for any purpose, he turned landsman at the outbreak of the War of 1812 and devoted both his tongue and his pen to preaching non-resistance.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1778 1841
Lawrence, James

An American naval hero. During the War of 1812, he commanded the USS Chesapeake in a single-ship action against the HMS Shannon (commanded by Philip Broke). He is probably best known today for his dying command "Don't give up the ship!", which is still a popular naval battle cry.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1781 1813
MacDonough, Thomas

American naval officer, most notably as commander of American naval forces in Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. One of the leading members of "Preble's Boys", a small group of naval officers who served during the First Barbary War, MacDonough's actions during the decisive Battle of Lake Champlain are often cited as a model of tactical preparation and execution.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes Yes 1783 1825
File:Magellan 1810 engraving.jpg
Magellan, Ferdinand

A Portuguese maritime explorer who led the first circumnavigational expedition, and located the eponymous Strait of Magellan. He was also the first European to reach the Philippines.

Template:POR Yes 1480 1521
Maynard, Robert

Lieutenant in the British Royal Navy, captain of HMS Pearl, and is most famous for defeating the infamous pirate Blackbeard in battle.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes
File:Mcclelland portrait.jpg
McClelland, Thomas

A Captain in the United States Navy, notable for his command of Amphibious Squadron Five in the Gulf War.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1942
McGiffen, Philo

Late 19th century American naval officer later serving in Chinese service as a naval advisor during the First Sino-Japanese War. Although primarily skilled as an instructor and administrator, he proved a talented tactician during the Battle of the Yalu as well as the first American to command a modern battleship in wartime.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1860 1897
Mulzac, Hugh

First African American to command a vessel in the United States Merchant Marine.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1886 1971
Nelson, Horatio

A British flag officer famous for his participation in the Napoleonic Wars. He served in the Royal Navy for most of his life and won a number of significant victories, most notably at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during which he lost his life.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1758 1805
Nelson, William "Bull"

U.S. Navy officer and later a Union general in the American Civil War who commanded the Army of Kentucky. He holds the distinction of being the only naval officer to achieve the rank of major general on either side of the Civil War. He was shot and killed by a fellow Union general, Jefferson C. Davis, during an argument in 1862.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1824 1862
de Neumann, Captain Bernard Peter

Awarded a George Medal for his actions during an air attack by the Luftwaffe; Charged and convicted of piracy after being captured aboard the RN Prize Criton by the Vichy French off Conakry; "The Man From Timbuctoo"; Instigator and overseer of the installation of the Thames Navigation Service.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes Yes 1917 1972
Noonan, Fred

Born in Chicago, sailed in the Merchant Navy and Royal Navy, working his way up from ordinary seaman to quartermaster and bosun's mate, continuing on to merchant captain.a Later worked as a flight navigator, and was a pioneer of aviation. Was last seen in Lae, New Guinea on 2 July 1937 and disappeared with Amelia Earhart somewhere over the western Pacific during their World Flight.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes Yes 1893 1937
File:Piloto Pardo 361a.jpeg
Pardo, Luis

Captain of the Chilean steam tug Yelcho which rescued the 22 stranded crewmen of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance from Elephant Island, Antarctica, in August 1916.

22x20px Chile Yes 1882 1935
Pearson, Richard

British naval officer who was captain of the ship HMS Serapis during the American Revolution. He was defeated by John Paul Jones on September 23, 1779 in a pivotal battle.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1731 1806
File:Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth by James Northcote.jpg
Pellew, Edward

A British naval officer. He fought during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary, and the Napoleonic Wars. Pellew is remembered as an officer and a gentleman of great courage and leadership, earning his land and titles through courage, leadership and skill – serving as a paradigm of the versatility and determination of Naval Officers during the Napoleonic Wars. Pellew makes fictional appearances in the Horatio Hornblower novels.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1757 1833
Perry, Matthew

Commodore of the U.S. Navy who compelled the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1794 1858
Perry ,Oliver Hazard

Officer in the United States Navy. He served in the War of 1812 against Britain and earned the nickname "Hero of Lake Erie" for leading American forces in a decisive naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1785 1819
File:David Porter.jpg
Porter, David

Officer in the United States Navy and later the commander-in-chief of the Mexican Navy.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1780 1843
Prat, Arturo

Captain of the Esmeralda, Prat was killed shortly after boarding the Peruvian armored monitor Huáscar at the Naval Battle of Iquique.

22x20px Chile Yes 1848 1879
File:Edward Preble.jpg
Preble, Edward

Officer in the United States Navy and United States Merchant Marine, participated in the Revolutionary War, the Quasi-War with France, and the First Barbary War.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes Yes 1761 1807
Reid, Samuel Chester

Officer in the United States Navy during the War of 1812. He served in Constellation with Commodore Thomas Truxtun and in 1803 became master of the brig Merchant. During the War of 1812 he commanded the privateer General Armstrong and at Fayal, Azores, in 1814 engaged gunboats from British men-of-war en route to Jamaica and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes Yes 1783 1861
Rodgers, John (War of 1812)

American naval officer who served in the United States Navy from its organization in the 1790s through the late 1830s. His service included the Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1772 1838
File:John Rodgers.jpg
Rodgers, John (Civil War)

Son of Commodore John Rodgers, was born near Havre de Grace, Maryland. He was received his appointment as a Midshipman in the Navy on 18 April 1828. Service in the Mediterranean on board Constellation and Concord opened his long career of distinguished service, and he commanded an expedition of Naval Infantry and Marines in Florida during the Seminole Wars. In the mid-1850s he succeeded Commander Ringgold in command of the North Pacific Exploring and Surveying Expedition, which added greatly to our knowledge of far eastern and northern waters. Following his promotion to Commander in 1855, he married and settled to work in the Navy's Japan Office in Washington, D.C., where he was serving when the Civil War broke out.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1812 1882
File:Molly brown rescue award titanic.jpg
Rostron, Arthur

Captain for the Cunard Line and was the master of the ocean liner RMS Carpathia when it rescued the survivors of the RMS Titanic which sank on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg.

As the result of his efforts to reach the Titanic before it sank, and his preparations for and conduct of the rescue of the survivors, Captain Rostron was lionized as a hero. He was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. Congress, and after World War I was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was made the Commodore of the Cunard fleet before retiring in 1931.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1869 1940
Sakuma, Tsutomi

Japanese naval officer who served during the Russo-Japanese War and one of the first submarine commanders of the Imperial Japanese Navy, known primarily as the commanding officer during the sinking of the No. 6 submarine.

22x20px Japan Yes 1879 1910
Seyburn, Isaac D.

Welsh-American merchant captain who served as an officer in the United States Navy during the Civil War, with the rank of Acting Master. He was wounded in action during the 1861 Battle of Port Royal. During 1863 he commanded the schooner USS Kittatinny as part of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron under Rear Admiral David Farragut. Seyburn resigned his commission in 1864 due to war injuries and initially settled in Maine. He later moved to Louisiana, where he operated a sugar plantation.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes Yes 1824 1895
Seymour, Edward Hobart

British Admiral of the Fleet. Served in the Black Sea until the evacuation of Crimea in 1856. After the Crimean War, still a midshipman, he was appointed to the HMS Calcutta, flagship of his uncle Sir Michael Seymour, on the China station. He took part in the capture of Canton (December 1857). In HMS Chesapeake Seymour took part in the attack on the Taku forts in September 1860.

In December 1897, Seymour was appointed commander-in-chief on the China station. Service there was peaceful until the Boxer Rebellion. Seymour led the Naval Brigade in the relief of Peking.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1840 1929
Shchetinina, Anna

Soviet merchant marine captain, often said to be the first woman captain of an ocean-going ship

Template:USSR Yes No 1908 1999
File:EJ Smith.jpg
Smith, Edward

Captain of the RMS Titanic when it sank in 1912. Joined the White Star Shipping Line in March 1880 as the Fourth Officer of the Celtic. He served aboard the company's liners to Australia and to New York, where he quickly rose in stature. In 1887, Smith received his first White Star command, the SS Republic. In 1888, Smith earned his Extra Master's Certificate and joined the Royal Naval Reserve (thus enabling him to append his name with "RNR"), qualifying as a full Lieutenant. This meant that in a time of war, Smith and his ship could be called upon to serve by the Royal Navy. Because of his position as a Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve Smith had the distinction of being able to fly the Blue Duster of the R.N.R., most ships flew the Red Duster of the merchant marine.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes Yes 1850 1912
File:Robert F. Stockton.jpg
Stockton, Robert Field

United States naval officer, notable in the capture of California during the Mexican-American War. Stockton was from a notable political family and also served as a U.S. Senator from New Jersey.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1795 1866
Surcouf, Robert

Captain, ship owner and corsair from St. Malo. Notable as French corsair during the Napoleonic Wars.

22x20px France Yes Yes 1773 1823
Thomas, William Bevil

Prominent Newfoundland merchant, land developer and sea captain

22x20px Canada Yes 1757 ????
File:Thomas Truxtun.jpg
Truxton, Thomas

American naval officer who rose to the rank of commodore. Truxtun had little formal education before joining the crew of the British merchant ship Pitt at the age of twelve. By the time he was twenty, however, his talents had garnered him the command of his own vessel, the Andrew Caldwell. He operated as a privateer during the American Revolution, commanding several ships: Congress, Independence, Mars and St. James. Truxtun was highly successful in capturing enemy ships during this period, not once suffering a defeat.

After the war he returned to the merchant marine, where he remained for twelve years, and in 1786 commanded one of the first American ships to engage in trade with China, the Canton operating from Philadelphia.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes Yes 1755 1822
Welch, Marty

A fishing schooner captain out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was captain of the Schooner Esperanto in 1920 when it defeated the Canadian Schooner Delawana in the first International Fishing Schooner Championship Races in Halifax, Nova Scotia

22x20px Canada Yes 1864 1935
Wilkes, Charles

American naval officer and explorer. He is particularly noted for his 1838–1842 Pacific expedition as well as for his role in the Trent Affair during the Civil War.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1798 1877
Winslow, Perry

Captain of the whaling vessel the Phoenix and the Edward Cary.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1815 1890
Woodget, Richard

English sea captain, most famously known as the master of the famous sailing clipper Cutty Sark during her most successful period of service in the wool trade between Australia and the United Kingdom.

22x20px United Kingdom Yes 1845 1928
File:John m whitall.jpg
Whitall, John M.

Prominent sea captain, businessman and philanthropist in New Jersey and Pennsylvania involved in the spice and silk trade, glass-making, and missionary work.

Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes 1800 1877
Zheng He

Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral, who made the voyages collectively referred to as the travels of "Eunuch Sanbao to the Western Ocean" (Chinese: 三保太監下西洋) or "Zheng He to the Western Ocean", from 1405 to 1433.

China Yes. 1371 1433

Lacking articlesEdit

Fictional sea captainsEdit