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First Officer

Shipboard Officer / Personnel / Crew
Average Annual Salary: $222,921 + $44,188 Bonus
Employment type
Full Time
Government Employee


A $42,172 recruitment incentive is authorized for eligible selectees. Actual amount is calculated as 25% of base pay. Incentive is paid as a lump sum at the beginning of employment with the Command, and requires a 2-year service agreement. CIVMAR (VEOA) candidates and Annuitants selected for employment as First Officer are not eligible for recruitment incentives.

The First Officer is a Civil Service Mariner (CIVMAR) employed by the Navy to serve the Military Sealift Command (MSC) onboard naval auxiliaries and hybrid-manned warships worldwide, in peace and war. MSC exists to support the joint warfighter across the full spectrum of military operations. MSC provides on-time logistics, strategic sealift, as well as specialized missions anywhere in the world, in contested or uncontested environments.

As the Deck Department Head, the First Officer is responsible for the safe, effective and efficient management and supervision of deck department employees. Ensures sound fiscal management and adherence to budget guidelines by deck department employees. Has a thorough knowledge of the CMPI and DHAMS. Serves as the ships’ safety officer, training officer, damage control officer, vessel security officer, oil spill coordinator and (may be) gas free engineer. On ships without a Master, the OIC/Chief Mate is the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the entire CIVMAR contingent onboard regardless the disparity between formal pay rate designators.

As second in command of the ship, is directly accountable to the Master for all matters pertaining to management, operation, care, safety, and physical condition of deck department operations and keeps the Master informed in those areas. Keeps abreast of all ship’s business matters and acts on behalf of the Master when he/she is not available. Maintains a functional understanding of ship’s mission, operations, command relationships, and operational reports. Acts as a Command Duty officer (CDO) in charge of the Shipboard Reaction Force (SRF) and fire parties on ships so organized. Performs emergency duties as assigned by the Master and reflected on the Station Bill.

Responsible for the proper planning, loading, stowage and discharge of cargo and maintenance of the ship in a safe and stable condition. Prior to sailing, inspects the ship to ascertain there are no structural defects and that hatches, side ports, cargo gear, cargo and equipment are secured properly. Using Ship Automated Maintenance Management (SAMM) prepares and submits deck department repair list. Submits a list of Voyage Repair Requests (VRR’s) to the Chief Engineer for maintenance and repair of deck related items that are beyond the capabilities of ship’s force and require outside industrial assistance. Monitors the progress of VRR’s; inspects repairs made by shore side personnel and makes reports of inspections to the Master and Chief Engineer.

Ensures equitable distribution of overtime; ensures subordinates maintain proper hygiene, grooming and uniform standards; exercises disciplinary control over subordinates and initiates disciplinary actions IAW CMPI 750; recognizes and rewards subordinates’ work-accomplishments and achievements using the awards program; conducts career counseling, arranges training, monitors personnel career progressions, and encourages upgrading of licenses and documents; and prepares MAP/Promotion Evaluation Reports as required. Must be able to effectively use applicable shipboard software applications.

As AT/FP Officer, issues orders to and ensures training of crewmembers to provide force protection, physical security of government property, and security awareness for classified documents and materials. Ensures maintenance of a continuous gangway watch to control personnel and material coming aboard or leaving the ship. Acts as Qual-Cert Board member on board ships with the program. Presides at deck department safety meetings, presents progress reports of outstanding and new safety items and recommendations. Maintains a safety library and keeps personnel and department heads informed on current safety procedures and developments. Oversees Ships Safety Management System (SMS) administration and compliance as Safety Officer. Makes SMS reports as required.

Towing and salvage First Officers shall be TOAR endorsed or tow qualified and have experience in towing and salvage. First Officers should be competent ship handlers capable of docking, undocking and mooring without tug assistance. They should have superior leadership skills working with Mobile Diving and Salvage Units (MDSU), foreign Navy, and VIP personnel. Towing and Salvage Mates must be proficient at shipboard medical care and have knowledge of the US Navy Tow Manual.

Ensures continuing application of and compliance with EEO laws, regulations, and policies.

Masters and Department Heads may add to these duties to clarify specific shipboard tasks. Everything in this Position Description is considered to be an essential function of this position. Performs all other duties as assigned.


Minimum Eligibility Requirements: Must be a United States citizen of at least 18 years of age and possess and maintain:

  1. U.S. Passport with a minimum of seven months of expiration date.
  2. Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and/or Department of Defense (DOD) Common Access Card (CAC) with a minimum of ten (10) months remaining of expiration.
  3. United States Coast Guard (USCG) Merchant Mariner’s Credential (MMC), with a minimum of ten months remaining of expiration date.

Position Specific Requirements:

  1. MMC endorsed as: Any Unlicensed Rating in the Deck Department, or Able Seaman Unlimited.
  2. USCG License endorsed as: Chief Mate of Steam and Motor Vessels of Any Gross Tons Upon Oceans (or higher), and Radar Observer - Unlimited.
  3. STCW Certificate endorsed as: CAPACITY as Chief Mate, or Master; STCW may not include limitations of validity on vessels operating in the GMDSS system, or aboard ARPA or radar-equipped vessels.
  4. A Federal Communications Commission GMDSS Radio Operator's License/certificate.

Desired Experience

  • Nautical Institute Unlimited Dynamic Positioning Officer (DPO) and/or Offshore Service Vessel Dynamic Positioning Authority (OSVDPA) Class A DPO certification with a minimum 3 years remaining before expiration or sufficient Unlimited Dynamic Positioning sea time for renewal.
  • Recent Dynamic Positioning and towing experience within 3 years.
  • Experience with the following operations: AHTS/OSV operations; towing operations; subsea construction; DP diving operations; government special missions, or cable ship operations.
  • Recent High Speed Craft experience within 3 years.
Apply Instructions
All applications for employment with Military Sealift Command must be submitted through

Military Sealift Command

Military Sealift Command
The Military Sealift Command (MSC) is a United States Navy organization that controls most of the replenishment and military transport ships of the Navy. The United States Military Sealift Command has the responsibility for providing sealift and ocean transportation for all US military services as well as for other government agencies


6353 Center Drive building 8, Suite 202
Norfolk, VA, 23502 USA