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Filipino and Spanish law, as narrow exceptions, recognise a marriage in articulo mortis (on the point of death) solemnized by the captain of a ship or chief of an aeroplane during a voyage, or by the commanding officer of a military unit.
Bermuda permit captains of ships registered in their jurisdictions to perform marriages at sea.
The United States Navy defined a captain’s powers in its 1913 Code of Regulations, specifically stating: "The commanding officer shall not perform a marriage ceremony on board his ship or aircraft.
He shall not permit a marriage ceremony to be performed on board when the ship or aircraft is outside the territory of the United States" with the exceptions being "in accordance with local laws and the laws of the state, territory, or district in which the parties are domiciled" and "In the presence of a diplomatic or consular official of the United States, who has consented to issue the certificates and make the returns required by the consular regulations." There are a few contradictory legal precedents: courts didn’t recognize a shipboard marriage in California's 1898 Norman v. Fisher (notwithstanding the absence of municipal laws so carried) and in 1933's Johnson v.
A Chief Mate to Master formal training generally takes about 12 weeks and provides the knowledge, skills and other soft skills training to take on the duties and responsibilities.
Various US states require and issue shipmaster or captain licenses in order to be employed in operating a vessel for hire, while navigating within "non-federal" waters. Most states honor a USCG master's certificate as an alternative to their state licensing.
Another possibility is a wedding on a ship in port, under the authority of an official from that port. To become a master of vessels of any gross tons upon oceans in the United States, one must first accumulate at least 360 days of service (Recency – 90 days in the past three years on vessels of appropriate tonnage) while holding a chief mate's license.
Some captains obtain other credentials (such as ordination as ministers of religion or accreditation as notaries public), which allow them to perform marriages in some jurisdictions where they would otherwise not be permitted to do so.
Some employers offer financial assistance to pay for the training for their employees.
Otherwise, the mariner is responsible for the cost of the required training.
There is a common belief that ship captains have historically been, and currently are, able to perform marriages.
Although this depends on the country of registry, ship captains are not, and have never been, permitted to perform marriages in the US.
In the passenger-carrying trade a unified corporate image is often desired and it is useful for those unfamiliar with the vessel to be able to identify members of the crew and their function.