What does the staff captain do?

Interview with Claas Fischer, staff captain on board the HANSEATIC nature.

How do you become a staff captain?
First you need to study nautical science for four years. In my case, I graduated with a diploma in maritime engineering. The degree includes a one-year placement on board. The certificate qualifies you to be a chief mate; it's sort of like a driving licence.
Then you need to spend some time on board as a third or second officer to qualify as a first Mate - and then after some more time, you can obtain your captain's licence. This then allows you to become the staff captain.

When does your working day normally begin?
My working day starts at 4.00 hrs in the morning and ends at around 20.00 hrs, depending on the situation.

What is your daily routine on board?
I start the morning at 4.00 hrs with a four-hour watch duty on the bridge. During this time, I pilot the ship and am responsible for navigation and safety. When their duty starts, the other officers, the bosun and the carpenter join the bridge to discuss the work that needs to be done.
When the ship is at anchor, I pilot the first Zodiac or the first tender ashore to assess the situation and establish the landing place. At sea, I have a quick breakfast and then do a round of the decks to see how things look.
Like in almost all jobs, a large part of the day is devoted to administrative tasks.
The day normally ends at around 20.00 hrs with a round of the ship.

What are the best moments on a cruise for you?
Personally, I absolutely love arriving at a destination. Whether that's the beautifully illuminated skyline of a major city or a secluded bay.

How many years have you been working at sea?
I had my first job on a container ship in 2007 when I was still studying and I have been an officer with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises since 2012.

When did you discover your passion for this?
On the car ferry to Finland when I was three years old.

Tell us about your most enjoyable encounter ...
There isn't one specific encounter for me. I meet so many interesting people in my job.

What do you always pack in your luggage?
A little gold angel good-luck charm made of foil that my grandfather took on his sea voyages.

You have seen a lot of the world. Which destination excites you and why?
I love the world's icy regions. I am always excited about the destinations that we can reach with our small ships. I think the fascinating thing about them is the monumental silence that envelops many of these places.

The best thing about my job is ...
Working with lots of different colleagues and the interesting encounters with our guests.

A perfect moment of happiness on board is ...
A hot coffee with colleagues after a cold morning in a boat.

What is essential listening on your playlist?
Johann Sebastian Bach's "Minuet and Badinerie" from Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor.