The Maritime Heritage Project

World Harbors from The Maritime Heritage Project in San Francisco.

Ship Captains in the Port of San Francisco



Henry Cleaveland (aka Henry Cleveland)

In 1848 Henry Cleaveland took over as master of the whaler Niantic and in May 1849, he was in Paita, Peru, as captain of the ship.

He learned of the discovery of gold, sailed to Panama, picked up 249 passengers, charging $150 to $250 each, and arrived in San Francisco on July 5, 1849.

Once the Niantic anchored, its crew left town along with the passengers.

Advertisement of the sale of the Niantic.

The whaler's owners pulled the ship ashore, dismantled its masts and rigging, and constructed offices and warehouses on her.

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"Master Under God"

Captains exercised absolute authority at sea and so were dubbed "Master Under God" by early insurance writs, agreements with ship owners and passengers and the Board of Trade.

The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including cargo operations, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with local and international laws, as well as company and flag state policies.

All persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, passengers, guests and pilots, are under the captain's authority and are his ultimate responsibility.

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship.On international voyages, the captain is responsible for satisfying requirements of the local immigration and customs officials.Immigration issues can include situations such as embarking and disembarking passengers, handling crewmembers who desert the ship, making crew-changes in port, and making accommodations for foreign crewmembers.

Customs requirements can include the master providing a cargo declaration, a ship's stores declaration, a declaration of crewmembers' personal effects, crew lists and passenger lists.

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A Selection of Books About
Sea Captains

Marine art of Geoff Hunt.
A Selection of Books About
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