POSITIONS: Sloop Captain

COMPANY: Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc

LOCATION: Hudson River, New York

The Captain of the sloop Clearwater is responsible for the safety and well-being of crew and passengers, and for the safe and efficient operation and management of the vessel. The captain is the ultimate authority on the vessel, commanding respect and attention from all crew and passengers at all times. Clearwater tradition, seafaring tradition and legalities dictate the extent of the Captain’s command.

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc., is a non-profit membership organization that for over 50 years has been at the forefront of the environmental movement as a champion of the Hudson River. As an organization, Clearwater inspires lifelong stewardship of the Hudson and its watershed by connecting people of all ages with the living river. The organization owns and operates the 106′ Sloop Clearwater, recognized as America’s Environmental Flagship. The vessel is an all wood work boat, a replica of sloops that sailed the Hudson River in the 18th and 19th centuries. Instead of bricks, produce, and other cargoes of earlier ages, Clearwater’s “cargo” is a message of advocacy for the environment, primarily the Hudson River and its surrounding waterways.

Clearwater’s unique approach to public outreach has made the sloop a symbol of grassroots action through hands-on learning, activism, and celebration. The sloop’s crew consists of 10-16 experienced hands, apprentices, and volunteers, providing a solid schedule of onboard education programs for schools, educational groups, adult programs and members. The Captain is an ambassador of Clearwater’s environmental agenda and acts accordingly.

The sloop Clearwater is a U.S. Coast Guard inspected Subchapter T vessel. It sails the tidewater reaches of the Hudson River from Albany to New York City, greater New York Harbor, and Long Island Sound. The sailing season typically runs from early April through mid-November.

During the sailing season Clearwater typically employs two Captains who alternate periods of time on the sloop with periods of time attending to administrative tasks and taking days off. They collaborate in accomplishing boat-based and office-based responsibilities. These areas of responsibility overlap and are not confined to the locality of the office or the boat.

This is a basic job description for the Captain. It is the nature of the job that the needs of the moment often create new responsibilities and new methods by which to fulfill them.

Administrative Responsibilities:
The Captain’s administrative responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring compliance with all federal, state and local safety regulations with special regard to the USCG;
  • Hiring, training, supervising, and evaluating sailing and maintenance crew, including review and approval of training and leave requests;
  • Bookkeeping of vessel accounts (boat books) and maintenance of budget;
  • Planning and implementing maintenance work;
  • Research and purchase of all maintenance supplies.
  • Working closely with the Executive Director as well as other Department Directors (Programs, Development & Marketing, Operations) to achieve institutional goals;
  • Working to maintain a positive relationship between the boat crew and office staff, board
    members, and Clearwater members.

Like all members of Clearwater’s staff, the Captain is expected to project the organization’s philosophy of care and concern for the environment when interacting with the public and Clearwater volunteers.

Vessel Responsibilities:
The Captain’s responsibilities on the Clearwater include but are not limited to:

  • Decision making in all aspects of operation from fishing to reefing to scheduling, etc. including cancellation and postponement of programs and sails;
  • Training crew in all aspects of vessel operations including safety, program delivery, and public relations.
  • Working with educators to maintain a positive community on the boat for all crew, trainees, educators, volunteers and passengers;
  • Interacting with a diverse public in a courteous and professional manner at all times and to engage in reasoned, fact-based, and respectful discussion of issues;
  • Working (where applicable, with the Outreach and Engagement Manager) to maintain positive relationships among Clearwater, dock masters and other vessels;
  • Promptly providing written and verbal incident reports to the Executive Director;
  • Vessel maintenance;
  • Maintaining clear communication with the on board program coordinator(s), and the Program Director to ensure the high quality of The Sailing Classroom education program;
  • Fostering a culture that respects diversity, promotes teamwork, and builds leadership skills.


  • Have a 100 Ton Inland Masters license with a sailing endorsement.
  • Have an FCC Radio License
  • Experience managing a crew

Preferred Experience:

  • Administrative experience including but not limited to financial bookkeeping, hiring crew, and employee supervision;
  • Excellent communication skills and a willingness and ability to speak publicly to diverse audiences;
  • Sensitivity to and acceptance of the perspectives, cultures, and experiences of colleagues and audiences of diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities;
  • Competence in use of common office software and IT;
  • Strong organizational and time management skills;
  • Familiarity with navigating the Hudson River.

Clearwater acknowledges that the construct of race disproportionally affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We reflect and take action to ensure that we do not perpetuate white supremacy. Clearwater respects LGBTQIA+ people; we use language and actions that are respectful of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Clearwater celebrates and welcomes members of any race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or identity, or age to apply.

The Captain position is eligible for health benefits through Clearwater as well as a competitive paid time off package.

Please send a cover letter and resume to erin@clearwater.org.

Posted July 19, 2021

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