Sea captain

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Captain ( English captain at sea ) is a military rank of the Navy .

armed forces

Sea captain
Epaulette of a sea captain (troop service) Sleeve badge of the jacket (service suit) of a sea captain (troop service)

Rank badge

Rank group Staff officers
NATO rank code OF-5
Rank Army / Air Force Colonel
Marine rank Sea captain
Abbreviation (in lists) KptzS (KZS)
Grade A 16 / B 2 / B 3 according to BBesO
Sea captain Hans Freiherr von Stackelberg as commandant of the sailing training ship Gorch Fock (1976)

The sea captain is one of the ranks of the German armed forces for naval uniform wearers . The legal basis is the order of the Federal President on the rank designations and uniforms of soldiers and the Soldiers Act .


Some sea captains are used as commanders of ship or naval aviation squadrons or schools. Uses in bars are more common . There, sea captains serve as heads of departments , groups or units or as chief of staff . The commander of the training ship Gorch Fock is also a sea captain. Like colonels, they can serve as liaison officers in the Office of the Federal President .


In the central guideline A2-2630 / 0-0-3 "Military forms and celebrations of the Bundeswehr" (formerly ZDv 10/8) the salutation of all staff officers in naval uniform is stipulated as "Mr. Captain" or "Mrs. Captain". In the Navy, it is also traditionally customary to pronounce “captain” like “captain” when addressing informally orally.

Rank badge

The rank badges of the captain of the sea show four medium- wide sleeve stripes on both lower sleeves .


The rank designation for air force and army uniform carriers of the same rank is Colonel . With regard to the authority to command , appointment , pay , the subordinate and superior ranks, sea captains and colonels are treated equally.

Bundeswehr Cross Black.svg Officer rank
Lower rank   Higher rank
Lieutenant Colonel,
Frigate Captain, Chief Medical
Officer, Chief Pharmacist, Chief
Flotilla Doctor, Flotilla
Colonel doctor
Colonel pharmacist
Colonel veterinary
fleet doctor
fleet pharmacist
Brigadier General
General Doctor General Pharmacist
Admiral Doctor

Rank group : Teams-NCOs-NCO-NCOs-Lieutenant-Captains-Staff officers-Generals

People's Navy

Badge of rank KptzS
GDR Navy OF5 Kapitaen zur See.gif
Shoulder piece
VM sleeve strips 2-3 Kapitaen.svg
Sleeve badge for
nautical career

The sea captain was the highest rank in the rank group of staff officers in the People's Navy of the GDR and was comparable to the NATO rank code OF-5. He corresponded to the colonel of the NVA.

The rank badge consisted of shoulder pieces with a navy blue background and on it a braided silver cord on which three square gold-colored shoulder stars were attached. Shoulder pieces were worn with all parts of the uniform.

The sleeve badge consisted of a wide yellow-colored stripe and should not be confused with that of the Commodore of the Navy. Above it was the career badge . In contrast to all other German naval forces, the sleeve badges only covered about 40 percent of the sleeve circumference.

frigate captain

Flag of warships of VM (East Germany) .svg
Sea captain
rear admiral

Imperial Navy and Navy

Badge of rank KptzS
Captain of the Navy of the Navy.png
Shoulder piece

In the German Empire and the German Navy , the sea captain was the second highest officer rank after the commodore.

frigate captain

German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge)
Sea captain

More armed forces

The following explanations deal with the ranks in other naval forces comparable to the German officer rank, captain at sea .

Web link

Wiktionary: captain at sea  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Left: Rank badge on an epaulette for naval uniform wearers of the troop service. Right: sleeve badge of the jacket of the service suit of a naval uniform wearer in troop service. In both versions, the star is the career badge for troop service officers. Other careers may have different career badges.
  2. In practice, medical officers in naval uniforms of the staff officers' rank group continue to be addressed with their actual rank instead of "Mr. / Ms. Captain", cf. E.g. Matthias Frank: Addiction - What is behind it and how you can help. In: Website of the Bundeswehr medical service. Press and Information Staff of the Federal Ministry of Defense ; Press and information center of the medical service, subject media, December 3, 2013, accessed on January 12, 2015 .
  3. Informal. Formally contrary to the ZDv 10/8.
  4. In ZDv 37/10, in addition to the form of sleeve badges described in the Federal President's order on the rank designations and the uniform of the soldiers , corresponding (i.e. identical) shoulder badges for naval uniform wearers are also described.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Hartmut Bagger , Command Staff of the Armed Forces I 3, Federal Ministry of Defense (Ed.): ZDv 37/10. Suit regulations for soldiers in the Bundeswehr . July 1996. Reprint from October 2008. Bonn July 16, 2008, 4 labels, p. 539 ( digitized version [PDF; 3.5 MB ] Reprint October 2008 replaces first edition from July 1996). Digitized version ( memento from September 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  2. The Federal Minister of Defense (ed.): ZDv 14/5. Soldiers Act . DSK AV110100174, change status July 17, 2008. Bonn August 21, 1978, rank designations in the Bundeswehr, p. B 185 (Not to be confused with the Law on the Legal Status of Soldiers (Soldiers Law) ).
  3. ^ Agreed English texts. STANAG 2116 . NATO standardization agreement (STANAG) . NATO codes for grades of military personnel. 5th edition. 1992 (English, NATO Rank Codes - 1992 [accessed March 25, 2014]).
  4. a b c d The Federal President (Ed.): Order of the Federal President on the rank designations and the uniform of the soldiers . BPresUnifAnO. July 14, 1978 ( [PDF] Order of the Federal President on the rank designations and uniforms of soldiers from July 14, 1978 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1067 ), last amended by Article 1 of the order of 31. May 1996 ( BGBl. I p. 746 ) has been changed).
  5. ^ Federal Minister of Defense ; Command Staff of the Armed Forces IV 1 (Ed.): Abbreviations for use in the Bundeswehr - German Abbreviations - ZDv 64/10 . Bonn January 19, 1979 ( [PDF] as of September 17, 1999).
  6. Appendix I (to § 20, paragraph 2, sentence 1) Bundesbesoldungsgesetz orders of A and B . ( Online [accessed on March 25, 2014] Federal salary regulations (BBesO) only apply to professional and temporary soldiers and are an annex to the Federal Salary Act (BBesG)).
  7. The Federal Minister of Defense (ed.): Law on the legal status of soldiers (Soldiers Act - SG) . Bonn March 19, 1956, § 4 para. 3 (2) - ( [PDF; accessed on March 25, 2014] Newly drafted by notice of May 30, 2005 I 1482. Last amended by Art . 1 G of April 8, 2013 I 730).
  8. The Federal Minister of Defense (ed.): ZDv 10/8 Military Forms and Celebrations of the Bundeswehr . Cape. 6 Greeting and salutation.
  9. cf. also Werner Besch : Duzen , Siezen , titulating . To address in German today and yesterday (=  Kleine Reihe V&R 4009 ). 2nd Edition. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht , Göttingen 1998, ISBN 3-525-34009-5 , p. 58 ff . ( Digitized in the Google book search - note in particular the quote from No. 262 from ZDv 10/8).
  10. a b The equivalent, higher and lower ranks are given in accordance with ZDv 14/5 B 185, cf. The Federal Minister of Defense (ed.): ZDv 14/5. Soldiers Act . DSK AV110100174, change status July 17, 2008. Bonn August 21, 1978, rank designations in the Bundeswehr, p. B 185 (Not to be confused with the Law on the Legal Status of Soldiers (Soldiers Act) . The order of the ranks shown in the info box does not necessarily correspond to one of the regular rank sequences provided for in the Soldiers' Career Ordinance , nor does it necessarily correspond to the rank hierarchy described in the Superiors Ordinance a managerial relationship ).