Captain (Royal Navy)

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Please see Captain (naval) for other versions of this naval rank.
Portrait of famous British explorer Captain James Cook
A Royal Navy captain's rank insignia during Divisions conducted at HMNB Clyde in January 2013.
A Royal Navy captain's rank insignia.

Captain (Capt) is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy. It ranks above commander and below commodore and has a NATO ranking code of OF-5. The rank is equivalent to a colonel in the British Army or Royal Marines and to a group captain in the Royal Air Force. The rank of group captain is based on the Royal Navy rank. It is also equivalent to the rank of ship-of-the-line captain in the navies of many other countries. Sometimes the rank is described as captain RN to distinguish it from the more junior army rank.

In the Royal Navy, the officer in command of any vessel is considered the captain even if that officer holds a different rank. Royal Navy officers who rank as captains may serve on ships or on land in naval bases or other service establishments.

In former times Royal Navy officers who were captains by rank were distinguished from officers in command of a naval vessel or commanders who received the title of captain as a courtesy by referring to properly ranked captains as post-captains. This practice is now defunct.

Insignia and uniform

The rank insignia features four rings of gold braid with a loop in the upper ring.[1]

When in mess dress or mess undress officers of the rank of captain and above wear gold-laced trousers (the gold lace stripes are nicknamed "lightning conductors"), and may wear the undress tailcoat (without epaulettes).[2]

See also