The Craftmaster insignia is a decoration of the United States Navy which is awarded to those personnel who have qualified as underway boat captains of U.S. Navy small vessels and support craft. Such boat commands which would qualify a service member for the Craftmaster badge include tugboats, Landing Craft Utility (LCU), Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), Lighterage craft, dredges, scows, and 44 foot yawls (Navy 44s).
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The Craftmaster Badge is mainly awarded to Navy senior enlisted personnel in the Chief Petty Officer ranks, usually Boatswain's mates and Quartermasters where they are assigned as Officer in Charge (OIC). It is also a common award to those who are qualified as harbor pilots. The Craftmaster Badge is not presented to those have qualified to serve on board navy coastal warfare boats, as such personnel receive the Small Craft Pin and the Combatant Craft Crewman Badge.
The Craftmaster Badge is also awarded to qualifying staff officers and a select few midshipmen at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the United States Naval Academy, and a select few Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps schools. Midshipmen at the Merchant Marine Academy qualify on the Academy's training ship, T/V Kings Pointer. The midshipmen who traditionally qualify are the midshipman officers on board the training vessel.
Staff officers and midshipmen at the Naval Academy can qualify on the flotilla of Yard Patrol Craft (YPs) or on Navy 44 yawls as part of the off-shore sailing program. Staff officers typically earn the badge as part of the rigorous off-shore sailing program. Most of the midshipmen who qualify are members of the YP Squadron, a midshipman-led extracurricular activity at the Academy focused on cultivating leadership and the development of professional mariners for the Fleet. Midshipmen crews practice onboard Yard Patrol Craft and execute out-of-area trips to regional ports. On both the YP and sailing craft, earning the title "Craftmaster" requires a few hundred hours spent living, working, and training on board. Midshipmen dedicated to earning the badge aboard a YP are paired with an advising officer (usually a navy lieutenant (O-3)) as they take navigation and seamanship tests, prepare nautical charts and underway briefings, and perform complex and highly-technical maneuvers in adverse conditions. For the final examination, or "qualification ride", the head of the Department of Seamanship and Navigation (a navy commander (O-5)), personally reviews the command presence, naval skill, and seamanship knowledge of the aspiring midshipman as demonstrated through a pre-determined course on the Severn River. Despite the rigorous and time-consuming workload involved with earning the badge, it is not uncommon for a midshipman to fail the qualification ride.
Midshipmen who gain the qualification while at NROTC units are trained on small sail training craft. A NROTC midshipman in command of the sailing training program at his or her respective university will have to spend an extraordinary amount of time working on the boats, conducting training, and planning week-long voyages.
- List of United States Navy enlisted warfare designations
- Badges of the United States Navy
- Military badges of the United States
- Obsolete badges of the United States military
- Uniforms of the United States Navy
- "MILPERSMAN 1200-040" (PDF). US Navy. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.