A coxswain navigates and steers a small commercial vessel under 12 metres in length, operating within the limits of sheltered and inshore waters, that is, in waters within 15 nautical miles of the coast.
As master of a small fishing or trading vessel, they are responsible for supervising other crew and passengers. They are also expected to lead a crew and make decisions under pressure, such as taking appropriate actions in an emergency. Other tasks for a coxswain includes maintaining the operations of engines (less that 250 Kw), updating vessel log books, assisting in mooring and unmooring vessels, and keeping watch. Commercial vessels under the command of a coxswain can include small passenger vessels, charter vessels, water taxis, tourist craft, and fishing vessels.