First Officers serve as second-in-command of their vessels and as vital support for their Commanding Officers to effectively run our ships. In addition to our Commander Manual, which also serves as a First Officer guide, Bylaw 9 governs the minimum requirements to be eligible for the position of First Officer and their place in the chain of command. The rest of the information on this page further outlines the rights, responsibilities, and authority of First Officers.
Bylaw 9 Requirements
Essentially, to be qualified to serve as First Officer, a candidate must meet the following:
- Been an active member in good standing for at least nine months since graduating from the Academy, OR;
- Been an active member in good standing for at least six months since graduating from the Academy AND has received credit for two training sessions in the Academy as First Officer.
Upon selecting an eligible First Officer, the ship’s Commanding Officer must officially notify the Executive Council within 72 hours using the New FO Change Form.
Place in the Chain of Command
Bylaw 9 makes it clear that the First Officer of a ship, officially appointed in accordance with the requirements and procedure above, is recognized by the Executive Council as the ship’s second-in-command, with the rights, responsibilities, and authority so accorded. Except for the ship’s Commanding Officer, no other officer assigned to that ship shall hold higher authority than the ship’s First Officer regarding ship matters, whether in-character or out-of-character.
Rights, Responsibilities, and Authority of First Officers
Rights of First Officers:
- Be announced to the crew as the official First Officer and will be accorded the full and clear support & affirmation of their Commanding Officer in all public statements.
- Have access to the ship’s staff list as a group manager.
- Right to discuss all ship matters with the CO and freely give their opinion (provided they do so respectfully and without undermining the CO’s authority in front of the crew). Such matters shall include but not be limited to the following:
- planned missions for the ship
- incoming/outgoing transfers
- crew roster and departmental changes
- disciplinary measures applied to crew members
- changes to the staff complement of the group
- major changes related to the campaign at large
- Granted full discussion rights on Captains Council as an observer.
- Right to second a nomination of a candidate from their ship for promotion to Commander.
Responsibilities of First Officers:
- Execute the Commanding Officer’s orders and support the CO with all aspects of running the ship.
- Serve the best interests of the crew and ensure that community members and resources are treated with value.
- Should the CO become unavailable, assume temporary command until the CO’s return or the Executive Council intervenes. Such a period of temporary command may not last more than 60 days, per Bylaw 1.
- Participate in regular and ongoing maintenance of the ship’s official roster to ensure the ship is always available to receive new crew.
- Manage the ship’s mentoring program, including continuing training (i.e. putting forward candidates to the CO for the training team, mentoring upcoming candidates.)
- Champion and promote morale, welfare and SB118 Fleet ethos (i.e. fleet as a whole, not confined to silos) onboard and within the group at large.
- Complete the non-CO portions of the monthly ship report, including the plot summary.
- Manage (or delegate) common tasks such as the continued updates to the ship history on the Wiki (including mission history, award history, and crew history).
- As part of the onboarding process, greet embarking persons to the ship IC, giving initial tags to bring them and following up.
- Keep informed of changes to the fleet, constitution and bylaws, with an understanding of how it applies to their ship and the fleet at large.
Authority of First Officers:
- Be recognized as the second in command of their vessel. Their authority is recognized as secondary only to the CO’s, regardless of the rank of other players on the vessel.
- Authorized to address the crew in their capacity as second in command as necessary to execute the CO’s orders.
- Authorized to compose feedback and disciplinary emails for appointed ship players as directed by CO.
- Be recognised as a community staff member on forums and chat channels with associated moderation duties.