The Most Famous Sea Captain: Exploring Legends and Icons of the High Seas

Choose the sea captain you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 6, 2023 11:30)
Ahoy, mates! Are you ready to embark on an epic voyage to discover the most famous sea captain of all time? Set sail with StrawPoll as we navigate through the uncharted waters of history and legends to rank the greatest seafarers who have ever commanded the high seas. From legendary pirates to heroic explorers, it's time for you to weigh anchor and cast your vote for your favorite sea captain or suggest one who's missing from our list. So, batten down the hatches, hoist the Jolly Roger, and join the adventure as we uncover the ultimate master of the maritime world. All hands on deck--let the voting begin!

Who Is the Most Famous Sea Captain?

  1. 1
    Christopher Columbus
    Sebastiano del Piombo · Public domain
    He is credited with discovering the New World and his voyages helped establish European exploration and colonization of the Americas.
    Christopher Columbus in other rankings
  2. 2
    He was a British explorer and navigator who made three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, mapping many areas and discovering new islands.
    Captain James Cook in other rankings
  3. 3
    He was a Portuguese explorer who led the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe, although he died before the journey was completed.
    Ferdinand Magellan in other rankings
  4. 4
    He was a British naval officer who was the captain of the HMS Bounty when the crew mutinied in 1789.
  5. 5
    Captain Kidd
    Wilrooij · CC BY-SA 4.0
    He was a Scottish sailor who was known for his piracy in the late 17th century, and his treasure is still sought after today.
    Captain Kidd in other rankings
  6. 6
    He was an infamous English pirate who operated in the Caribbean during the early 18th century.
  7. 7
    He was an English sea captain and privateer who helped defeat the Spanish Armada and was the second person to circumnavigate the globe.
    Sir Francis Drake in other rankings
  8. 8
    John Paul Jones
    Charles Willson Peale · Public domain
    He was a Scottish-American naval officer who is considered the father of the United States Navy, and he is known for his victories during the American Revolution.
    John Paul Jones in other rankings
  9. 9
    He was an English explorer who discovered the Hudson River in present-day New York and explored parts of Canada, Greenland, and the Arctic.
    Henry Hudson in other rankings
  10. 10
    Ernest Shackleton
    George Charles Beresford · Public domain
    He was an Irish explorer who led several expeditions to the Antarctic, including the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which became known for his leadership and survival skills.
    Ernest Shackleton in other rankings

Missing your favorite sea captain?


Ranking factors for famous sea captain

  1. Historical Significance
    Consider the impact the sea captain has had on maritime history and the significance of their voyages or expeditions. Did they discover new lands, navigate treacherous waters, or contribute to scientific exploration?
  2. Exploration and Discoveries
    Evaluate the captain's role in exploring new territories or making groundbreaking discoveries. Consider if they led expeditions to uncharted waters, mapped new coastlines, or made significant contributions to cartography.
  3. Naval Achievements
    Assess the captain's achievements in naval battles or warfare. Consider if they won significant battles, successfully defended against adversaries, or played a crucial role in naval tactics or strategies.
  4. Legends and Folklore
    Examine the captain's influence on cultural and literary traditions. Consider if they have become legendary figures, inspiring stories, songs, or folklore.
  5. Longevity and Reputation
    Assess the captain's reputation both during their lifetime and in the present. Consider their influence, recognition, and how their legacy has stood the test of time.
  6. Public Recognition
    Take into account the captain's popularity and recognition among the general public, both during their lifetime and afterward. Consider if their name is widely known, if they have inspired popular culture, or if they have received honors, awards, or tributes.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous sea captain. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or sea captain is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 164 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each sea captain once every 24 hours. The rank of each sea captain is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous sea captain

Background Information: Who is the Most Famous Sea Captain? Throughout history, the world has seen many courageous and daring sea captains who have navigated the vast and treacherous oceans. These captains have been responsible for discovering new lands, establishing trade routes, and even fighting battles at sea. But who among them can be considered the most famous? One of the most famous sea captains is undoubtedly Christopher Columbus, who is credited with discovering America in 1492. He was an Italian explorer who sailed under the Spanish flag and embarked on a journey to find a new trade route to the East Indies. Although he did not reach his intended destination, his voyage marked the beginning of the European colonization of the Americas. Another famous sea captain is Sir Francis Drake, an English explorer and naval commander who circumnavigated the globe in the late 16th century. He played a significant role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and was also involved in the slave trade and piracy. Captain James Cook is another famous sea captain who is known for his exploration of the Pacific Ocean in the 18th century. He was a British navigator and cartographer who led expeditions to Australia, New Zealand, and the Hawaiian Islands, among others. Other notable sea captains include Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer who discovered a sea route to India in the late 15th century, and Horatio Nelson, the British admiral who led the Royal Navy to victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. With so many accomplished sea captains

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