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The Chief of the Boat is the senior enlisted person on any Starfleet ship. They are responsible for the well-being of all enlisted personnel and act as a liaison between the enlisted personnel and the ship's officers. On most ships, this person holds the grade of Master Chief Petty Officer, though Senior Chief Petty Officers and Command Master Chief Petty Officers do frequently hold this position, depending on the size of the vessel. The Chief of the Boat reports directly to the ship's Commanding Officer and Executive Officer.

On starbases and ground installations, this position is known as the Command Master Chief.