Navy captains enjoy a romantic image in the public eye. It's true that captains get to command the biggest and most prestigious ships in the Navy, but they often hold important posts besides the command of ships, with wide-ranging responsibilities for personnel and naval strategic goals. U.S. Navy captains are paid a basic rate, various allowances, and may qualify for additional bonuses.
From a personnel standpoint, U.S. Navy captains have a pay grade designation of O-6. The “O” designates “officer” and stands in contrast to enlistees and warrant officers. The number increases from ensigns at O-1 all the way up to four-star admirals at O-10. This grade determines a service member's basic pay.
All service members receive basic pay. The specific amount depends on their pay grade and seniority, and usually increases each year. For 2011, a captain's basic pay ranged from about $5,900 to about $10,400 per month, depending on seniority. In rare cases, senior captains may be appointed to serve in special roles with a higher base pay rate.
Basic Allowance for Housing
All service members are eligible for an allowance to pay for their housing whenever the government does not provide them with housing or assigns them to temporary housing. The military determines the value of a housing allowance using a service member's pay grade, geographic location and family status. For a captain, as of 2011, the core allowance is about $1,300 without dependents or about $1,600 with them. That allowance rises if the captain is living in an unusually expensive area as reckoned by average U.S. housing costs.
Other Allowances and Special Pay
As of 2011, all officers are allowed about $200 per month for food, up to $1,100 for food for family members, $250 for being separated from their families because of a deployment, and various amounts for clothing. Additionally, the military offers many different kinds of incentive and special pay for various roles and duties. Some of these include hazardous duty pay, imminent danger pay, submarine duty pay, sea deployment pay, and a retention bonus for dental officers. These incentives and bonuses are on top of basic pay and allowances.