Shipmaster (feminine form Shipmistress) is both a term the Covenant use to describe an individual in command of a single ship, as well as an actual office in the Covenant Navy. As described by their title, Shipmasters often command a single Covenant starship. The size of the starship is not relevant, whether a frigate or a supercarrier. The Covenant also use the term to describe the commanding officers of human vessels. Shipmasters occasionally command small task forces or fleets, although this does not afford them the rank of Fleet Master.
When referring to a Sangheili, Shipmaster is a title for a high-ranking Covenant Elite who is in command of a single starship. To denote their high-ranking status, most Shipmasters usually have bodyguards, such as an Mgalekgolo pair or a lance of special infantry. Shipmasters are subject to orders from their fleet's Fleet Master, Supreme Commander, or Imperial Admiral.
The Shipmaster of a particular ship gives orders from the command center of their vessel, the equivalent of a UNSC starship's bridge. There they oversee and supervise the running of the ship, and give orders during battle. They command the ship from a platform raised off the deck, surrounded by holographic screens displaying relevant information.
Sangheili of many different ranks may serve as Shipmasters, though the position is often assumed by high-ranking individuals such as Special Operations Commanders, Zealots or Generals. The lowest-ranked Shipmaster known was Major Voro 'Mantakree, who became the Shipmaster of his vessel, the Incorruptible, after killing the previous Shipmaster. He was later promoted to Fleet Master and placed in charge of a task force sent to Onyx. Shipmasters often wear gold-colored armor as a symbol of their lofty status, though Special Operations personnel serving as Shipmasters are known to retain their silver armor.
Jiralhanae, being the other leading military caste of the Covenant, also can hold the title of Shipmaster. High-ranking Kig-yar can also serve as Shipmasters. Both known Kig-yar Shipmasters, Chur'R-Yar and Chur 'R-Mut, were female, hence their title of Shipmistress.
 Known Shipmasters
- Rtas 'Vadum - Former Shipmaster of the Shadow of Intent.
- Thel 'Vadam - Current Shipmaster of the Shadow of Intent.
- Lat 'Ravamee - Shipmaster of the Truth and Reconciliation.
- Orna 'Fulsamee - Shipmaster of an unidentified destroyer.
- Tano 'Inanraree - Former Shipmaster of the Incorruptible.
- Qunu - Shipmaster of the Far Sight Lost.
- Voro Nar 'Mantakree- Shipmaster of the Incorruptible.
- Thon 'Talamee - Shipmaster of the Clarity of Faith.
- Rho 'Barutamee - Shipmaster of the Long Night of Solace.
- Rhul 'Salmutee - Shipmaster of the Solemn Penance.
- Ardo 'Moretumee- Shipmaster of the Ardent Prayer.
- Jul ‘Mdama - Former Shipmaster of an unknown cruiser, lost command of the ship after the Human-Covenant War.
- Forze - Former Shipmaster, lost command of his ship after the Human-Covenant War.
- Unidentified Sangheili Shipmaster - Shipmaster and commander of the Fleet of Righteous Vigilance.
- Buran - Former Shipmaster of the Unflinching Resolve.
- Galur - Shipmaster of the Cleansing Truth.
- Maccabeus - Jiralhanae Shipmaster of the Rapid Conversion.
- Lepidus - Jiralhanae Shipmaster of the Triumphant Declaration.
- Gargantum - Jiralhanae Shipmaster of the Twilight Compunction.
- Pellius- Jiralhanae Shipmaster of the A Psalm Every Day.
- Parabum- Jiralhanae Shipmaster of the Valorous Transgression.
- Chur'R-Yar - Kig-yar Shipmistress of the Minor Transgression.
- Chur 'R-Mut - Kig-yar Shipmistress of the A Psalm Every Day.
- Sav Fel - Kig-Yar Shipmaster of Pious Inquisitor.
- Though speculated to be the Covenant equivalents to UNSC Navy Captains, they may wield more influence than expected - Shipmasters have been seen in Halo 3 and The Return directing relatively small battle groups, instead of single ships (though occasionally in 20th and 21st century fleets, the flagships' captain will command the fleet in the absence of an admiral. It is possible a similar system is used by the Sangheili, or the Covenant in general.)
- Voro Nar 'Mantakree was known for becoming a Shipmaster when he killed his CO aboard the Covenant cruiser, the Incorruptible.
- Sangheili Shipmasters are known to wear Doarmir fur cloaks as a sign of status.
- ^ Halo: The Flood, page 4
- ^ Halo: The Flood, page 41 ("'Nosolee felt certain that the man named "Keezz" held the position of Ship Master")
- ^ Halo 3, campaign levels Floodgate and The Ark
- ^ a b Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, "The Return"
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 190
- ^ Halo: Combat Evolved campaign level The Truth and Reconciliation
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 243
- ^ Halo 3