Joseph Jeffrey Hazelwood (born 1946) is an American sailor. He was the captain of the Exxon Valdez during its 1989 oil spill. He was accused of being drunk at the time of the accident, though at trial he was cleared of this charge. Hazelwood was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of negligent discharge of oil, fined $50,000, and sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service. In 1999, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was listed as the 53rd largest spill in history.
Hazelwood was born in Hawkinsville, Georgia, but was raised in Huntington, New York, on the north shore of Long Island. His father, Joseph, born c.1922, was a United States Marine Corps torpedo bomber pilot turned airline pilot. His mother, Margaret, was born c.1920 in Georgia. Hazelwood was their first born son. He has one brother, Matthew, and two other siblings. He was married in 1969 to Suzanne and has one daughter, Alison, born c.1976.
In 1964, Hazelwood graduated from Huntington High School, where his IQ was tested at 138. As a youth he was an avid sailor and was a member of the Sea Scouts. In May 1968, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Transportation from the State University of New York Maritime College.