A vessels owner is the person or company which retains ownership of the vessel. For a small vessel, the owner may be master, however larger ships are often owned by a company which charters the vessel. In the case of a barebone charter, the owner provides only the vessel - crewing & provisioning are provided through the client.
Understanding the owners requirements are integral to the design of marine vessels. The owners requirements provide an indication of what is desired from a given job. As owners may not be mariners or designers themselves, an owner may employ an owners representative to oversee design, construction, testing and delivery of a vessel.