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Old 10-11-2011, 02:23 PM   #1
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Harbor Pilots

So the other day when we're out on the water I point out to my wife the pilot boat bringing the harbor pilot out to a big tanker that's coming in.* She asks, "What's he do?" and I explain that because of his local knowledge he's better prepared to bring the ship in through complex waterways with shifting shoals and sandbars, etc, etc.*

But as I'm talking I'm wondering - with all the electronics that even we can get our hands on now is the harbor pilot still a necessity or is it one of those jobs that are protected by unions and won't go away until the last old timer dies off?

It sort of reminds me of one of my uncles.* He was a longshoreman in NY.* By the time I was almost old enough to understand anything, containerized shipping was taking over and he didn't have any work to do.* But he still got paid.

I didn't put this on OTDE because it's not an attack on unions or harbor pilots.* I'm just curious.

*
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:39 PM   #2
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RE: Harbor Pilots

For the same reason there are captains on the boat. With advancements in auto pilots and GPS accuracy, why even have anyone to make decisions on the boat's direction? That's one reason I guess. Another might be that they also know the dock(s) they are approaching. For example, they know where Dock A is and they know where the deep spot in the turning basin might be. A captain goes to a lot of ports. Can he remember them all? He's not there every day, every week, or even every month. How often are charts, even electronic ones, updated? How often is a bottom survey even done? I see lots of reasons to keep them around.
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:46 PM   #3
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RE: Harbor Pilots

** I have a friend that is a river pilot and we had this discussion some time back. He said the insurance companies require a live person on board. The pilot doesn't just ride along, the ship is under his command from the sea bouy to the dock, the captain just rides along. The pilot gives the steering orders as well as noting changes in shoals markers and any other items that an affect shipping.

* On our river, the Cape Fear, the depth is realatively shallow, approximately 40 feet, work is in progress to increase it to 45', some ships must leave and arrive during high tide as their draft is marginal. And to think we all considered the intercoastal as the ditch.*
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:22 PM   #4
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RE: Harbor Pilots

For a national overview,*check out the following link:

http://www.americanpilots.org/PilotageInUs.html

Basically, it's specialized local knowledge,*highly trained shiphandling skills, and highly regulated monopolies controlled by states*that exclude almost all ship captains from handling their own ships while in state pilotage waters.** Incidentally, this is a world wide situation. *Unions have little if any impact.*

Advancements in electronic navigation mean that shiphandlers must understand new technologies and especially their limitations.
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:42 PM   #5
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RE: Harbor Pilots

From what I have seen here in Panama the pilots are very necessary.* With the number of ships, from*all over the world, going through the canal, I can't imagine the accidents that*would take place.* On the Panamax ships they may require up to*3 pilots as the ship transits*the canal,*one on the bow and one on each wing.* I'm not sure I would want to be the guy up front.* The*regular charged rate for a*Panama Canal pilot is*$2,410.*
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:20 PM   #6
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Quote:
BaltimoreLurker wrote:
But as I'm talking I'm wondering - with all the electronics that even we can get our hands on now is the harbor pilot still a necessity* .......
* * * * Local knowledge is required as a* a lot of paper & GPS charts (most) use data from the WGS 84 survey. (Western Geodetic Survey 1984) It's not economically feasable to update all soundings every year or two. Shoaling, silt build up, etc. caused by current and tidal flows* creat hazards to navagation. Also, harbor pilots may have more "close in" ship handling experience that the captain does not have as well as their local knowledge of that particular waterway.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:47 PM   #7
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Harbor Pilots

I understand that pilots in San Francisco earn $700,000 or more.

Regardless of the pilot's responsibility, ship captains are ultimately responsible like the Captain of the Norwegian Dream who was fired after the ship rammed a barge in the Montevideo harbot channel.


-- Edited by markpierce on Tuesday 11th of October 2011 05:52:34 PM
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:25 PM   #8
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Quote:
markpierce wrote:


I understand that pilots in San Francisco earn $700,000 or more.

Regardless of the pilot's responsibility, ship captains are ultimately responsible like the Captain of the Norwegian Dream who was fired after the ship rammed a barge in the Montevideo harbot channel.


-- Edited by markpierce on Tuesday 11th of October 2011 05:52:34 PM


Nothing political...

Probably $700k better spent than $10 million on a worthless CEO:biggrin:
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:02 AM   #9
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Probably $700k better spent than $10 million on a worthless CEO

The Gov gives unions the special priveledge of owning/controlling a monopoly, so their high wages were purchases from Gov's vast resevoir of Force and Fraud.

A publik co CEO has a bored bunch of directors , that decide the CEO's salary.

Different strokes,
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:07 AM   #10
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Judging by how a container ship has recently run aground on the Astrolabe reef off Tauranga, NZ, a reef everyone knows is there, and nowhere near the shipping lane, one wonders whether some ships need a specialist pilot all the time. This ship is now breaking up, and spewing oil and containers, some containing harmful substances into the bay...
How does this kind of thing happen when they have all the good gear mentioned above. Because maybe they rely on it too much, and maybe no-one was keeping adequate watch...?

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/finan.../D9QAET881.htm

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-1226164487504
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:29 AM   #11
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Quote:
Peter B wrote:
*Because maybe they rely on it too much, and maybe no-one was keeping adequate watch...?
Like I have to continuously remind my wife when she's at the helm - "Keep your eyes outside the boat!"* Not that I'm ever guilty of being heads-down fiddling with the chart plotter or autopilot or something!*
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:18 AM   #12
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Good work if you can get it, the following, from 2009, on the pilots from the mouth of the Miss. to New Orleans.

"The Pilotage Fee Commission voted Friday to allow the Crescent River Port Pilots Association to raise its target compensation for members to $378,000 per year, up from about $359,000 this year. The measure allows the association to charge the shipping industry a fee to pay the salary and benefits of 106 pilots."

The word is you have to have very good connections to get one of those jobs.
It is not an easy trip!
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:19 PM   #13
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Quote:
Peter B wrote:
How does this kind of thing happen when they have all the good gear mentioned above. Because maybe they rely on it too much, and maybe no-one was keeping adequate watch...?
*People who should know better run aground a fair amount up here on "uncharted rocks," which of course turn out to be charted and sometimes even marked.* Even with GPS plotters and radar and depth sounders, people hit these rocks over and over again.* We were at Westsound a few weeks ago and in the store they had a laminated map with a list of most frequently hit rocks in the San Juan Islands.* They're all charted, some are marked, and people run up on them anyway.

It's one thing when Joe Amateur doe this, but there have been big yachts with professional captains and crews that have whanged into these things, too.

Distraction, I guess, or thinking someone else is watching out so you don't have to.* Like the famous case of the Washington State Ferry captain who, on a run through the San Juans, decided to show his lady friend who was in the wheelhouse a piece of property or a house or something he owned in a small bay on Orcas Island.* He took the ferry into the mouth of the bay and parked it on a rock, cars, passengers, and all.* Who knows what goes through the minds of the people who do these things but it's human nature to screw up.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:10 PM   #14
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Even the the highly trained military professionals screw up from time to time.

Just a couple of many:

Honda Point

HMS Astute

*
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:54 PM   #15
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Quote:
dwhatty wrote:
Even the the highly trained military professionals screw up from time to time.

Just a couple of many:

Honda Point

HMS Astute

*
*David, here is an interesting legal case for you to check into.* I believe that it was in 1967 that a ship with a pilot aboard struck and brought down the Atlantic Coast Line Rail Road bridge over the Savannah River at the Port of Savannah.* It completely shut down the upper portion of the port.* The Garden City terminal had ships stranded and couldn't leave.* Freighters were backed up with freight to get into the terminal. One of the main north south lines from New York to Florida was shut down.* Trains had to be rerouted through Atlanta.* The bridge had to be totally rebuilt after all the debris was removed*

Of course the railroad sued the ship owner and operator.* The ship owner sued the pilot.* The ships stranded and diverted sued.* The ship owner sued Union Camp Corp.* Union Camp was a paper mill almost adjoining the bridge.* The ship owner claimed that the paper mill had caused a sight obscuring fog that caused the accident.*

There were many millions of dollars at stake, and everyone sued everyone.* A maritime lawyers delight.

Then there was the ship that brought down the Sunshine Skyway bridge over the entrance to Tampa Bay.* This one caused loss of lives as well as having to rebuild the huge bridge.* S**t happens!
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:31 PM   #16
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RE: Harbor Pilots

*Quote"

The pilot doesn't just ride along, the ship is under his command from the sea bouy to the dock, the captain just rides along.* end quote

*

When the pilot boards the logbook entry* is made " Under pilot's advice - Masters orders"

The master 'always' has ultimate responsibility for his command.

Bob

*
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Old 10-13-2011, 03:53 AM   #17
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Webobby is correct, captain has the ultimate responsibility aboard his vessel.
I read somewhere that the Port Everglades Pilots (Ft Lauderdale) are the highest paid pilots association at over 1 mill/year.
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:52 PM   #18
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RE: Harbor Pilots

I have a close friend that is a Houston Pilot. I would imagine them to be one of the highest paid in the country since Houston is one of the busiest ports(if not THE busiest port depending on how you measure). I will say one thing and that Houston Pilots are a private entity unto themselves. They do not work for the port authority or any local municipality. They are equal shareholders in the "company". In fact, when you get "hired", you have to buy into the company(to the tune of 100s of thousands of dollars) and that gives you an equity stake in the company. Does that equity ever grow? I honestly don't know but I don't think so. It will be there when you retire though and it is yours. They basically charge fees to run ships in and out and at the end of the month, there is a pile of money. They pay expenses with that pile of money and then they split what is left over. "Deputy pilots" are paid a flat amount(still 6 figures) and they are deputies for something like 3 years...if that gives you any idea how difficult it is to learn the trade. Trust me, you would not want a foreign captain that has never been into the Houston Ship Channel trying to navigate it and park his ship in the port. Maneuvering a 950x150ft ship in close quarters is no small feat. Take a look at the Port of Houston on Maps or Earth and it gets pretty damned twisty up in there.

Anyway, to make a long story short and to put it into perspective, you could start your own pilot association in Houston if you wish.....people have tried.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:01 PM   #19
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RE: Harbor Pilots

One thing that is done in the Houston ship channel that isn't done anywhere else (that I know of) is "Texas Chicken". ships that meet in the channel steer their course until a certain distance apart (1/2 mile ? and then alter course 10 degrees stbd until 1/4 mile away and then turn towards the other ship. Bow wave and bank cushion keep the vessels apart and in the channel. VERY counter-intuitive and works really well! I have experienced it once and it was scary and cool (pushing a 100,000 BBl oil can)
Ask any pilot that climbs up the 30' slab side of a car ship at 0300 in the snow if he thinks he is "overpaid"
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:36 PM   #20
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RE: Harbor Pilots

Quote:
SeaHorse II wrote:* * * * Local knowledge is required as a* a lot of paper & GPS charts (most) use data from the WGS 84 survey. (Western Geodetic Survey 1984) It's not economically feasable to update all soundings every year or two. Shoaling, silt build up, etc. caused by current and tidal flows* creat hazards to navagation. Also, harbor pilots may have more "close in" ship handling experience that the captain does not have as well as their local knowledge of that particular waterway.
*WGS-84 is a coordinate reference system used in computing the latitude and longitude of the chart. another system that has been used recently is NAD 83.* Except for the most critical applications, the differences between these two reference systems is negligible.

But your point is well taken that the depth and hazard data is very perishable can become obsolete in a relatively short time.* Local knowledge is warranted.*
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