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Old 04-06-2022, 10:57 AM   #1
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What does a ship's pilot get paid?

The CG has just raised the pay of Great Lakes pilots to $399,000 per year. I'm curious if the ship's captain has a pilotage endorsement for a harbor, does he get paid for it?
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Old 04-06-2022, 03:18 PM   #2
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Regardless whether a ships officer has pilotage or not for a specific route insurance and regulations will almost always require a pilot be onboard, frequently there's also a requirement for a docking pilot.
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Old 04-06-2022, 05:10 PM   #3
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Old 04-06-2022, 07:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish53 View Post
Regardless whether a ships officer has pilotage or not for a specific route insurance and regulations will almost always require a pilot be onboard, frequently there's also a requirement for a docking pilot.
I can understand the need for a pilot to navigate through the waterways, but I'm having a hard time seeing a pilot docking the vessel. I certainly understand the pilot explaining the approach to the captain, but would guess the captain has far more experience putting his vessel to the dock.

Have also watched the biggest ore carriers lock though the Soo Locks into Lake Superior. While I'm sure a pilot has great skill, I'm having a hard time seeing them more experienced with a specific vessel than the captain.

Maybe Wayfarer will answer these questions as he captains an ore boat in the Great Lakes.

Ted
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Old 04-06-2022, 07:23 PM   #5
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In Washington, a pilot is picked up at Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the refineries at Anacortes and Cherry Point, and for Puget Sound to the south. I believe the local union is called Puget Sound Pilots. Very highly paid and considered a plumb job for merchant marine captains who don't want to travel as far afield anymore.
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Old 04-06-2022, 08:44 PM   #6
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Understand they work very limited hours per year. Didnt know the CG set the rate.
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Old 04-06-2022, 09:02 PM   #7
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I'm not sure if true but a Puget Sound Pilot told me that the final exam for Pilots is to draw a chart of Puget Sound and approaches, including all markers, lights and hazards, from memory.

Plus most of them are retired ship captains, who were earning an above average income prior to retirement. And climbing up a unstable ladder on the side of a ship, sometimes underway, has to be tough for old guys. I did a few times when I was in my late 40's and it was not a cakewalk and not for the timid.
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Old 04-06-2022, 09:53 PM   #8
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Here's a brief description of what pilots do containing two links to more info. Yes it's true the pilotage exam is in part drawing the chart from memory.

The CG setting the pay scale is new to me. In the US most pilotage authorities are local. The federal part is the licensing.
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Old 04-06-2022, 09:54 PM   #9
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Forgot the link in my previous https://www.pspilots.org/what-we-do/
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Old 04-07-2022, 05:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I can understand the need for a pilot to navigate through the waterways, but I'm having a hard time seeing a pilot docking the vessel. I certainly understand the pilot explaining the approach to the captain, but would guess the captain has far more experience putting his vessel to the dock.

Have also watched the biggest ore carriers lock though the Soo Locks into Lake Superior. While I'm sure a pilot has great skill, I'm having a hard time seeing them more experienced with a specific vessel than the captain.

Maybe Wayfarer will answer these questions as he captains an ore boat in the Great Lakes.

Ted
Most ships on saltwater are docked with tugs and docking pilots are almost always ex tug captains, this makes communication between the ship and tugs much more effective. Great Lakes ore carriers are a specific type of ship for a specific job. Most newer ones have several bow and stern thrusters and while up to 1000ft long do not have the beam of saltwater vessels mostly so they can fit through the Soo.
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Old 04-07-2022, 07:58 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Fish53 View Post
Most ships on saltwater are docked with tugs and docking pilots are almost always ex tug captains, this makes communication between the ship and tugs much more effective. Great Lakes ore carriers are a specific type of ship for a specific job. Most newer ones have several bow and stern thrusters and while up to 1000ft long do not have the beam of saltwater vessels mostly so they can fit through the Soo.
Yes, I was aware of that. The OP was about Great Lakes pilots specifically, hence the question regarding pilots to dock and lock.

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Old 04-07-2022, 08:30 AM   #12
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Prior wife had a boyfriend who’s family owned a tug business for port of NY/NJ. Extremely lucrative business. Lead to believe you virtually need to be born into that closed circle. We got friendly so chatted time to time. He even bought a cherry MGB from me. Still, his description was of a high stress job. Both scheduled work but also “on call” so disruptive to social and family life. They had tugs that were staffed much like a fire company so fully staffed 24/7/365 as well as others doing only scheduled work. At least for that port sounded like there’s more than acquiring credentials to break into that group. Haven’t had contact with him for some years. Don’t know if things are different now.
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Old 04-07-2022, 08:55 AM   #13
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Old 04-08-2022, 03:12 PM   #14
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I know 2 pilots for Los Angeles and 3 for Long Beach. None of them had previous tug experience. They are all maritime academy grads, and did their sea time on container ships advancing up to Unlimited Tonnage Master. These are coveted jobs, and the training programs are extensive and likely involve time on a tug for the particular port.
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Old 04-08-2022, 03:44 PM   #15
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I know 2 pilots for Los Angeles and 3 for Long Beach. None of them had previous tug experience. They are all maritime academy grads, and did their sea time on container ships advancing up to Unlimited Tonnage Master. These are coveted jobs, and the training programs are extensive and likely involve time on a tug for the particular port.
https://www.harborpilots.org/
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Old 04-08-2022, 04:18 PM   #16
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I left the ship world many years ago, so wanted to verify also out of my own curiosity.

Text from an ex classmate who parks supertankers in Africa. I removed their names. Sounds like a combo of both experiences.

XXA was all deep sea experience, XXB I think same like XXC , both have USCG Masters unlimited license with the LA/LB pilotage endorsement, guys like XXD is all Tug Boat experience and also passed the test to get the LA/LB pilotage endorsement. I don't think XXD has a tonnage unlimited license like XXA and XXB. The Pilots like to hire both the deep sea guys and the tug Captains.
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Old 04-08-2022, 08:09 PM   #17
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In Washington, a pilot is picked up at Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca ...
On my one passage from Anchorage to Tacoma on a TOTE ro-ro, we picked up the pilot and his apprentice off Port Angeles. IIRC, the apprentice had to make 100 supervised passages. Don't know if he was compensated for these.

In addition we carried a Cook Inlet pilot who spent most of his 70-day duty cycle in the gym.
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Old 04-08-2022, 10:37 PM   #18
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The Great Lakes Pilots are a very unique situation. Two countries, St. Lawrence Seaway, Welland Canal, Ice and very limited number of days in the year. Salary may be $399k but don't bet on them actually earning that.

Other pilots in some areas are well paid but nothing like that. A Harbor Pilot in Alaska averages around $120k. Panama Canal pilots around $180k.

Pilots are often the subject of heavy discussion as their rates are not free market. They're typically a small restricted bargaining unit, rates often government bargained, and only members of the specific union are eligible. Plus their services are then required by law.
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Old 04-08-2022, 11:06 PM   #19
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The CG has just raised the pay of Great Lakes pilots to $399,000 per year. I'm curious if the ship's captain has a pilotage endorsement for a harbor, does he get paid for it?


The Great Lakes are unique in that the master is also a pilot. They do not pick up a pilot The Master docks the boat. Most lakers have huge thrusters bow and stern. In ports where a 1000í laker canít turn around they back up the channel and dock.
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Old 04-09-2022, 04:59 PM   #20
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I owe one Delaware River pilot boat skipper a night of beer.

During a tropical storm, a sailboat went up on the shoals off Caper Henelopen, DE.

A pilot boat was standing by till the USCG arrived on scene.

The winds at the surface were probably 60 knots or so, at 800 feet when we (USCG Helo) arrived on scene it was pretty much a steady 80 knots. The surf was around 25 feet.

While deciding what was needed to do, I watched the pilot boat go up and over one wave...then completely disappear underwater on the next.

The captain very calmly radioed us and said "Hey Coast Guard, now that you are on scene, we are going to stand by a little farther offshore".

Yes.... I said...." sure thing and THANKS for standing by".......

That captain probably makes a fraction of what the pilots make, but that day he earned a comparable sum in my book.
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