What is a Ship Pilot?
Ship Pilot Job Description Command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, straits, or sounds, or on rivers, lakes, or bays. Must be licensed by U.S. Coast Guard with limitations indicating class and tonnage of vessels for which license is valid and route and waters that may be piloted.
A Day in the Life of a Ship Pilot
- Prevent ships under their navigational control from engaging in unsafe operations.
- Direct courses and speeds of ships, based on specialized knowledge of local winds, weather, water depths, tides, currents, and hazards.
- Advise ships’ masters on harbor rules and customs procedures.
- Set ships’ courses that avoid reefs, outlying shoals, or other hazards, using navigational aids, such as lighthouses or buoys.
- Serve as a vessel’s docking master upon arrival at a port or when at a berth.
- Learn to operate new technology systems and procedures, through the use of instruction, simulators, or models.
What Every Ship Pilot Should Know
When polled, Ship Pilots say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Other Ship Pilot Job Titles
- Steamboat Pilot
- Marine Pilot
- Ferryboat Pilot
- State Pilot
- Ship Pilot
Job Opportunities for Ship Pilots
There were about 38,800 jobs for Ship Pilot in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 3,400 new jobs for Ship Pilot by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 4,400 job openings in this field each year.
The states with the most job growth for Ship Pilot are Nevada, Georgia, and Tennessee. Watch out if you plan on working in Kentucky, Indiana, or Oregon. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Average Ship Pilots Salary
Ship Pilots make between $35,410 and $144,690 a year.
Ship Pilots who work in Texas, Oregon, or Maryland, make the highest salaries.
How much do Ship Pilots make in each U.S. state?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
Tools & Technologies Used by Ship Pilots
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Ship Pilots:
- Log book software
- Jeppesen Marine Nobeltec Admiral
- Maptech The CAPN
How do I Become a Ship Pilot?
What education or degrees do I need to become a Ship Pilot?
How many years of work experience do I need?
Who Employs Ship Pilots?
Ship Pilots work in the following industries:
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More about our data sources and methodologies.
Featured Marine Technology / Captain Schools
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