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Pilots and Mooring Master


A pilot is an expert mariner who is responsible for maneuvering vessels through dangerous or congested waters such as harbors. In most ports operators are legally compelled to use the services of a pilot because pilots are more familiar with the specific dangers of local waterways than a vessels crew. The pilot works with the vessel’s crew, other vessels, and port workers to plan and execute the course of the vessel’s travel to safely bring the ship into the port. Pilots are required to be highly experienced master mariners.

Mooring Masters

The mooring or berthing of a ship can be a difficult procedure and one that should only be attempted by qualified professionals. Taking into account weather conditions, the effect of the load the ship is carrying, currents, swell and so on, mean that no two berthings are the same.

An experienced individual known as a Mooring Master will direct the berthing and unberthing of all types and sizes of ships at a port or terminal in accordance with the shipowner’s and port’s marine procedures and safety requirements. Acting as the ship’s adviser, and the terminal representative on board a vessel, the mooring master responsibility could cover mooring, loading/discharging, unmooring, and communications with shore, among other things.

To take on this demanding job, a Mooring Master must have a master’s ticket and normally a number of year’s experience as a ship’s master at sea. He/she should also know the procedures for ship control, ship responsibilities, spill prevention, containment and cleanup, accidents and emergencies, and voice radio-telecommunications. Previous experience as a pilot is also often seen as an asset.

For Further Reading Visit: Panama Canal Pilots Association Florida Harbor Pilots Sandy Hook Pilots Association American Pilots Association International Maritime Pilots Association Malacca Singaport Straits Pilots