How To Get A Job As A Harbor Pilot

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Harbor pilot jobs pay well.

How To Get A Job As A Harbor Pilot

A harbor pilot takes charge of navigating a merchant ship into a port. Harbor pilots are highly paid professionals who earn a good living. They are trusted with multi million dollar ships and their cargos along with the lives of those living and working along the waterfront. Harbor pilot jobs require years of study and an in depth understanding of navigation, maritime law, different ships and equipment. Harbor pilots work in every major port in the United States and around the world.  Here is more about this challenging job.

What A Harbor Pilot Does

If you are interested in getting a job as a harbor pilot first learn more about what a harbor pilot does and if the job might be for you. Most port authorities such as the Houston Port Authority require that a harbor pilot be onboard and assume navigation of a merchant ship entering into that port. A harbor pilot is well acquainted with the navigational hazards of that port and therefore able to maneuver the ship more safely. The ship's captain remains in charge of his vessel, but in order to enter port must relinquish navigation of his vessel to a harbor pilot.

Are You Cut Out To Be A Harbor Pilot?

Determine if the job is for you. To become a harbor pilot takes years of training and apprenticeship under a working harbor pilot. Typical requirements are a high school diploma or GED, clean drug test, at least 600 days of sea time within the past five years, a merchant marine license with the required endorsements, and time spent as a second mate or greater on a vessel of a certain tonnage. Naval deck officer experience is often counted as well.

What To Expect While Training For The Job Of Harbor Pilot

Be prepared to spend quite a while as a deputy pilot. Harbor pilots typically spend up to a year or more working as a deputy pilot. Since harbor pilots will be operating such a wide variety of vessels it takes a long time to become proficient in the operation of different size hulls and control systems.

Persons with Navy deck officer training often are recruited as harbor pilots yet even they must undergo months of training. A person looking to become a harbor pilot should first work his way up through the various merchant mariners licenses to ships over 1600 tons and build their sea time.

Captains training courses are offered at a number of schools. For a complete list of Merchant Marine schools see the link below.

List Of Maritime Schools


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