The province of British Columbia, Canada, is home to
one of the most pristine and ecologically sensitive
marine habitats in North America. Over 15,000 miles of
undulating coastline shelter unspoiled waters that are
teaming with marine life such as seals and sea lions,
orca, humpback, minke and Pacific grey whales, as well
as hundreds of species of fish, shellfish, and other
organisms. These all converge on the British Columbia
coastline, providing an unmatched opportunity to observe
marine life in its natural habitat. This same coastline,
however, is also a vibrant commercial waterway for large
ships travelling to and from major world ports.
How do these commercial interests co-exist with the
preservation of the marine habitat? The answer
is through the role of the licensed marine Pilot.
Under Canadian law every foreign ship over 350 gross registered
tons is required to utilize the services of a marine pilot when they
enter the waters of British Columbia. The Pilot is responsible to
ensure the vessel is safely navigated through the various
passageways along the coast so there is no damage to the ship, its
crew, or the marine environment. In British Columbia there are two
groups of marine pilots which supply this service; the BC Coast
Pilots and the Fraser River Pilots. The Fraser River Pilots are
responsible for the area beginning at the mouth of the Fraser River
and inland, while the BC Coast Pilots are responsible for the entire
coastline stretching from the southern Canadian border to Alaska.
Browse through our website to learn more about the role of the BC
Coast Pilots Ltd.