Get the call
After getting the assignment call from the Pacific Pilotage Authority, the dispatched pilot prepares for their next assignment by reviewing the latest information about the planned route and its intended berth, making transportation arrangements, and planning their pre-assignment rest period to ensure that they are adequately rested for the assignment.
Travel to the assignment
After a number of hours and transportation methods including commercial flights, float planes, the pilot’s own car and water taxis, the pilot travels from their home to the assignment destination and boards the ship. Sometimes, pilots board the destination ship via a helicopter landing. Other times, the pilot will have to jump from one moving ship onto the other vessel and climb up a rope ladder. Pilot launch crews are specially trained for every transportation option.
Pilot the vessel
Once on board, the pilot will explain the intended route to the Captain, utilize different technology to monitor the route and any changing weather, and communicate with Vessel Traffic Services to provide regular updates on routing. Once the vessel arrives at the intended berth, the pilot utilizes ship berthing tugs to safely bring the ship into the dock.
When the assignment is over, each pilot takes a prescribed rest period based on the length of the assignment. Safety is a first priority for marine pilots, and this rest time is essential for pilots’ performance, concentration, and overall well-being. In fact, all BC Coast Pilots undertake additional training courses to manage fatigue and mental health.