The role of the Marine Pilot is quite unique. It involves navigating and handling an often very large vessel which in all likelihood the Pilot will never have seen, and working closely with a vessel Master and bridge team (usually foreign nationals) who in all probability the Pilot will never have met. The Pilot is specifically trained to handle any size or type of vessel, utilising his/her thorough working knowledge of the port and it’s environs. By exchanging information about the proposed passage and berthing with the Master, and in turn taking on board the manoeuvring characteristics of the vessel, the Pilot takes the conduct of a given vessel to safely manoeuvre and navigate that vessel in or out of port.
The Pilot’s relationship with the Master is crucial to the success of the operation, and all support personnel are required to be fully aware of their various roles and responsibilities. It is therefore essential that the Pilot exhibits excellent communication, leadership and teamwork skills in order to work effectively with the Master and bridge team on the vessel, as well as the external support staff such as tug and line boat skippers, and port control and mooring gang personnel. While the Pilot is the clear focal point and manager, this team approach is critical to ensuring a safe and efficient outcome.
In order to help explain the Marine Pilot’s unique role in the maritime industry, the tabs below briefly outline a Pilot’s tasks and responsibilities during pilotage operations within the Port of Fremantle.