Welcome to Pilotage Week!

Welcome to Pilotage Week!


It is exciting to see another Pilotage Week come around. Pilotage is a sector where new and interesting designs keep arising along with continual refinement of existing vessel designs. Pilot boat designs are regularly transferred or adapted to many other uses such as patrol and rescue boats and motor yachts. Their requisite seaworthiness is widely demanded in other roles.

The old days of large pilot ships remaining cruising at sea off pilotage ports while awaiting ships to embark or disembark seem to almost be over. Most pilots these days are delivered or recovered by fast, safe and comfortable pilot boats or cutters. Sometimes, with very large ships, helicopters are used for pilot transfer but the majority of transfers are effected by fast monohull pilot boats between about 12 and 20 metres in length.

This week we present six reviews of new pilot boats that have been built in four countries and which are now working in five different countries. While all aiming to deliver or collect pilots quickly, safely, comfortably and economically, all the designs reviewed take a different approach. Two boats were built of aluminium and the other four from advanced FRP composites. One is a catamaran. The others are all monohulls. They range in size from 12 metres to 27 metres LOA.

Invariably, pilot boats are ruggedly built for safety and durability. Their designs are continually refined to improve economy and comfort. They are built to survive sometimes rough handling in often rugged conditions. They do, after all, often bang into much larger and heavier steel hulls.

The different design and construction approaches highlighted this week offer an excellent overview of the exciting developments that continue to arise in this exciting and important sector.

Vessel Reviews

Features and Opinion:

FEATURE | Oil spill cleanup vessel finds new life as pilot station boat for Staten Island

“Modifications include addition of a port rescue station with net recovery system, deck de-icing systems at the port and starboard pilot boarding stations, a hot water/steam system for power washing to de-ice the pilot boats when alongside in winter, and a new knuckle boom crane to service the port and starboard rigid inflatable boats.”

News and Gear:

Recent Important Features:

FEATURE | Celebrating the 160–year history of Eden’s harbour masters

Medicines delivered by sea vessels may be delayed by customs, these delays in the delivery of generic Viagra occur from time to time.

– “The process for safe navigation remains the same but every ship has its specific needs which we have to prepare for.”

Remember to come back every day to see the latest news, opinion and vessel reviews!

Call for content!

Any news or views about the global pilotage industry? Send it through to [email protected] ASAP (between now and April 23), so we can add it to this current edition of Pilotage Week!

We are after:

  • Vessels – Orders, new deliveries, under construction
  • Gear – Latest innovations and technology in the pilot boat sector
  • Interviews – Owners, operators, port authorities, marine pilotage associations etc.
  • Reminiscences – Do you have any exciting, amusing or downright dangerous anecdotes from your time in the marine pilotage world? (example here)
  • Other – Any other relevant news

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Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone.