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Old 12-19-2007, 05:42 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New Jersey
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I probably should have posted this earlier, and wasn't quite sure what to put in the subject line, but does anyone know what the term "picking up our pilot" means? When I was on my cruise a couple months ago, the captain would mention "We'll be picking up our pilot around 6:00 am and be tied up alongside the dock around 10:00 am" (or something like that).
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:56 PM
susanmaz's Avatar  
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Location: Southern Arizona
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I'm sure there are others who can give a better and/or more accurate response - but basically, the pilot guides the captain when coming into a port.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:29 PM
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Most ports won't let the ship's captain actually navigate through the channel and dock the ship. The pilot comes out on a small boat (pilot boat) and "pilots" the ship to the pier.
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Old 12-20-2007, 06:51 AM
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LHP LHP is offline
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Most people don't realize that the time you "leave the Gulf" to the time you dock...you are traveling in Intercoastal waters.

For Example: IT takes about 8 hours to get from the mouth of the Mississippi to the dock in New Orleans. A river boat pilot must be onboard during that time because the river "changes" in ways that the open sea does not. Sediment shifts and builds up....etc.

In Mobile, you are in the Mobile Bay for about 1 1/2 hours before you hit open waters.

While it is probably not always necessary....Coast Guard regulations require it.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:18 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DFW, Texas
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The full title is "Harbor Pilot" but Larry and LHP have it correct. The Harbor Pilot is someone who is very familar with the local waters and comes on board to either assist the captain or take over the navigation completely while docking.

The New Orleans port is probably the best example of where this is a mandatory thing. The trip from the dock to the gulf is entirely on the Miss. river. Which causes changes in sandbars and such constantly, so the pilot stays on board until they reach the gulf.

You will see them pull up to the ship in a little motor boat with "Pilot" written on the side. When you leave Galveston you can also see them leave the ship when you depart from the port.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:42 AM
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