Maritime pilots command ships by steering them in and out of harbours or river mouths. Using their extensive knowledge of waterways – currents, depths and hazards – they operate the boat to navigate through berths, dangerous waters and traffic.
Maritime pilots also manage a vessel’s operations when the captain is off duty.
Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally
A maritime pilot’s working hours and conditions will vary based on the ship, objective and destination. For the most part, you can expect to work more than 40 hours a week, oftentimes topping 50 hours. The schedule will also depend on various circumstances, but you can anticipate doing shift work and clock in on evenings, weekends and the occasional holiday.
A maritime pilot will spend most of their time on board a ship.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
DVM / VMD degree
No formal education is required to become a maritime pilot. Most employers offer extensive on-the-job training, which typically lasts one to two years. Still, many maritime pilots choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in subject like marine science, which can significantly increase their job prospects.
You will need to become licensed in order to work as a maritime pilot. Licensing requirements vary by state, while pilots on the Great Lakes are licensed by the US Coast Guard.
Most maritime pilots will begin their careers as deck officers or third mates and work their way up the ladder.
Enrolling in continuing education courses at maritime academies can be beneficial, as you’ll learn new skills and become knowledgeable about the latest technology developments.