Watchkeeping with the pilot on board

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Watchkeeping with the pilot on board


A pilot is an advisor, a person with detail local knowledge. A ‘bearthing pilot’ may also have expensive ship handling knowledge/experience. The presence of a pilot does not relieve the master or officer of watch of their responsibilities or duties.
when a pilot arrives on board the master and the pilot must exchange info, the details of the ship are usually given to the pilot in the form of ” pilot card”. see BPG annex-3

A preliminary passage plan should be prepared in advance based on the information available. see BPG annex -2
The master and the pilot should discuss and agree on the final passage plan before the pilotage commence.


The OOW should –

  • Monitor the progress of the vessel along the planed track at appropriate intervals.
  • Ensure that for below order from the master pilot are understood and affected.
  • Understand the pilot’s action and intentions bring any doubt to masters attention.
  • Bring to attention of the pilot any concern.
  • Monitor under keel clearance.
  • Ensure vessel is seaworthy at all times of pilotage, with particular respect to deck lightning affecting visibility crew at station, etc.

Information the pilot needs to know about the ship.

  • when the pilot boards he want to know essential info about the ship. This will include the draft in case of depth restriction in the port approached and the effect of the squat. He will also want to know the resolutions and speed at standard telegraph settings the number of propellers, type of engine rudder configuration, thruster abilities and so on. It is important that you are able to complete and update the pilot card accurately.
  • The measuring data should be prominently displayed on the bridge. This gives turning circle, stopping distance and other information in different load conditions.

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