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Overview top

A Marine Pilot has responsibility for the safe navigational conduct of a vessel throughout its passage from sea to berth or berth to sea. They also have a statutory duty to report any defects or deficiencies on the piloted vessel. A Marine Pilot will work closely with the Captain and other members of the crew, who may be of any nationality. They must also be able to use the vessels navigational and communications equipment, liaising with other vessels and the harbour marine control centre. Before boarding a vessel, a Marine Pilot is required to prepare a passage plan for the voyage from sea to berth or berth to sea. This will take into account the size, draft and operating characteristics of the vessel as well as tides, the marine environment and the weather and give consideration to any need for tugs to assist the manoeuvring.

The Marine Pilot must be able to respond to emergency situations. They must know and adhere to safe navigational, vessel handling and environmental working practices and international regulations without endangering themselves, the vessel, its crew or the marine environment. A Marine Pilot must be able to climb/descend a vertical rope ladder from/to a launch holding position alongside a moving vessel, often in rough weather. They must be able to use survival techniques in water. A Marine Pilot typically works shifts to ensure they take regulated rest hours. They must have local knowledge of the waters, navigation and environment in which they will carry out acts of pilotage.

This is a Level 5 apprenticeship.

Entry Requirements top

Applicants are placed at South Shields Marine School by individual employers who will determine their own entry requirements but those who have completed a Port Marine Operations Apprenticeship or hold an MCA Deck Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency would meet most of the entry requirements. Due to the nature of the role it is expected that candidates will meet certain medical standards of physical health.

Assessment top

This apprenticeship will require rigorous and substantial training, typically of around 30 – 36 months, depending on experience at entry.

Further Information top

Cost: Costs vary depending on whether the employer pays the Apprenticeship levy or is a non-levy payer.

Dates:   Available on application

Further Information:      Visit or contact ABP Ports.

Dates & Fees

Contact us for current course dates and fees.