Ship Pilots: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, OverviewLeave a Comment

Job description

Ship Pilots command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, straits, or sounds, or on rivers, lakes, or bays. Must be licensed by U.S. Coast Guard with limitations indicating class and tonnage of vessels for which license is valid and route and waters that may be piloted.

  • Direct courses and speeds of ships, based on specialized knowledge of local winds, weather, water depths, tides, currents, and hazards.
  • Steer ships into or out of berths, or signal tugboat captains to berth or unberth ships.
  • Set ships’ courses to avoid reefs, outlying shoals, or other hazards, using navigational aids, such as lighthouses or buoys.
  • Prevent ships under navigational control from engaging in unsafe operations.
Read more about what does a Ship Pilot really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$82380 per year

Average hourly wage
$40 per hour

Ship Pilots with little to no experience tend to make between $35410 and $48190 while the more experienced ones can earn over $100730 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
TX $50 $103,950
OR $48 $100,150
NY $46 $95,370
LA $45 $93,010
WA $44 $90,890

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Ship Pilot is to move to a higher paying state like TX. Right now, the highest paying states for Ship Pilots are TX, OR, NY, LA and WA.

However, a higher pay at TX doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at TX might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Ship Pilot is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Ship Pilots what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by an Associate’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Commercial Fishing
Marine Science/Merchant Marine Officer
Read more about how to become a Ship Pilot and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Ship Pilot.

Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work both indoors and outdoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Demand for this career is growing fast
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

61% of Ship Pilots said they were satisfied with their job and 47% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Builders and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Learn more about Ship Pilots

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Ship Pilots job description, Ship Pilots salary, Ship Pilots information, what is the job of a Ship Pilot like, pros and cons about Ship Pilots, colleges and universities for Ship Pilots, is Ship Pilots the right career for me, careers in Transportation

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