daily life of a Ship Pilot
are Ship Pilots happy with their job

Ship Pilots

Other names for this job might include Area Relief Pilot, Bar Pilot, Barge Pilot, Boat Pilot, Canal Driver, Docking Pilot, Ferry Pilot, Ferryboat Pilot, Harbor Pilot, Marine Pilot

  • $83150
  • 61%
    Job satisfaction
  • Medium
    Becoming one
  • Medium
    Job growth
OwlGuru Rank


Being A Ship Pilot: What You Really Do

In this job description guide, you will find out what do Ship Pilots do and what is their typical work day like. After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as a Ship Pilot or not.

Job summary

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.

We asked Ship Pilots how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction


How meaningful is this job


61% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 47% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

Become one

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Typical day

On a daily basis, Ship Pilots Set ships’ courses that avoid reefs, outlying shoals, or other hazards, using navigational aids, such as lighthouses or buoys. They Direct courses and speeds of ships, based on specialized knowledge of local winds, weather, water depths, tides, currents, and hazards.

1 of the main responsibilities as A Ship Pilot is to Steer ships into or out of berths or signal tugboat captains to berth or unberth ships.

Some may also Prevent ships under their navigational control from engaging in unsafe operations.

In a normal work day, another thing that Ship Pilots do is they Consult maps, charts, weather reports, or navigation equipment to determine and direct ship movements.

In addition to that, they Give directions to crew members who are steering ships..

A typical day for A Ship Pilot look like this:

Choose optimal transportation routes or speeds.
Choose optimal transportation routes or speeds.
Operate ships or other watercraft.

We asked some Ship Pilots a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?82% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?71% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?77% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?84% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?65% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?21% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?4% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?95% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Ship Pilots do, they Provide assistance to vessels approaching or leaving seacoasts, navigating harbors, or docking and undocking. They might also Oversee cargo storage on or below decks.

A typical week or month for them might include:

Communicate with others to coordinate vehicle movement.
Monitor cargo area conditions.

Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Irregular (Changes with weather conditions, production demands or contract duration)

In a typical work week as A Ship Pilot, you can expect to work More than 40 hours per week.

Do Ship Pilots work in an office-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Ship Pilots work in a warehouse-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Ship Pilots work outdoors?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


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. You will like this career if you are someone who likes 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. Many of the careers require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. You also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

How we can help

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Career type

Transportation Transportation Operations

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Related to Ship Pilots Job Description

Ship Pilots job description, what do Ship Pilots do, typical day for Ship Pilots, what is it like to work as a Ship Pilot, how many hours do Ship Pilots work, day to day work of a Ship Pilot

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/transportation-and-material-moving/water-transportation-occupations.htm http://www.marad.dot.gov/ http://www.uscg.mil/ http://www.americanwaterways.com/ [schema type=”review” url=”https://www.owlguru.com/” name=”OwlGuru.com” description=”OwlGuru.com is a career and college finder site. We help students to find a career and college that is right for them.” rev_name=”Ship Pilots” rev_body=”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.” author=”Stanley Tan” user_review=”3.8″ min_review=”1″ max_review=”5″ ]