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How to become a Marine Pilot

Find out more about becoming a Marine Pilot

What does a Marine Pilot do?

Job Description and Activities

Masters of ships arriving in ports often need assistance to make sure they can enter and exit the port safely. This assistance is provided by Marine Pilots who are usually required to undertake the following:

  • Physical tasks – Marine Pilots are required to board moving vessels from small high powered launches, often in rough seas. This involves climbing high ladders to access vessel decks.
  • Pilotage planning – before boarding a vessel, the Marine Pilot is required to plan the course of the vessel taking into account tides, weather, size, weight and operational characteristics of the vessel, and if there is a need for tugs.
  • Piloting the vessel – the Marine Pilot will have responsibility for navigating the vessel safely in and out of the harbour. They need to work very closely with the captain and other members of the crew in order to achieve this. They also need to be able to use the ship’s navigational and communications equipment, liaising with both other vessels and the port control centre.

The requirement to board vessels at sea means that a Marine Pilot needs to be reasonably fit, comfortable working on the water and at height. Due to the nature of the work, many pilots have previously worked as a Ship’s Officer or Master. There may also be some on-call requirements, as well as shift or weekend work.

How does the Marine Pilotage course work?

You will learn key knowledge from experienced people working in the business, by studying the course modules via distance learning. This knowledge and understanding will be tested by the module student assignments and the final exam (for those wishing to gain the Full Diploma).  The course covers key areas that you must understand if you wish to work as a Marine Pilot. Those who have taken the time to study this subject will have shown motivation and forward thinking. This is very appealing to potential employers.

Am I qualified enough to start training as a Marine Pilot?

Marine Pilots traditionally have experience as a Ship’s Officer prior to working in the Pilotage profession. Please note that each employer will have different requirements, depending on where you are in the world.

How will this course help me find a job as a Marine Pilot?

We cannot guarantee that you will find work as a Marine Pilot. But, taking this course will raise your profile on the job market. Key knowledge and understanding, plus the ability to learn, are important factors that employers look for. By taking and passing this course, you will have demonstrated and proven your ability for critical thinking within the framework of a course. For instance, covering all the key aspects of marine pilotage.

The course is taught by working experts with a huge amount of experience and working knowledge. The focus of this course is understanding what you need to know when performing the task of a Marine Pilot. As such, it is invaluable for those wishing to start a career, or highly experienced Marine Pilots looking to update their knowledge and gain a formal qualification.

Will I become a qualified Pilot upon successful completion?

No. You will still need to meet the requirements of individual employers in terms of their operating and training standards. But, as explained, this course will certainly help.

How much can I expect to earn?

Earnings are often dependent upon the types of vessel using the port, and how many unsocial hours a Marine Pilot is required to work. Salaries will also depend on where you are based in the world.

How to apply for the Diploma in Marine Pilotage?

To enrol on the Marine Pilotage course simply download the Application Form and return it to

If you would like us to confirm your suitability for the course, please send in your CV along with your career plans and a member of the team will get back to you.

For further information email us

Download the Diploma in Marine Pilotage brochure here

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