Role of the Pilot

As defined by the official statement of the Trustees of the American Pilots' Association in 1997, navigation of a ship in United States pilotage waters is a shared responsibility between the pilot and the master/bridge crew. The compulsory state pilot directs the navigation of the ship, subject to the master's overall command of the ship and ultimate responsibility for its safety.

State-licensed pilots act in the public interest and exercise professional judgment that is independent of any direction that does not comport with the needs of maritime safety. Licensing and regulatory authorities, both state and federal, require compulsory pilots to take all reasonable actions to prevent ships under their navigational control from engaging in unsafe operations Pilots are expected to develop and maintain a cooperative, mutually supportive working relationship with the master and the bridge crew in recognition of the respective responsibility of each for safe navigation.

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