Marine pilots are required by law in most major seaports of the world for large commercial ships.  The primary role of a marine pilot is to safely navigate large vessels through narrow coastal areas using their extensive local knowledge and navigational skill. Commercial vessels of all kinds rely on pilots to operate safely on a day to day basis. Without the knowledge that these pilots possess, it would not be possible for vessels to operate in congested waters or navigate port areas.

A marine pilot’s work is dangerous.  Pilots often join incoming ships in open water by climbing a rope ladder to the main deck.  These “Jacobs ladders” can extend up to 27 feet along the ship’s freeboard.  Other times, pilots may be lowered to the deck of a ship from a helicopter.

Pilots may be called upon to assist vessels even in adverse weather conditions, rough seas, and nighttime operations.

Back to top

Information Center

Back to top

Types of Piloting Accidents

Pilots can suffer injury when transferring vessels due to poorly maintained:

  • Ladders
  • Platforms
  • Combination arrangements
  • Ladder wells
  • Decks
  • Guard rails
  • Mechanical equipment

Pilots may also be injured due to the negligence of the vessel and its crew.  Pilot injuries have resulted from:

The injuries sustained in these accidents can life-threatening or even fatal.

Back to top

Pilots Serving the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest

Large commercial ships rely on marine pilots and pilot organizations throughout the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest.  These organizations include:

  • Puget Sound Pilots
  • Columbia River Bar Pilots
  • Columbia River Pilots
  • San Francisco Bar Pilots
  • Port Hueneme Pilots Association
  • Los Angeles Port Pilots
  • San Diego Bay Pilots Association
  • Southwest Alaska Pilots Association
  • Southeast Alaska Pilots Association

Back to top

Marine Pilot Lawyers in Washington Oregon, California and Alaska

If you or your loved one has been injured in the performance of duties as a marine pilot in Washington, Oregon, California, or Alaska due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation. Maritime injury lawyers of BOATLAW, LLP in Bellingham, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have experience in pilot injuries and can help you fight for the recovery that you deserve.

Contact the skilled marine pilot attorneys of BOATLAW, LLP, at 1-800-262-8529 or send us an online message to schedule a confidential consultation.

Back to top