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Marine Pilot Accidents

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.


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Information Center


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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.


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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

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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 Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC 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 Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC, at 1 (800) 262-8529 or send us an online message to schedule a confidential consultation.


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  • The Maritime Law Association of The United States
    The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) was founded in 1899. Its formation was prompted by the organization, some three years earlier, of the International Maritime Committee.
  • Washington State Bar Association
    The Washington State Bar Association operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state's nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals.
  • Oregon State Bar
    The Oregon State Bar is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession.
  • Alaska Bar Association
    The Alaska Bar Association is a mandatory bar association responsible to the Alaska Supreme Court for the admission and discipline process of attorneys for the State of Alaska.