Alaskan Pilots

I’m curious if anyone has in depth knowledge of being either a Southeast or Southwest Alaskan pilot, information I’m looking for is if they’re in need of pilot applications, wages during training, typically training duration, quality of life, rotations, salary, etc. I’ve browsed both associations websites and have found training requirements, just looking for more info on what the job is actually like

I know nothing about the respective training programs or needs and salaries, but Southeast Alaska’s traffic is almost exclusively cruise ships (plus some log ships and yachts), and they work a seasonal schedule, spending multiple days on the ships when they’re in the district (almost the entirety of the Alaska portion of SE Alaska cruise is in pilotage waters) . They were hit very hard during the COVID years of 2020 and most of 2021 with virtually no traffic. There is some limited winter traffic that they rotate through being on call for. I don’t think too many of them actually live up there full time so if you don’t want to move from where you currently live, could be a good option.

If shiphandling is your thing, beware that on most cruise ships, the captain or staff captain do most of the actual docking and undocking (there are exceptions).

Southwest I’m less familiar with but they have the staple runs of the Valdez and Nikiski tanker traffic as well as the regular Matson service to Anchorage and Kodiak, plus whatever foreign traffic rolls that way. They also do cruise ships into Prince William Sound and Seward.

TOTE uses company pilots for their calls into Anchorage, so no state pilot on those.

All of the Alaska districts are quite large and, from what I know, you spend quite a bit of time away from home. Certainly different than most other pilot jobs in other states.

That’s about all I know….


Thanks for the solid info, I currently work as mate/pilot on the Great Lakes and get a lot of ship handling, but haven’t seen a lot of other pilotage areas outside of the lakes and the gulf. I appreciate the response