Great Lakes Pilotage Study Material

Does anyone have any good Great Lakes pilotage prep material I could get my hands on? Any old study guides, links, or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

The pilotage exam is out of the “River Book”…you usually get it when you take a prep class. Someone may have a copy lying around that you could get.

What a great name, is that the official title or is it what people call it?

I guess It’s the “common name”, officially it is something that, for now, escapes me. It is the courses, distances, turning marks for the St Mary’s, St Clair, and Detroit Rivers along with comments. Learning the aids, towns, and local knowledge is a whole other ball game, of course and it is accepted your first issue is a leader’s permit.

The first time I saw the St Mary’s it was downbound, at night, in a snow storm, with ice on the river. Standing by the log desk, keeping the company river sheet, I thought “No way will I ever learn this”. The Old Man was in his chair, puffing on a cigarette, the Mate was in the front window, occasionally glancing at the radar (also smoking), and the wheelsman was perched on his stool, casually steering one handed and drinking coffee. A few years later, down the river I’d go, background music, coffee, and watching out the window and checking the radar; “Ok, Dave…let’s start left. Oh, about 142 or so, We’ll see the lead light when the snow lifts…”

I can’t believe where 25 years went…


So as not to go off topic, google turns up Hawsepiper’s Guide to Great Lakes Pilotage (2nd Edition - 2014)

To go off topic, I got married in Michigan, my in-laws suggested I work on the Lakes, I thought about it. Being from Maine I thought I’d feel at home on the UP.

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I’ve heard about the River Book. In one of the other forums someone suggested calling the Algonac Post Office, as they had copies. Unfortunately, they said they’d never heard of it.

Call JW Westcott Co. in Detroit (the mailboat)

UP and Maine…pretty darn similar!

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Ahhh, the mailboat! I’ll give that a shot! I’ve always thought living in Maine or up in the UP would be pretty awesome.

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