Harbor Pilot Advice


Sigh of relief


I’ll rephrase, the average scores were roughly that after reading the particular book*



As I have not thoroughly read the book yet, I made a mistake.

The average score of the post-programme test was 89.1% after 6.5 hours of studying. All in all, I for sure will make sure of my source before posting.


In reality, if you were to choose to attend an academy you would find that 60+ hours of classroom study and countless hours of independent study will still produce fairly high fail percentages from what I’ve seen. Rules of the Road snag a lot of people up on license exams.

My advice is to study the rules for knowledge of how they work and how to apply them. Focusing on memorization to pass a test will not make you effective as an officer of the watch.


For sure, I believe in what you’re saying.

The book has questions and exams, as a start I believe this would be a good primer. I know I shouldn’t rely on this only, I am just beginning. This forum alone extends my knowledge. I’m ready for opportunities of growth!!



Don’t waste your time on SIU, go to the academy. Others already wrote down enough reasons on here for you


I underwent 4.5 years at a university within Florida, with part time jobs. Current age is 24.

Maritime academy most likely without a part time job doesn’t sound appealing to me.

I understand earning acceptance at an academy and attending for an additional 3-4 more years of school would look better. But ideally, it’s not what I’m interested in anymore. Maybe this is quite dumb of me, but starting work in roughly one year will allow money and experience asap.

To all seafarers, what do you believe is best? From my understanding by the time I graduate at an academy as an officer, I most likely will have just became an officer the hawsepipe route. Or real close to it.


No you won’t have become an officer the hawsepipe route. As somebody said above, you can realistically expect about 6 years “via hawsepipe”, at least, just to earn sea service. And off to school you go again, if you’re lucky maybe SIU/AMO will pay for it.
And then there is job availability while you are earning your sea service. Who says you will always have a nice cushy spot at SIU?
And once you’re done, nobody will take you that seriously. Apply anywhere GOOD and the first question will always be- did you go to academy and which one are you a grad of.
You have to be exceptionally good with squeaky clean reputation, in every possible aspect, to get into a good spot anywhere good.
Or you can rot in a ratty company until you retire.

Your plan will be wasting your time my friend.


For your specific goal, academy all the way. Think of it this way. 6 or 7 years to qualify for testing as Third Mate yet you need to get to fully sailed Second Mate which will take you a further 5 years at a minimum. SUNY maritime masters degree in international transportation management can be completed in 3 years and you have a 3M license in hand plus a Masters. Go the acade,y route and save yourself a decade of misery in the SIU


And misery it is.



Do I need a maritime undergrad degree to gain acceptance for a maritime masters program?


Go to an academy.


Absolutely not. Bonus, you have minimal involvement with the regiment and can live off campus.



What you should be reading cover to cover is Bowditch. Rules are easy enough but Bowditch is the akin to the Bible for a Mariner. You should continually be reading this and studying everything it contains.


American Practical Navigator? @saltyseamen


I will look into this as we speak, Thank you. @DamnYankee


Use the search function on this forum and you will find threads discussing a lot of what you want to know going back several years


Damn Yankee, I typically respect your posts, but concerning the Virginia Pilot Association, but I feel in most regards you are misguided. It is true that the VPA typically take pilots with little or no experience (they don’t want them to be corrupted by outside experience, i.e. know something about the profession they intend to pursue.) While it has, in the last decade or two, no longer been requisite that you be a son, or other close relative of a Virginia state pilot, candidates are shepherded into the apprenticeship program, only if they are extremely well connected or can further an agenda for the VPA. The VPA only recently brought in a scant few black or women pilots after decades of pressure. As for being an ace in school, I have yet to observe any brain trusts in the VPA and I feel it safe to say that none of them would have ever endured the rigors to obtain an Unlimited Master, Any Gross Tons, Oceans license by themselves. They are where they are in their state sanctioned sinecure due to the VPA. Seldom have so many self-laudatory popping jays, been so proud of so little.


Damn Yankee, Susmumriken and saltyseamen are giving you good advice.