Pilotage Trip Verification


Have you ever drawn the chart for the area yet? It would be worth trying straight off before checking with anybody else,

That way when you do seek a bit of guidance you can get good feedback on what you’ve already done.


That is a good idea. I have looked over them several times but have not drawn it out as I didn’t know what detail level I should go to.

I really appreciate everyone’s insight and information. I am going to get some tracing paper so I can get good sketches of the banks and Lat/Long then work from there. I will also get in touch with the people at the REC.


The idea is to go all out on it.

  1. See for yourself what you can do.

  2. Have others give you feedback on it.

  3. Have those same others (who may be in a position to help you out with advice and other matters) your willing to put forth a significant amount of effort to get what you want.


I agree, just didnt think of it. I will order a chart and have it sent to the house along with some tracing paper. I assume they make some form of practice paper for Pilotage testing?


Go to RITI.com for chart overlays.


1.Document ALL trips in and out of every Port, you never know when you may use them.

You are on the right path. Having Federal Pilotage anywhere will make you more competitive on your application. It proves you at least have the ability to draw a chart. You will have to apply for any association, and that would be a big plus. Florida is based on both your test scores AND your strength of resume. Very few score high enough in their first attempt. If you already know how to draw a chart it will help there as well. There are techniques for drawing a chart, very similar to memorizing phone numbers. Invest in a book called “the memory book.”

FYI, last time I talked with a Florida Pilot, they did not accept OSV seatime. It may be more of an issue with them not understanding what OSV’s mates do daily…ymmv. I would consider broadening your horizons if you are serious.


Definitely. I wish I had been doing this from the beginning, I would have the trips for most or all of the Delaware river if I had been more diligent. Now I don’t have recency anymore. I also would consider getting pilotage for Fourchon but I never documented my trips.


Well, if they do not accept OSV seatime then I have zero seatime for them. Hopefully in the future I will be able to gain additional seatime. To be fair, it does seem to be different vessel to vessel as to what the mate does on a daily basis. Some seem to be strictly paperwork mates while on the ones I have worked on we drive, answer the phone, do paperwork, whatever else may be needed. I work with some fantastic guys who have been very willing to teach and push you to advance. The first time I got on a Z drive I was fairly nervous but picked it up quick since I had guys around me that were very willing to pass on knowledge and guidance, I have been lucky. I know several guys that I have met out here who worked up to mate and had never operated the vessel and when they were put in charge of their own watch it was overwhelming.

I will try to grab that book off of Amazon when I get in. I have actually read many books on memory and the mechanics behind the processes that the brain undertakes to retain the information.

Since posting this thread I have gained a couple contacts who have been willing to help with information so when I make it back to port and get off I am going to try to connect with them. One, I believe is a Pilot in Florida so there should be tons of information toward my goal.


The USCG does not have any limitations on vessel type for federal pilotage, at least I’ve never heard of any. OSV trips should be fine. As a starting point, I suggest that you just go ahead and get your federal pilotage for Fouchon.

There are some tricks to doing the chart plots. Show any pilot anywhere your practice charts and how you are doing them. He’ll be able to show you the tricks that make it easier. Everyone else figured out how to do it. You can too.


www.riti.com the website for getting light coordinates per a colleague who is a Tampa Deputy pilot… $200 Per exam area then 1 year of seatime as 2nd Mate for Florida… also go through the website that someone else posted…



I went through the Florida website. That is actually the first place I looked for information which was where I saw that they required 2nd Mate and First Class Pilot. This is the first time onboard that I started doing the transit verifications. We typically get several of them per hitch so I think I will get those knocked out fairly quickly.

Thanks for the link to Riti. I reached out to them about their materials and hopefully I will be able to get some of them when I get home this time.

I do not think I have ever actually met a Harbor Pilot.


I wasn’t speaking to any CG requirement. I was speaking to the fact that The State Board of Pilots, and whose opinion really matters, considers it a very weak application. In that case you would never even get the opportunity to sit for the Deputy Pilot Exam.

Hopefully this changes in the future.

Federal Pilotage alone is virtually useless. I was giving advice with the context that he actually wanted to work as a pilot…


Since he only has OSV seatime and trips in Fouchon, that’s all he has to work with. He should make the most of it and get what he can. Hopefully, he’ll eventually have other opportunities to improve his prospects. Becoming a state pilot is a long shot anyway.

  1. Pilot Associations RARELY allow Tom, Dick or Harriet to just ride along for trips. They are usually very territorial and an interloper is seen as someone competing for their dollar.

  2. Tug companies additionally aren’t gonna let just anybody ride either - LIABILITY. Tom, Dick or Harriet can get hurt in that inherently dangerous environment, why take the risk.

  3. FCP in Miami required a listing of EVERY lighted AToN and it’s characteristics. State Test, as I understood from a Florida Pilot I know was indeed a regurgitation of the Light List, to every detail.

  4. While it is referred to as a Chart SKETCH, it ain’t no joke. Your completed sketch is taken and placed OVER the chart for comparison.


are you a pilot?


No, why?


I have an email and contact to the Florida Pilot State commission/ Board. I’m going to call to discuss options today. They have been very helpful.

It was explained in an email that they can only accept 300 of the required 600 days of OSV time. Within my company, there are vessels not classed as OSV so I may be able to get a position in one of those. Not a sure thing but its a possibility.


One captain I sailed with brought a home made light table aboard for checking/tracing the charts. Might be worth looking into. I taped the charts onto the glass of a sliding glass door but it’s not a very comfortable way to work.


I was bent over piece of plexiglass on a coffee table. SUCKED. Chart table was purchased shortly after testing.


That’s not a bad idea. I imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult to make one.