The worlds smallest violin plays on

I’m generally supportive of U.S. pilots and their highly compensated jobs because it’s a “brass ring” job in this industry, but this is outlandishly greedy. 28% raise in rates so the members can make $700k instead of the $500k they’re already flourishing in?! Come on…

$500,000 a year isn’t what it used to be. Using the inflation calculator below that’s like $338,000 a year in the year 2000 dollars. How do you expect those pilots to tell the steersmen to stay in the middle of the river & watch out for other vessels for that little amount of money?

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That salary is incredible, I imagine it must be near impossible to get a job as a pilot, there must thousands of people who apply for every job that comes up…

It is a family affair on the Mississippi. They are ordained by genetics. And handsomely remunerated for it.


A bit of difference between state and federal pilots salaries and rules of their particular different requirements on the river. Federal pilots can only do Jones Act trade., A son, daughter, or relative cannot be in the group unless the said pilot relative retires. Federal pilots will not take on a trainee unless they have a measurable amount of time in the industry and the credentials to back it up.

It is what the NOBRA pilots make though…

Who gives a shit what they make. Hardest job they have is boarding and getting off. No easy task sometimes. Don’t know about now, but some of the companies paid your expenses to obtain federal pilotage and a stipend for each trip you used it in lieu of a pilot… It damn sure wasn’t pilot money, but it was an incentive if you knew the transit and were gonna be on the bridge anyway.

Obviously Crescent cares what NOBRA makes. Would you care if you and your neighbor did the exact same job and he made 30% more? It’s no secret that NOBRA has been screwing everybody else around there.

And federal pilotage is only for US ships, of which the state pilots handle very few.

Am very aware of the dynamics for the last 30 years, I could care less.

A certain Company paid out a good sum for someone getting the River all the way up to Baton Rouge. IIRC, the last guy that I heard of getting it (in the 90’s) got close around $80,000.

After getting the pilotage, they got paid a flat rate for each movement or section of pilotage. Using Tampa Bay, I believe the trip from Ybor Channel to the Sea Buoy was 3 or 4 sections, so they got paid for each and every section.

You are correct sir. A damn nice payday back then . Delaware River guy is killing it to this day. Good for him. As I said, I could give a giant dog crap what the pilots make. That is between them and the agencies that regulate that. We did what we could to help the bottom line of the company and… well us too. I was treated well in spite of all the challenges. The state guys in Lauderdale hated us for doing that. My guitar gently weeps.

From the article:

“To avoid confusion, members of the group address one another by their pilot numbers. “We use numbers to refer to each other because there are so many people who have the same last name,” Johnson said.”

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I like you Sand Pebble, but nothing new here.

Let’s not get emotional or make a scene or anything but I think you’re all right too SeaEagle. But I think it is safe to say there’s always something new to somebody? I read comments from younger people & newbies to the industry on this forum all the time. Everyone all over the planet can’t be aware of the blatant corruption & backwardness of the NOBRA & Crescent river pilot associations. I’ve known about it since the mid-90’s when I started in the industry on pushboat but I never heard that line from the article where a pilot defends the nepotism by saying they all need to be related or close to one another to be honest about river conditions on the radio. That’s new to me. Have you heard that one before?

one of the regulars here i think recommended a book written by a pilot … down in san fran or somewhere near there. a good enjoyable and educational book, i’m keeping it in my library.
yup, they have to do a lot to stay current and have a heck of a responsibility all right but so does a CE !! I think what is evident here is the union leadership… it must be doing all the right krap!! AND working overtime !!!

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No, have never heard that one. That’s a doozy.

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Crossing the Bar - Paul Lobo. Wasn’t me who posted it before as my impression was meh, not much of a recommendation.


The problem with this ridiculous pay increase request, in addition to increasing number of Crescent Pilots from 122 to 150, is that ship traffic into the Miss River was down 8% from 2018 to 2019 and is down another 6% from 2019 to 2020YTD. So they are moving less ships, so need more pilots and more pay? With their week on/week off work schedule, 2 weeks vacation & sick pay, the avg Crescent pilot moved 138 ships in 2019 and will probably move only 130 ships in 2020, less than one ship per day on duty. And they can only be on duty for 6 hours at a time, due to the “stresses” of their job :roll_eyes:

And being strictly an advisor, when they hit a dock, run aground or cause a collision, they just walk off the bridge and head home. Its the Masters fault, No liability or responsibility and the USCG is basically powerless (and scared to death to take on a Pilot) to do anything about it, as once they get their State Commission, its pretty much like a Federal Judgeship, a job for life.

And the only way anything will change is if the LA legislature & Governor get involved, but they are basically owned by the Pilots PAC’s, so doubt that will ever happen.

Hopefully, industry/public opinion will shame them into taking less of a pay increase and reducing the increase in number of pilots.


jdcavo; you’re right, that’s the book. I read a lot. For recommendations i have a regular ‘library’, but i think I’ve only read two books written by people who were/are actually pilots. they are very rare … this is why i mention it.
Perhaps reading more British Authors will make such books easier to digest !!

Yeah, because the big scandal we should focus on right now is working mariners making too much money.