U.S. Coast Guard fast-tracks new pilots to solve Steamship Authority staffing shortage

That’s why HyLine is better!

1 Like

We couldn’t carry cars tho :confused:

Neither can the Iyanough!

I don’t know why they need “pilots” though. HyLine never and them.

1 Like

I’ve seen pictures of the Viking carrying one car, but back before HyLine bought her.

That might be why.


Yea that was a good one. That was a while ago.

That guy was a “pilot”

The article is behind a pay wall.

Are they talking pilots as in1st class pilots or pilots as in the operator of the vessel?

HYANNIS – The United States Coast Guard will prioritize the testing and credentialing of pilots for the Steamship Authority after the ferry line had to cut back summer schedules because of a labor shortage, according to U.S. Rep. Bill Keating.

Keating called the Authority’s staff shortage a perfect storm. Five employees left because of medical issues and unexpected retirements in a short time creating a “unique situation,” he said.

Nine employees with the status of Able-Bodied Seamen have taken or been scheduled to take the test for a pilot’s license. One individual has sent in the required documentation needed before he can sit for the five-part test, according to Steamship Authority General Manager Robert Davis
The tests will be evaluated as soon as they are taken. If an individual passes all of the tests, the Coast Guard will send an email stating as such. That email will be proof that they can start working. Typically, testers must wait for evaluations to be done. Credentialing can normally take up to a month. "They will be immediately processed so they can begin as pilots,” Keating said.

Davis said all but one vessel’s schedule has returned to normal. The M/V Iyanough will run four roundtrips a day until July 10, but will offer five trips a day for the July 4 weekend with overtime, Davis said.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center had a notice posted on its website that delays were due to an increase in applications and technical issues with “credential production equipment.” The delay notice has since been taken down. The Times contacted the U. S. Coast Guard’s headquarters but has not heard back after an email was sent last week. Davis credited Keating and Capt. Prindle of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeast New England for helping to expedite the credentialing. Keating said the Coast Guard was experiencing staffing shortages itself.

“Just like every other area there is a workforce issue with the Coast Guard,” he said. “They are sensitive to things that have immediate priority." Two thirds of the Authority’s three million annual passengers travel during the summer, according to Davis. The Iyanough is a high-speed ferry capable of carrying up to 400 people from Hyannis to Nantucket in an hour. The M/V Governor can carry up to 42 vehicles and 256 people.

Davis urged travelers to check the Steamship Authority website for updates. Denise Coffey writes about business and tourism. Contact her at dcoffey@capecodonline.com. Follow her on Twitter: @DeniseCoffeyCCT.

Thanks to our subscribers, who help make this coverage possible. If you are not a subscriber, please consider supporting quality local journalism with a Cape Cod Times subscription. Here are our subscription plans.

I bet Hy-Line didn’t!


Congrats on the Steamship Authority for pulling a fast one over the USCG!!

How can a company claim there is a shortage and a cut cut sailings but at the same time not actively recruit for any deck officer/ pilot positions ??

The media should wake up and look at the job listings on their website and indeed and they should ask the company why they aren’t recruiting or hiring despite the shortage


Isn’t the problem with the requirement to have qualified pilots from a licensing standpoint? The article said they had 10 people awaiting licensing from the USCG, not that they were short bodies.

1 Like

Could it be the massive NMC evaluation/issuing delays are a contributing factor? 2-4month endeavor for what used take a mere few hours in the past…

  1. go to REC with, 2) REC looks at seatime/other requirements 3)REC says "looks good, sit over there and take your exams 4)REC hands mariner new license on way out the door a few hours after step 1.

Yeah, I think you missed the point of what I said.

I didn’t know it was the business of some companies to just cut sailing because they had guys waiting for pilotage rather than hire a couple that did. Or even hire a couple guys temporarily. Again finding them might be hard but not even trying … I mean come on. Or was it that they knew they’d have to pay the outside hired guys a lot more !?

You know a lot of guys walking around with documented pilotage on their license for Nantucket and Hyannis?

Didn’t say I did. But that’s not the point. Yes it might be very hard to find someone with that pilotage but there’s no excuse for not trying. It’s not that hard to throw up an opening on the website. Instead they are more willing to cancel sailings and ask for special treatment from the coast guard. I mean they must’ve done the math and it makes sense for them to do this rather than hire outside and potentially keep sailing. But publicly they are acting like it’s the coast guards fault and there is a shortage of people but you really do not know until you attempt to hire people. You can’t say there’s no one / a shortage when you don’t even bother to look outside your company!

They had 10 guys waiting on licensing right? If I don’t get my license on time to move up to chief mate is that my fault or the company’s? I’ll be happy to blame the company from now on but I don’t think I’ll get very far with that.