IMPA on Pilotage

(4 reviews)
Number of Pages:
Book Height:
305 mm
Book Width:
218 mm
1.3 kg
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This publication brings together the experience and expertise of over 30 pilots and other industry experts, offering insight into the role of the marine pilot. It covers navigation in different locations, such as canals and rivers as well as deep sea and Coastal waters. Operational considerations, such as the capabilities and limitations of main tug types, are also given.

This publication begins with a brief history of pilotage and pilot liability. It then provides detail on practical aspects of pilotage, such as the Master/Pilot exchange, pilot transfer, ship handling, fatigue management and training and certification. Legal considerations, such as civil liability and exemptions, highlight pilot responsibility for ship damages. Photographs, AIS screenshots and illustrations support the more practical sections on conducting pilotage.

Within this book you will find articles that look forward to the harnessing and use of technology for ever larger and more complex ship types and tasks. This is as it should be, for the maritime industry is progressive. However, pilots must continue to employ traditional skills, keeping mindful of the need to look out of the bridge window while adding the use of marine technologies to their skill set.

The publication contains a large number of articles from pilots all over the world. This is reflected by American articles being written in American English and other articles, in UK English.

1. Legal and Statutory

1.1 International Maritime Organization (IMO)

1.2 National Instruments

1.3 Liability and Criminalisation

1.4 Immunity and Exemptions

2. Conducting Pilotage

2.1 Planning – Pilot’s Passage Plan

2.2 Master/Pilot Exchange (MPX)

2.3 Communications and SMNV

2.4 Underkeel Clearance (UKC)

2.5 Winter Pilotage

2.6a Canal Pilotage – Panama Canal

2.6b Canal Pilotage – Kiel Canal

2.7 River Pilotage

2.8 Deep Sea Pilotage

2.9 Straits Pilotage

3. Ship Handling

3.1 Propulsion, Steering and Power

3.2 Ship Blackouts, Shaft Generators and Controllable Pitch Propellers

3.3 Navigation Technology and Equipment

3.4 High Sided Vessels

3.5 Azimuthing Control Devices

3.6 Squat

3.7 Interaction

3.8 Tug Use

3.9 Sailing Vessels

3.10 Handling Unusual Vessels

3.11 Warships
3.12 Fast Craft

4. Requirements, Training and Certification

4.1 Overview

4.2a Entry Routes to the Profession – France

4.2b Entry Routes to the Profession – USA

4.3 Continuous Professional Development

4.4 Mentoring Training

4.5 Use of Simulators

4.6 Scaled Manned Models

4.7 Bridge Resource Management for Pilots

5. Human Element – Fatigue

5.1 Fatigue Management

6. Transfers

6.1 Ladder Safety

6.2a Pilot Boat Evolution

6.2b Pilot Vessel Types

6.3 Helicopter Use

7 IMPA Strategy


IMPA, The International Maritime Pilots’ Association, is a professional, nonprofitmaking body with a truly international outlook. It is primarily concerned with promoting professional standards of pilotage worldwide in the interests of pilots’ safety. It seeks to fulfil this momentous task by encouraging both consultation between its members and the exchange of technical information with other industry partners and regulators at the local, national and international levels.

The association was formed thanks to the initiative of pilots’ associations from the five continents whose representatives met in Kiel, Germany in June 1970.IMPA was officially launched in Amsterdam in May 1971.

To date, it has over 8,000 members in 54 countries. IMPA seeks to achieve its principal objective – the promotion of professionally sound and safe pilotage.

Number of Pages:
Published Date:
May 2014
Binding Format:
Book Height:
305 mm
Book Width:
218 mm
1.3 kg

International Maritime Pilots Association


  • 5
    Pilotage Issues Addressed

    Posted by Tanker Operator on 30th Apr 2021

    The International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) has put together a guide for pilots, Masters and Seafarers.* Pilots sometime come under fire when casualty reports are analysed. Incidents of Collisions, groundings, etc, are still being recorded worldwide, despite the presence of a pilot on board in some cases. Over 30 pilots and industry experts contributed to the guide, which commences with a brief history of marine pilotage, followed by an overview of the legislation governing pilotage and more importantly, pilot liability. The practical aspects of pilotage are examined in detail, including Master/pilot exchange, pilot transfer, shiphandling, vessel characteristics and interaction, fatigue management and training and certification. In the legal and statutory section, IMO and national instruments, liability and criminalisation, pilot immunity and exemptions are discussed. The section on conducting pilotage contains a pilot’s passage plan, Master pilot exchange, communications and underkeel clearance, including ship squat. This section also looks at pilotage in different locations, such as canals (Panama and Kiel), straits, rivers and deepsea, plus the problems that can be encountered during severe winter periods, such as found on the St Lawrence River. Shiphandling merits its own section in the book, covering various aspects including propulsion, steerage and power, vessel blackouts, shaft generators, CP propellers navigational technology and equipment, high sided vessels, azimuthing controlling devices, tug use and the handling of speciality vessels. Perhaps of equal importance is the section on requirements, training and certification. This starts with an overview, followed by requirements needed in France and the US, continuing professional development, mentoring training, simulator training, scaled manned model training and bridge resource management for pilots, which training academies have said is of increasing importance. Fatigue is covered as pilots can sometimes be expected to work for long hours, as is the question of pilot transfer systems, including ladders, pilot boats, pilot vessels and helicopters. In the Appendix, IMPA gives its stance on pilotage competition and this section also includes a guide for members on the use of ECDIS, plus IMPA’s position statement of the IMO’s E-navigation strategy. Finally, IMPA’s guidelines on the design and use of portable pilot units are outlined. By and large each section and its relevant chapters are written by different IMPA members who have particular expertise in the subject being covered, although there is a certain amount of overlap. *IMPA on Pilotage is published by Witherby Publishing Group, price £75, pp 256, 4-colour diagrams, ISBN: 978-1-85609-635-5.

  • 5
    Everything you ever needed to know about marine pilots and pilotage

    Posted by Telegraph - Nautilus Institute, August 2014 on 30th Apr 2021

    Accident investigation reports frequently underline the importance of the relationship between pilots and the crews of the ships they assist. But when there is often just a matter of minutes in which to establish that relationship, it can be a huge challenge. The result of contributions from more than 30 pilots and industry experts around the world, this new book should certainly help in bridging the gap by raising awareness and understanding of the work undertaken by pilots and the diverse demands they face – from boarding a ship to handling the vast variety of different vessels visiting their ports. Compiled by the International Maritime Pilots’ Association, it describes the long history of pilotage – dating back some 4,000 years – and explains the national and international regulatory regimes governing pilotage services, as well as the issues of liability, immunity and criminalisation The book covers different types of pilotage - including deepsea, canals, rivers and winter services – and looks at challenges such as blackouts, squat and interaction. For those considering a career shift, there is a lot of useful information on training and certification requirements. The 256 pages are well illustrated with good colour photos and diagrams, and there is a wealth of handy references from anyone wanting to find out more about certain issues. Despite the multiple authors, the book hangs together well and it provides a clear and coherent insight into the vital work varied out by pilots and it deserves a wide readership.

  • 5
    Pilot on Board

    Posted by IHS Maritime Fairplay - August 2014 on 30th Apr 2021

    Once comfortable, the brief expert comment from the International Maritime Pilots’ Association begins: “The pilot may have to tactfully articulate to the master that he is ready, in all aspects, to conn the vessel. The key is respecting the master’s unique experience and making an effort to nurture the relationship between pilot and master.” IMPA on Pilotage is an unusual book in that, although its subject is specific, it covers so much that would benefit a much wider readership. Understanding the role of the marine pilot is a good way for non-seagoing readers to come face to face with the key issues affecting officers on the bridge and controlling the engine room. By way of contributed articles from pilots in ports, rivers, and canals of all continents, this book discusses the particular challenges of pilotage in congested waters, in the high Arctic, and aboard sailing vessels, fast craft, and warships. But this isn’t really about pilotage, it’s about safety – and the sound of safety is silence, as countless ships are brought safely and without fuss to and from ports. Given that, it is perhaps ironic that the most dangerous part of the job is getting to work. No procedure on gaining access to a ship has been successfully devised other than the traditional pilot ladder or helicopter. Climbing the ladder is tolerable in calm seas and a light wind, but it becomes an intolerably high-risk operation when complicated by weather, the condition of the ladder itself, and unsafe rigging of the ladder. Pilots continue to be killed or injured as a result of accidents embarking or disembarking from ships. So it is a challenging comment that ship’s masters and ship owners/operators should acknowledge and support the assertion that at times the level of risk is unacceptable, and pilots should not attempt to embark or disembark. That decision has commercial consequences, but an incident involving a pilot ladder can lead to risk for the ship, port access, port infrastructure, and other ships in the vicinity. This book begins by establishing legal and statutory requirements and unpacks the role of the pilot, before focusing on handling varied ships and situations, there is a useful section on training, certification and, crucially for high-risk operation expected to be constant readiness, fatigue management. Its strength is in its balanced tone, stating the dangers of poor practice without exaggeration, yet making the necessary point that the safety of the venture lies in co-ordinating the skills and expertise of a pilot with those of the master and his bridge team, working with the resources available to him both on board and ashore. Alongside the comment quoted above, another acts as a testimony of the work of the pilot: “One very pleasing aspect is the high number of masters who request the services of the same pilot on subsequent voyages, this is the best indication possible of a job well done.”

  • 5
    The Experts Guide to Pilotage

    Posted by Lloyd's List on 30th Apr 2021

    Lloyd’s List Review Saturday 28 June 2014, 11:00 By Michael Grey The experts’ guide to pilotage. The Bosporous Strait, Panama Canal and other waters make different demands on pilots. Veterans offer valuable insights and guidance on a profession that faces many hazards. ONE of the problems of 21st century maritime life has been the attempt to reduce virtually every operational function to a set of procedures. It is a characteristic of our risk-averse society, which cannot tolerate the thought that there might be certain things done on board ship that might rely more upon immeasurable phenomena such as seamanship or judgement. Procedures and regulations are regarded as essential for the subsequent inquiry and trial, should matters go wrong in the wild, dynamic environment afloat, when, with the perfect judgement of hindsight, those responsible can be suitably judged. One area that tends to defy all attempts to boil it down to a set of standard procedures is the handling of ships in confined pilotage waters. Sure, there are now earnest requirements about berth-to-berth passage planning, and the suitable information exchange between master and pilot when the latter boards. There is all manner of guidance about the bridge team — and how often is this a lone exhausted and preoccupied shipmaster? — not mentally switching off with a pilot on board and doing useful things such as parallel indexing around the bends and constantly checking what is going on. Pilotage, says Geoff Taylor in his foreword to the International Maritime Pilots’ Association new book IMPA on Pilotage, is about “highly skilled individuals using their judgement, experience and good seamanship to bring vessels through the dangers that can be found in pilotage waters”. Capt Taylor is a former IMPA president and was a Tees pilot for more than 30 years. He knows what he is writing about. I have watched him at work. But how can the business of pilotage, which is different in every port in the world, on account of its geography, topography, hydrography, meteorology and doubtless several other ologies that have so far eluded me, be confined between the hardbacked covers of a single volume? You can’t learn to be a pilot from a book, can you? Of course, pilots do learn on the job, assisted these days by wonderful training aids such as manned models and simulators. However, there is a great deal that they do need to know that is specific to their specialist calling and this excellent volume will fill many of the gaps that might otherwise require some hard searching elsewhere. Experts’ chapters It is a book that acknowledges the spectrum of differences between pilotage operations, calling on a large number of practical experts from around the world to write chapters and sections appropriate to their skills. Thus the singular business of pilotage in straits is described by two experts from the Bosphorous Strait, a Panama Canal pilot writes on this unique waterway, where responsibility for safe navigation is taken by the pilot,and two London pilots and trainers cover simulator training. The information throughout the book comes, as it were, from the horse’s mouth. It is not secondhand wisdom. The book begins, perhaps appropriately in this litigious age, with legal and statutory matters, placing pilotage within the context of the International Maritime Organization, national instruments, where the pilots stand in their somewhat exposed position on issues of criminalisation and liability, and what immunity and exemptions might offer them some relief. You hear a great deal of tripe about casualties in pilotage waters, chiefly from people who have never been on a ship’s bridge in any operational role, who make idiotic statements about “most accidents occurring with a pilot on board”. This fails to acknowledge the huge numbers of casualties there would be without the intervention of this specialist during a transit through the riskiest part of a voyage. It tends to be the same people who think competition between pilots would improve matters and that Pilotage Exemption Certificates should be offered to the ship’s cook. But I digress. There are extensive chapters on the conduct of pilotage, from the routine to the special circumstances of winter pilotage, deepsea operations, canals and straits. There is a comprehensive section on ship handling, taking in propulsion, steering and power and emergencies such as blackouts, handling high-sided vessels, the use of azimuthing control devices and phenomena such as squat and interaction. There is good advice on the use of tugs, handling warships, sailing vessels and fast craft. Would-be pilots will be interested in the section on requirements, training and certification, with various routes into the profession and the importance of continuous professional development, mentoring and simulators. Bridge-resource management for pilots is described, showing how important it is that the pilot is integrated into the ship’s team at this important part of the voyage. Fatigue and its management are given a special section, important in what is a stressful, round-the-clock profession. There is an important section on the business of pilot transfer and ladder safety, which has been an issue over all my working life. Pilots are still killed and injured in what remains a hazardous evolution, particularly in open roadsteads or marginal weather conditions. The book goes on to describe the use of pilot boats and helicopters. The final section of the book provides IMPA policies,with the organisation’s views on competition, the use of electronic charts, E-navigation and guidelines on design and use of portable pilot units, covered in separate appendices. The book recognises the pilot’s role in a fast-changing world in which, as Geoff Taylor notes, the pilot must be “ever mindful of the need to look out of the bridge window while adopting and adapting marine technologies to their skill set”. IMPA on Pilotage is published by Witherby Publishing Group,, price £75 ($127.70).