Pilot Boat Operator

Safely transport boat pilots from shore to ship.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$19,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Pilot Boat Operators do?

Pilot boats are specially made boats that can resist turbulent seas and tolerate bumping into larger vessels. They’re designed to carry Ship Pilots between land and the ships they’re piloting. A Pilot Boat Operator drives and maneuvers these boats.

Pilot Boat Operators face many formidable challenges. From your spot at the controls, while operating the boat, you look over the Pilot’s shoulder and move your boat alongside the ship, holding your position until the Pilot has stepped across to grab the rope ladder or handholds. Generally, you decide what course and speed the boat needs to maintain. And upon approaching the ship and during the disembarkation, you communicate a series of instructions to the ship’s bridge via radio.

To be a Pilot Boat Operator, you must be on constant alert because the situation can become dangerous quickly, as ships can turn a certain way depending on where a swell is running. When this happens and the ship moves out of the prime position, a transfer exchange may have to be temporarily aborted. The weather and the size of the boats relative to each other always have to be considered.

Needless to say, this is a challenging—but rewarding—occupation. If you enjoy being on the sea, can think independently, quickly, and have good problem-solving abilities, this is a career to look into.

Should I be a Pilot Boat Operator?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Boat Operator, Boat Person, Boomboat Operator, Charter Boat Operator, Crew Boat Operator, Pilot Boat Officer See More

    How to become a Pilot Boat Operator

    Most Pilot Boat Operators have a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:w9aaaa&chl=no+college+%2827%25%29|certificate+%2873%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,27,73
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