Master Pilot Exchange – Responsibilities and Elements of Effective Association


A Master knows his ship and the pilot knows his waters. Mutual knowledge exchange benefits both, reports Gard.

Master-Pilot relation

It is a given fact that invariably pilotage is compulsory and the majority of accidents occurring during berthing occur with a pilot on the bridge.

No berthing guide would be complete without reference to the master-pilot relationship.

Co-dependent association

The Master and pilot are dependant on each other for a safe and successful beginning or end of a voyage. They are both operating in a foreign environment.

The pilot is not familiar with the characteristics or limitations of the vessel, such as a problem with the anchor windlass or speed at various RPMs.

Similarly the Master and his bridge team are not experts on the harbour, river or anchorage and may not be aware that a buoy is out of position or familiar with local currents.

Mutual knowledge transfer

To ensure they have similar expectations of the passage ahead and with no surprises occurring, the pilot and Master must share all the information they have in a formal master-pilot exchange. The onus is on the vessel to achieve this harmonization.

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Source: Gard


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