[Watch] How Freight And Cruise Ships Manoeuvre Across Tampa Bay


Have you ever taken a boat out in Tampa Bay, looked down, and seen the sand bed at the bottom?

If you didn’t know, the bay is relatively shallow, with an average depth of 11 feet.

It’s not an easy process, and it requires skills that take years to learn and master.

Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest open-water estuary and Port Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest port.

That means every day, cargo and cruise ships bring billions of dollars in economic impact.


The Tampa Bay shipping channel runs from the gulf all the way to the port, making it a lifeline.

These channels must constantly be maintained and it can be very difficult.

According to Bay Soundings, the bottom of the channel collects enough debris, like sand and silt, to fill Raymond James Stadium to the top 10 times every single year.

So, it seems like a pretty simple process.

If you thought your job was hard, wait until you hear about these pilots.

When those large ships make their way into Tampa Bay, a pilot will meet them and climb aboard the ship using a good old-fashioned rope ladder.

Navigation technology

With advanced navigation technology, shouldn’t they be able to manoeuvre the ship themselves?

Well, nothing beats decades of knowledge about Tampa Bay and that’s one of the reasons why maritime pilots are so important.

According to the Tampa Bay Pilots Association, the typical state pilot attends a maritime academy.

Upon graduation, they will receive a bachelor’s degree and a U.S. Coast Guard license.

Then, they will leave their family to work on ocean-going vessels for 10 to 12 years, working their way up.

Potential pilots have to undergo a competitive exam.


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Source: WTSP


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