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Role of a pilot

Would you like to pilot some of the biggest ships in the world along one of the world’s most famous rivers?

We need motivated, ambitious trainees to join our 100-strong team of sea and river pilots, who guide vessels along 95 miles of waterway, from central London all the way out to the North Sea.

It’s a challenging role that requires rigour, determination and commitment. During your training, we will provide ongoing professional support, as you acquire the skills needed to become a Port of London pilot.

Throughout this process, your health, safety and wellbeing are paramount, along with that of your colleagues and all river users.

You’ll be responsible for ensuring that vessels from all over the world are navigated safely to, and from, their berths. At the PLA, we put high levels of customer service as a priority.

Key Attributes

You must:

  • Be eligible to work in the UK.
  • Have an unrestricted ENG1 medical certificate. You also need a full current driving licence and a Masters Unlimited Certificate of Competency, or at least have achieved this at the time of training commencement.
  • Have evidence of Notice of Eligibility, if scheduled to take Masters examinations.
  • Have good spatial awareness.
  • Be decisive and able to act confidently.
  • Have experience as a pilot or have held a command position, or Chief Officer’s appointment
  • Be an excellent communicator and fluent in English (when using VHF radio), 
  • Be a team player with good IT skills.

Desirable skills

  • Experience of tug operations (berthing and unberthing).
  • Experience of working aboard a variety of commercial  vessels.
  • Knowledge of Port Marine Safety Code

Key accountabilities

  • Providing clear navigational advice and information on regulatory requirements to vessel masters, For example, on health and safety and environmental matters.
  • Supporting masters in their communication with personnel and other vessels.
  • Performing bridge management duties.
  • Recording and submitting passage plans.
  • Preparing and submitting incident/accident reports.
  • Providing appropriate assistance in the event of an emergency.
  • Providing professional advice to personnel on navigational issues.
  • Liaising with Vessel Traffic Services (VTS).
  • Coordinating tug activity, as and when required.
  • Complying with relevant codes of practice (navigational and industrial).
  • Providing training and advice to other pilots, including trainees and Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC) applicants.
  • Providing excellent customer service (internal and external).
  • Statutory reporting of shipboard deficiencies in operations, navigation, health and welfare of crew, unsafe navigational practice of other vessels, navigational hazards and obstructions.

For further information please click here.