Summary Report for:
53-5021.03 - Pilots, Ship
Command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, straits, or sounds, or on rivers, lakes, or bays. Must be licensed by U.S. Coast Guard with limitations indicating class and tonnage of vessels for which license is valid and route and waters that may be piloted.
Sample of reported job titles: Boat Pilot, Docking Pilot, Harbor Pilot, Marine Pilot, Pilot, Relief Docking Master, River Pilot, Ship Pilot, State Pilot, Towboat Pilot
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Direct courses and speeds of ships, based on specialized knowledge of local winds, weather, water depths, tides, currents, and hazards.
- Steer ships into or out of berths or signal tugboat captains to berth or unberth ships.
- Set ships' courses that avoid reefs, outlying shoals, or other hazards, using navigational aids, such as lighthouses or buoys.
- Prevent ships under their navigational control from engaging in unsafe operations.
- Serve as a vessel's docking master upon arrival at a port or when at a berth.
- Consult maps, charts, weather reports, or navigation equipment to determine and direct ship movements.
- Give directions to crew members who are steering ships.
- Operate ship-to-shore radios to exchange information needed for ship operations.
- Provide assistance to vessels approaching or leaving seacoasts, navigating harbors, or docking and undocking.
- Report to appropriate authorities any violations of federal or state pilotage laws.
- Provide assistance in maritime rescue operations.
- Advise ships' masters on harbor rules and customs procedures.
- Learn to operate new technology systems and procedures, through the use of instruction, simulators, or models.
- Maintain ship logs.
- Relieve crew members on tugs or launches.
- Maintain or repair boats or equipment.
- Oversee cargo storage on or below decks.
- Make nautical maps.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Anemometers — Wind gauges
- Binoculars — Surveillance binoculars
- Cargo or container ships — Bulk carriers; Container ships
- Cinch rescue loops — Rescue slings
- Cruise ships
- Depth gauges — Echo sounders
- Desktop computers
- Direction finding compasses — Navigational compasses
- Insulated clothing for cold environments — Thermal protective aids TPA
- Insulated or flotation suits — Immersion suits
- Ladders — Pilot ladders
- Life vests or preservers — Life jackets
- Manlift or personnel lift — Mechanical pilot hoists
- Marine craft communications systems — Ship-to-shore radios; Very high frequency VHF radiotelephone systems
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Passenger or automobile ferries — Ferries
- Personal computers
- Radarbased surveillance systems — Shipboard radar
- Safety harnesses or belts — Safety harnesses
- Tankers — Chemical tankers; Oil tanker ships
- Tug boats — Tugboats
- Two way radios
- Vehicle navigation systems — Dynamic positioning DP systems; Electronic chart display and information systems ECDIS; Integrated bridge systems; Voyage management systems VMS (see all 5 examples)
- Vehicular global positioning system GPS — Differential global positioning satellite DGPS positioning systems; Global positioning systems GPS
Technology used in this occupation:
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Glare Sensitivity — The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Peripheral Vision — The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Night Vision — The ability to see under low light conditions.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Detailed Work Activities
- Choose optimal transportation routes or speeds.
- Operate ships or other watercraft.
- Direct passenger or freight transport activities.
- Read maps to determine routes.
- Operate communications equipment or systems.
- Communicate with others to coordinate vehicle movement.
- Notify others of emergencies, problems, or hazards.
- Assist others during emergencies.
- Record operational details of travel.
- Explain regulations, policies, or procedures.
- Maintain watercraft engines or machinery.
- Maintain professional knowledge or certifications.
- Monitor cargo area conditions.
- Frequency of Decision Making — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 95% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 92% responded “Very important results.”
- Telephone — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 16% responded “Some freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 77% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 64% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 85% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Electronic Mail — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 67% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 76% responded “Every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 49% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 64% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Exposed to High Places — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 26% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
- Consequence of Error — 76% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 66% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Time Pressure — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 62% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Spend Time Standing — 40% responded “About half the time.”
- Level of Competition — 41% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 33% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 35% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 33% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Deal With External Customers — 30% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 40% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Exposed to Whole Body Vibration
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, nannies, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Interest code: RCI
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels.
Employment data collected from Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels.
Industry data collected from Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels.
|Median wages (2015)||$36.91 hourly, $76,780 annual|
|Employment (2014)||35,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Faster than average (9% to 13%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||17,200|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Water transportation workers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.