A journey back in time: films of pilotage from 1940 to 1975 (USA, UK and Germany)

by Frank Diegel, CEO Marine-Pilots.com - published

A journey back in time: films of pilotage from 1940 to 1975 (USA, UK and Germany)
photo by "British Pathé"

Let us start a journey back in time.
Back to the black and white films of history. The times have changed, but it is good to know what kind of things have changed and where are the roots of pilotage. You can better understand what kind of improvements was brought to your job by technology and the changing of many circumstances around piloting. You could not find a computer there. No exact weather and tide forecast. Pure seamanship. Enjoy our special list of videos.

Links of more films are welcome: info@marine-pilots.com


"PILOT AHOY! A PATHETONE SPECIAL - New York"
We are starting our journey in New York (USA) in 1940:
Good aerial views of dozens of merchant ships entering New York's harbour. Various shots of life aboard a New York pilot cutter. The pilot is rowed out to a merchant ship, goes aboard and then is picked up again. Apprentice pilots on board a training ship scrub the decks, lower a rowing boat over the side and study charts with a senior pilot to become familiar with the harbour.

A pilot boards a luxury liner. Good shots of the New York skyline as the pilot issues instructions to take the liner out of the harbour. He is collected by a launch. General view of a pilot ship on the water.

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River Thames Pilot (1960-1969) - no sound
Various shots following a river pilot. He is seen disembarking from one boat and climbing up a rope ladder onto a large ship.
Various shots of another river pilot, dressed in a cap, woollen jumper and sea faring jacket. He is seen at the wheel of his boat.

Various shots of two river police pilots on the River Thames in London. They are filmed in the cab and on the deck of their boat. They pull up alongside some riverboat houses and talk to a woman who owns one of the them. Back in their boat, there are now three river pilots making their journey along the Thames. CU. A river police union Jack flag at the back of the boat. VS. The boat drives alongside Victoria Wharf and London dock lands. VS. An RAF helicopter hovers alongside the police boat before flying off into the distance. CU. Another helicopter flying away.

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PLA Thames Pilots at Work
Footage showing the ARCADIA leaving Tilbury Landing Stage and PLA pilot boarding sugar ship bound for Thames Refinery.
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Helicopter Transport Elbe River-Pilot (1961) - no sound
Hamburg, West Germany (FDR - Federal Republic of Germany).
German helicopters are used to carry river boat pilots to where they are needed.

Big CU Helicopter pilot talking into mouthpiece. Aerial view from helicopter of boat below. MS as the helicopter comes in and lands on deck of the ship. Various shots as pilot is picked up from lightship and flown off in helicopter. LS From bridge of ship as helicopter flies overhead. CU Small bird sitting on capstan.

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Trinity House Pilot Cutter (1953) - Southampton, Hampshire
Various shots of Trinity House pilot cutter "Penda". M/S pilot's bridge. M/S as Second Officer Harry Goddard leaves the bridge and walks along the deck to his cabin. He takes his cap off, sits down at a table and looks at an album. C/U of his collection of matchbox labels. M/S Goddard sticking in more labels. C/U's Goddard and album. Various shots as he sticks in the labels. M/S of Pilot Knight and Captain Jolliff seated at desk. A waiter enters their cabin and hands them both a cup of tea. C/U officer's hand marking chart. M/S of the two men playing bridge. C/U's of their faces. C/U captain holding cards.

M/S wireless room. The operator hands message to deck hand. M/S as he walks along and delivers the message to Captain Knight. M/S as he opens the letter. He hands message to Jolliff who gets up from the table and puts on his hat and coat. C/U Jolliff speaking to Knight. M/S as Knight leaves the cabin and walks along deck. He goes down rope and onto motor launch waiting for him. Captain Jolliff watches as he leaves. M/S of him on boat heading towards liner "Llangibby Castle". M/S's as he boards the vessel and greets crew. M/S as white and red pilot's flag is run up. M/S as Knight greets captain Whatley and go onto the bridge. Various shots as Knight guides the ship under the command of Whatley. M/S as they consult the map.

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Video Look at Life - Pilot Aboard 1963

Look at Life Vol 01 Transport Pilot Aboard 1963

The story of Britain's pilotage services.

Video The Maryland Pilots between 1950-1965 (a journey through time)

Found on YouTube. Posted by WickleinGroup

The Maryland Pilots have guided ships to and from Baltimore since the 1700's. They have been chartered as an organization since 1852. This is an edited except from films about the Pilots shot between 1950-1965 for the Port that Built a City and State. The original films are in the archives of the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Video History: River Pilot (1970-1975). River Thames, London.

Found on YouTube, Created by "British Pathé"

Unissued / Unused material -

River Thames, London.

Various shots of a River Pilot on boat on the River Thames. The pilots are organising a group of tugs moving along the river. They are turning an large ship around in a wide part of the river. Shots of the pilot as he comes on board the ship 'Sugar Produce'. Over shoulder shots of River Pilot on boat coming towards large ship. He climbs up ladder onto ship.
FILM ID:3298.03

A VIDEO FROM BRITISH PATHÉ. EXPLORE OUR ONLINE CHANNEL, BRITISH PATHÉ TV. IT'S FULL OF GREAT DOCUMENTARIES, FASCINATING INTERVIEWS, AND CLASSIC MOVIES. http://www.britishpathe.tv/

Video River Pilot. Unmooring & mooring vessel operation. Safe approaching terminal.

Shifting a vessel from one harbor to other. Easy and safe maneuver. Turn area D=150m. Mooring area 110m.

Video Time Lapse: Pilotage of an inbound LNG Carrier, Port of Rotterdam

Time Lapse Video: An inbound LNG carrier arrives at the Port of Rotterdam. At sea, in the Eurogeul channel, two maritime pilots have joined the vessel. Between the breakwaters four harbour tugs (Smit Harbour Towage) make fast to assist her manoeuvre. In the Beerkanaal channel the LNG carrier is stopped and swung before entering the Nijlhaven harbour. While approaching LNG Jetty 1 the ship's mooring lines are taken ashore by mooringboats (Koninklijke Roeiers Vereeniging Eendracht).
Pilot Robert Blonk.

Video A day in the life of the Briggs Marine Pilot Launch Vessels

Briggs Marine invited High Impact Media (https://media.hi-impact.co.uk/) to spend a few hours on one of our Pilot Launch Vessels to help us demonstrate the day to day efforts of our crew in Liverpool.

Video Marine Pilot at work in the port of Hamburg

How do marine pilots work?

Example: Bringing a bulkcarrier alongside to „Hansaport“ in Hamburg.
Here the tugboats „Prompt“, „Resolute“ and „Bulldog“ are involved.
The master has to rely on the pilot. One reason is, that he can‘t know how to deal with these tugs.

A maneuver like this is only safe, when the pilot has a lot of practical experience. A master who is doing a maneuver like this only about once or twice a month and each time with tugs he doesn’t know in areas he hasn’t been to often before will be happy to have a pilot to rely on.

A pilot is happy with a master having confidence in him.
Anyway the master keeps his overriding authority at any time.
Does the master have to ask every 30 seconds „What are the tugs doing“? Should he be able to see it himself? Does the pilot have to explain every 30 seconds what the tugs are going to do or what he will do next?

Well, the pilot and the master should talk about the maneuver and expected challenges before it becomes difficult. During a time of high concentration the maneuver should not be interrupted by unnecessary explanation. Anyway, when the master feels unsafe, he will raise his voice at any time he wants to.
In this case the Master and pilot felt comfortable!

In times of corona we have to keep a social distance even to the master, so he couldn't stand directly next to me.

Video The Maritime Professional during Covid19 - Meet Ivana-Maria Carrioni-Burnett

In this episode we have a chance to meet Ivana-Maria Carrioni-Burnett, a Marine Pilot from the UK who works on the River Thames.

Ivana highlights the concerns and fear that can be felt by those working in the maritime industry during COVID19. On the vessel, the seafarers are in their own isolation, or 'families' and then the pilot and other port personnel come onboard and they may be asymptomatic. For the port personnel, they aren't sure if the crew might be infected. Then there are the families - for the seafarers, they are often far from their families and are not sure when they may have a chance to see them again. For the pilots and port personnel, they need to go home to their families and may be concerned that they could be bringing COVID into the household. Through it all there is a need to keep healthy and happy.

Ivana's Top Tips include so many more than I was able to keep in the video, but the key is really community and communication.

- communicate and be kind to each other
- share your culture and faith, take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about each other
- exercise, even if you don't have a gym onboard, you can make weights with water, heft tins - just be careful not to drop on the deckhead! (maybe there's an old piece of carpet lying around?)
- quiz nights, taking turns setting up the quizzes, or sharing quizzes between ships
- setting up an onboard library with books and music

What are your top tips for keeping healthy and happy onboard?

Article ARMSTRONG MARINE COMPLETES NAIAD PILOT BOAT BOUND FOR MEXICO

by Armstrong Marine USA Inc. - published

Armstrong Marine USA recently delivered Piloto VIII to support marine pilotage operations in and around the Port of Manzanillo, Mexico.

Video Those Who Serve: Columbia River bar pilots risk their lives to guide cargo ships

Found on YouTube. Created by KGW News. (08/02/2019)

Columbia River Bar Pilots risk their lives every day and night to keep cargo ships moving across the dangerous Columbia River Bar. They work in any weather and help protect the environment by making sure the big ships do not crash on their way in or out of the river.

Story: on.kgw.com/2OHTBMH
Subscribe: https://on.kgw.com/2qjvmFg
Find KGW News online: https://www.kgw.com/