The differences in pilotage tasks across our Australian ports from Chevi’s experiences with transhipment operations, to Jacqui’s and Kate’s experiences with different ship types in their relevant ports was also an interesting point, and one in which we could have explored far more. There wasn’t a pilot in the room that wasn’t nodding their head in acknowledgement with the challenges these pilots described, nor the joy all pilots share in the satisfaction of completing each act of pilotage. Jacqui’s experiences with the different levels of engagement during pilotage highlighted the increased risk of single point of failure of marine pilots, and look to extend principles of BRM to include Port Resource Management such as VTS, Tugs, Wharf Officers, the people who know the pilot, the port and the procedures.
The discussion highlighted the professional standards, training and development that is required to achieve and maintain competency as a marine pilot, and the different pathways that these marine pilots have taken to achieve their respective roles. As marine pilots know, marine piloting is not for everyone, when you work 24/7 shift patterns, and often unpredictable work hours for many days, weeks at a time, and trying to sleep in advance of your shift with a dynamic schedule that is often changing, making it difficult to ensure you are always adequately rested for the responsibility of piloting ships in confined waters in good weather, and bad. It also highlighted the work life balance that is important for many mariners when they transition from seagoing roles, or other roles where they have had extended periods of time away from home working long hours.
The value of mentoring in not just a trainee marine pilot’s development, but throughout a marine pilots career is important to one’s personal development. Connecting two people in a mentoring partnership, is not a one way street, there should be value for both people to learn from each other.