How To Become A Marine Pilot?

“The call of the sea” has been nagging the human mind for time immemorial. The urge of exploring the other end has enticed adventurous souls to the sea.

Men discovered continents, went to the extremes sailing on this eternal sea of this exploratory urge, guided by stars and the compass.

With time, navigation became more sophisticated and technology dependent.

While captains navigate their vessels throughout the globe using these technologies, most ports have their own set of marine officers who help as a guide or an advisor in the final phase of the journey which culminates in the berth, jetty or pier. These officers are known as ship pilots in marine terms.

The Career of a Marine Pilot

The career of marine pilot is a unique one of all the marine careers out there.

Now, a marine pilot’s career may not be as flamboyant as an airline pilot, but it is no less taxing.

Marine Pilot
Credits: danr13/

Quick reflexes, ability to take original and creative decisions, thorough knowledge of his functional domain (which includes the gadgets on the bridge, the nature of propeller and the underwater channel on which he will ply), proficiency in English and computers etc. are a must for becoming a successful pilot.

Mostly a marine pilot has no fixed schedule and is on call 24×7, after a stipulated period following each job. Thus when the society is resting he works or while others are partying outside he sleeps to be fit for the next assignment.

Well, it’s not to terrify the aspirant but is just to let him know the facts. A healthy pay package (mostly in the private sector) can compensate the strain. However, government jobs in this sector are bound by government pay scales and other allowances which vary from port to port.

Thus, it is difficult for a mariner to quit sea and join as a pilot in a public organization and incur financial loss. But if one wants to be in touch with his family, he opts for this job with some curtailment in pay.

Who Can Become of Marine Pilot?

Now, who is eligible for the job of a maritime pilot?

According to government rules any mariner holding the certificate of competency/ service as master of a foreign going vessel is eligible for this job.

First mates (Foreign going) / Dredge Mates Grade-I can also apply for this job. Both should have at least two years of experience to become eligible to apply.

But with time ports started facing difficulty in finding willing officers who would quit sea and join the port with a salary bound by government pay scale. Thus they started to recruit fresh pass or honours graduates in science (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) having first class or high second class in graduation. They are made to appear for a competitive written examination and selected through an interview, thereafter.

After the selection, a seasoned mariner is kept on for probation for at least one year. Subsequently, they are made to clear departmental examinations before given charge. Fresh graduates start as trainees and are later kept on probation.

The training period, however, varies from place to place. During the training they have to clear MOT second mates (limited) and other departmental examinations before given independent charge of vessels or VTMS systems.

Thus, the process is a bit long drawn for the new incumbent from the college but the salary is quite attractive- post training – when compared to his peers in general stream.

If one can take up the challenge, have a will to learn the nitty- gritty of the trade and show perseverance, he can always guide his career to success.

Do you have info to share with us ? Suggest a correction

Subscribe To Our Newsletters

By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy and may receive occasional deal communications; you can unsubscribe anytime.

Web Stories


  1. hello,
    i read your article and its very informative, i wanted to ask you that are RYA ( royal yachting association ) certificates accepted in india? i study in UK and i am doing my Ocean Yachtmasters here and wondering if that would work in india?
    i would be very thankful if you reply me.
    email :-
    thank you.
    surajpalsinh manek

  2. how do I find a school that offers marine piloting course in south Africa and are there any financial aids in that

  3. Sir,
    I need some information about pilotage training. Please need some guidance.
    Thank you.
    Bhaskarjya Saha

  4. sir what will be the overall feez for piloting in india and where is it located ….and how many years of cource required to become a marine pilot…please help me in this regard

  5. hello sir,
    i have done my pre sea training in year 2011.i didnt got any company yet. i am lokig for the deck cadet vaccancy.

  6. SIR
    I need some information about pilotage training. Please need some guidance.


  7. Sir iam a second mate in foriegn goin vessel . i need some information in Marine piloting can you please guide me with that

  8. Sir iam a second mate in foriegn going ship . need to know about pioliting .. Can you please guide me with that. Thank you

  9. I would like my son to become a marine pilot, suggest the best training options in India

  10. Sir,
    I´m second mate in foreign going vsl. How i can join for pilot training.I wanna know details for this job.

  11. how do I find a school that offers marine piloting course in south Africa and are there any financial aids in that

  12. i am a Master with 3000 gt coc , and i want to be come a marine pilot. and i need your advice.

  13. Respected sir, at present I am sailing as FG second officer, I want to know the full details of pilot job. I am living in Visakhapatnam.

  14. how do I find a school that offers marine piloting course in south Africa and are there any financial aids in that

  15. Respected sir
    I have second mate ticket from uk. Ten year second mate experienced.I want to pilot training.Singapore or india is possible for me.
    Please suggest me.
    My email alam

  16. sir…i am presently sailing as a 3 officer in an oil tanker (f.g.). i have around 10 months of sea time as 3 officer. ..can i become a pilot?…. please advice me on this….waiting eagerly for your reply….thanx…..saurabh bhattacharya

  17. Sir i am a second mate in foreign going ship. i want to become pilot, How and where i can join for pilot training need to know about pilot training.Can you please guide me with the detail and list of collage.

  18. I am a Master with unlimited Common Wealth COC,and I want to upgrade with Marine Pilot Course only in U S A, kindly advice me which Marine University Institute can I join.

  19. Hi ,
    I am a 1st mate F.G. ,licensce holder(Indian COC), kindly guide on how to become a pilot in indian ports ,
    what is the procedure. I have only sailed as second officer ,dont have any sailing experience as 1st mate.


  20. Dear Sir;
    I am a second mate in foreign going ship and 54 yrs old. i want to become trainee pilot in Singapore, How and where i can join for pilot training need to know about pilot training.Can you please guide me with the detail and list of collage in Singapore.

  21. I’m Shume Caroline from Kenya aged 17…I’m planning to pursue Marine Piloting since I finished Highshool in 2018 and got a B-. Could I know the best university offering this course in Kenya?…I’m determined to be the second female marine pilot????

  22. hi, am a plane pilot but would like to train as a marine pilot,kindly advice no is +254715906430
    rgds, cpt, anthony.

  23. Hi ,
    I am sailing as 1st mate F.G., with Master license (UK COC).
    Kindly guide on how to become Marine pilot in Indian ports.
    What are the institutes carrying out Pilot courses nd what are the procedures.

    Thank you

  24. Good day, I have my Master of Yachts 200 tons license and I was working as a mate on the yachts for 5 years, but now I want to persuade my career in Marine Pilotage , in living in the Netherlands where can I do my training and do I need to do MCA Appoved Training?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *