Corporation des Pilotes
du Fleuve et de la Voie Maritime
du Saint-Laurent
 
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The pilot
« Home
 
1- The Cornwall District
2- The pilot's profile
3- How to become a pilot

The safety of navigation within the Seaway is a must for all levels of government, whose mandate is to protect the environment, their economy, but most importantly its citizens. The rate of incident-free assignments by pilots in the Seaway stands at 99.9%.

This is why Canada, in accordance with the Pilotage Act, entrusts the navigation of commercial ships inside their territorial waters to marine pilots specially trained to guide ships of any nationality along their waterways.

The pilots of the Corporation des Pilotes du Fleuve et de la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent are all experienced mariners, having worked many years as ship's captain or chief officer, on the Great Lakes, Gulf of
St. Lawrence or overseas. The experience and knowledge gained by these pilots, combined with a specialized training program, prepare them to face the many challenges of piloting in these local waters.
 
1- The Cornwall District

All vessels that are subject to compulsory pilotage, in accordance with the Pilotage Act, and who transit the St. Lawrence Seaway must pass St. Lambert Lock, where a pilot from the Corporation des Pilotes du Fleuve et de la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent will board. The pilot takes the conduct of the ship until Beauharnois Locks where another pilot from the corporation will take over the same duties until Snell Lock, near Massena, N.Y.

Once onboard, the pilot will exchange vital navigational information with the captain and the officers, and in a very short period of time, must evaluate the competence of the crew, the particular characteristics of the vessel, and its navigational equipment. Ships that are transiting the Seaway generally pass through both Canadian and American waters. Before being accepted passage, they are subject to several inspections by the Coast Guard, Seaway inspectors, and sometimes customs officers from both countries. Another of the many tasks a pilot must perform is to ensure that the ship complies with all regulations and promptly report any navigational deficiencies.

How is Marine Pilotage administered in the Cornwall District?

The pilots of the Corporation des Pilotes du Fleuve et de la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent are employees of the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority, a Crown corporation responsible to parliament through the Minister of Transport.

Interested in a career as a marine pilot in the Cornwall District?

Taking into account the important responsibilities designated to a marine pilot, obtaining a license is the culmination of a long career, which often starts in a nautical institute, followed by many years of experience, training and exams.

Description of the profession

A pilot is a professional mariner who has the local knowledge and expertise in a compulsory pilotage area,
and assumes the conduct of the ship to ensure a safe and secure passage.



2- Profile of a pilot

Physical traits
- Excellent eye/hand/foot coordination
- Manual and digital dexterity
- Able to distinguish colors with ease
- Good spatial and form perception
- Good sense of balance and coordination
- Able to endure long work hours
- Able to tolerate hot-cold climates
- Overall good general condition
- Good hearing
- Good vision

Aptitudes
- Able to plan easily
 
- Self-confidence  
- Sound judgment  
- Able to receive and assimilate a large volume of information  
- Able to communicate graphically  
- Good mariner's sense  
- Sense of responsibility  
- Safety conscious  
- Willingness to upgrade knowledge  
- Able to manage sleep effectively  

- Able to persuade crew about decision
- Able to communicate
- leadership
- Able to remain alert
- Able to sustain attention
- Able to deal with stress
- Pride in personal appearance and hygiene
- Able to work in team
- Able to make quick decisions

3- How to become a Cornwall District pilot

The candidate has to meet all the qualifications required by the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority. He must pass a selection exam held by a Board of Examiners where he has to show knowledge of the topics that are compatible with the safe performance of pilotage duties. He must complete the full apprenticeship program as set out by the Authority and complete a minimum of 50 training trips in the district, prior to passing a pilotage examination.

To assist the selection exam, the candidate need:

In addition of sea service and experience showing that the applicant is able to effectively and safely carry out pilotage duties, the candidate needs:
  1. Holder of a master, local voyage, certificate.
  2. Within the five years before the date of the application, sea service on board ships engaged on voyages in the area in which the applicant intends to perform pilotage duties that would give the applicant a general knowledge of the area.
  3. Have served at least 12 months as the master of a ship or at least 24 months as deck watch officer of a ship.
  4. Have been declared medically fit to perform pilotage duties in accordance with the requirements of the General Pilotage Regulations not more than 90 days prior to the Authority's receipt of the application.
  5. Be the holder of a valid Restricted Operator Certificate - Maritime Commercial or a General Operator Certificate issued under paragraph 5(1)(a) of the Radiocommunication Act.
  6. Be the holder of a certificate indicating that the holder has, within the two years immediately preceding the date of application, attended and successfully completed the marine emergency duties course for senior officers and the simulated electronic navigation, level II, course that are referred to in the Marine Certification Regulations.
  7. Hold a certificate of attendance at a training program in bridge resource management recognized by the Authority as meeting the requirements of Part B of Chapter VIII of the International Convention on STCW,1978, as amended from time to time.
  8. Shall be able to speak and understand the French language to the extent necessary to carry out pilotage duties in that area.
  9. That he is a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant as described in paragraph 15(2)(b) of the Act.

The training

In addition to the above requirements for a selection examination, all candidates are required to follow a training program which will be personalized according to their knowledge, experience and skills. A group of training pilots will monitor the apprentice pilot throughout his training. The length of the training program varies on the progress of each apprentice pilot. He will have to learn and demonstrate his knowledge of the navigational and pilotage requirements of the area including knowledge of the currents, depth of water, anchorage areas, prohibited anchorage areas, aids to navigation, the marine traffic control system, relevant parts of the Marine Act and regulations, relevant customs, port, immigration and pollution regulations, any harbor and port regulations for harbors administered by Ports Canada, the Seaway Regulations, ship handling including related characteristics of the ship and principles of hydrodynamics, the practical use of all shipboard navigational instruments, the duties, responsibilites and obligations of a pilot. Finally, an apprentice pilot is required to complete a minimum of 50 training trips (or more if required) in the Cornwall District, under the supervision of a licensed pilot.