Friday, 23 April 2021
Home FAQ

1. Question: What is a San Juan Pilot?

  • Answer: A San Juan Pilot is a local knowledge expert Commissioned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. They are highly skilled and trained in assuming the conduct of large ships with the utmost care within the harbor limits.


2. Question: What is a Federal Pilot?

  • Answer: A Federal Pilot holds a USCG endorsement to pilot US registered ships engaged in domestic trade.


3. Question: What is the difference between a State Pilot and a Federal Pilot?

  • Answer: State Pilots are compulsory pilots required by state law for all vessels engaged in foreign commerce. State Pilots are commissioned by individual states to represent the public trust. State Pilots also hold a Federal Pilot license. State Pilots require much more training and experience than a Federal Pilot. A Federal Pilot can only service vessels engaged in domestic trade.


4. Question: What is a Docking Master or Docking Pilot?

  • Answer: A Docking Master or Docking Pilot is one in the same. Docking Masters are employees of Tug companies who offer tug assist to ships while docking. Docking Masters are company employees who have been promoted from tug captain, and do not represent the public.


5. Question: Am I required to utilize a Docking Master?

  • Answer: No, There are no State or Federal requirements to hire a Docking Master. However, some tug companies may require the use of their employed Docking Master. Regardless, a San Juan Pilot is required to remain onboard the vessel by the State, and is available to the Captain for Docking Ships.


6. Question: How do San Juan Pilots protect the public interest while ensuring the safe flow of commerce?


  • Answer: San Juan Pilots are compulsory and hold a commission from the Pilot Commissioners who are appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This system ensures each commissioned pilot makes decisions based solely on professional experience and accepted safe navigational practices without any commercial influence clouding his/her judgment. San Juan Pilots meet the highest commissioning standards in the nation.

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