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Being a marine

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Canada, like most of the world’s countries, entrusts the navigation of commercial vessels in its territorial waters to marine pilots who are trained specifically to ensure they are fully acquainted with the navigable area in which they guide ships of all nationalities.

What is a pilot?

A pilot from the CLSLP boards a ship to assume responsibility for its navigation and manoeuvres from Les Escoumins up to the Port of Quebec or a port on the Saguenay River.

Boarding a ship is always a tricky operation for a pilot, and may even be dangerous when there are poor weather conditions. The pilot must use a ladder and climb up the side of the ship’s hull.

Once on board, the pilot makes contact with the captain and the ship’s officers, and checks::

  • the quality of the navigation equipment;
  • the ship's capacity;
  • its specifics;
  • its cargo;
  • etc.

If a pilot sees that the ship does not meet legal specifications, it is his/her duty to advise the authorities.

How to become a pilot

In view of the important responsibilities assumed by marine pilots, acquiring a license is the achievement of a long process combining years of experience, training, internships and exams. An apprentice pilot must also complete, under a licensed pilot, over 100 trips in each year of his apprenticeship, as provided under the Laurentian Pilotage Authority Regulations and by the CLSLP.

Only upon holding a license for eight years can a pilot be assigned to any class of ships.