This is how bar pilots get to their job site:
Filed under Uncategorized
I haven’t thought of “Fastnet: Force Ten” in forever, but it surely did come to mind while I was watching this!
Years ago I traveled west across the top of our country, and ended at the mouth of the Columbia River. I knew nothing of bars or bar pilots, and confess I didn’t believe the stories some locals told me. Many years later I saw a PBS special on the Columbia River bar, and just gasped.
I keep thinking of creative things to do with some of our politicians, to help them a bit with their perspective. I hadn’t considered riding along with these folks, but it might do nicely.
I have a great deal of respect for most ship pilots. I say most because some Pilot Associations are nearly a racket, like in Fort Lauderdale where they simply line up the range markers and come in a short channel to a large turning basin. Big deal!
On the other hand, the Mississippi River Pilots are another story altogether and I’m sure the same goes for lots of other harbors. There are two different pilot associations on the Mississippi. The Bar Pilots pick up a ship outside the sea buoy and pilot the ship up to the Huey Long Bridge in New Orleans, nearly 100 miles and then the River Pilots take the ships up to Baton Rouge, another 150 river miles (twists and turns, no straight lines on the river). Each pilot must pass the examination for an Unlimited Masters License and “Unlimited” means any and all tonnage. Then when they pass that test, which takes an entire five-day week to take, the candidate for a Pilotage License is then given a huge blank piece of paper and the instructions “draw the river.” That means every twist and turn, every underground cable that traverses the river, the crossings, the bars and other hazard. So, if you ever meet a Mississippi River Bar or River Pilot you are meeting an extraordinary individual.
Which only goes to prove there’s every sort of extraordinary n the world. A video of a river pilot drawing the river wouldn’t be nearly as riveting as watching a bar pilot heading out in heavy seas, but that says more about us watchers than about them 😉