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IMPA on pilotage

The International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA: based in HQS Wellington on London’s Victoria Embankment reports that it has issued in hardback form the above title. Running to 234 pages, (ISBN: 978 1 85609 635 5) this handsome volume has a cover price of £ 75.00. The publisher is Witherby Seamanship International of Edinburgh (

For long there have been few books on the subject of maritime pilotage and only one example comes to mind with this reviewer, that published by the Nautical Institute on pilotage and ship handling in 1990. There are references in other publications to pilotage such as in the IALA Aids to Navigation Manual.

The ubiquitous pilot launch in service embodies excellent seaworthy characteristics. Throughout the world pilot organisations are investing in new fleets of pilot vessels and experts such as naval architects will say that pilot craft are a challenge to design and to build for the cutter has to demonstrate very high reliability in performing a safe task under severe operating conditions.

IMPA on Pilotage is a valuable work outlining the legal and statutory elements of pilotage, how it is conducted and methods of ship handling along with requirements, training and certification of pilots and even an introduction to fatigue management.

In order to carry out their duties marine pilots must embark onto and disembark from ships at sea by either the traditional method of a pilot ladder or by helicopter. In a section in this book Captain Alex Amos informs that so far there has been no development of a successful alternative method. In their time pilots will recall poor examples of the ladder provided of which the illustration here ably displays.