• Home
  • Fact Sheet for Media and Press


Marine Pilots

Marine pilotage has existed in Australia since the days of first settlement. The first pilot, Robert Watson (after whom Watsons Bay in Sydney was named), guided ships safely to and from Sydney Cove.

Pilots travel from their base in a specially designed vessel, able to withstand rough seas and inclement weather, board the incoming vessel by climbing a rope ladder then conduct the vessel into port and alongside its allotted berth. The reverse occurs when a vessel departs.

The chief concern of a pilot is safety, more specifically safety of the port and associated infrastructure. Pilots often take many years at sea, rising to command, before being accepted for the specialist training that allows them to practice as a fully licenced pilot.

Training regimes vary from port to port, as each has it’s own challenges and some require more time than others. Some ports require a number of training runs to be made under certain tidal conditions so trainees must wait for those conditions to arise. Almost all ports have staged training, whereby a pilot is licenced gradually to conduct larger and larger ships under differing conditions.

Pilots generally have no limitations on the type of ships they pilot. This means, for example a fully licenced pilot can take the conduct of any vessel, from the smallest gas tanker to the Queen Mary. Pilots perform in all weather; except for the most extreme conditions- rain, fog, strong winds are all trained for and executed with maximum safety and efficiency.
Pilots ensure that our ports stay open, free from incident and able to fulfil their important tasks of serving their respective hinterland and economies.
AMPI assists regulators by taking part in the decision making process at all levels. They do this by providing a professional, expert body of knowledge and experience that is readily available for consultation and advice.
AMPI looks to engage all stakeholders in pilotage to ensure that the service being provided is meeting their requirements and that safety and efficiency standards exceed their expectations. Using their own expertise and professional contacts in the marine industry, AMPI guides, promotes and maintains a world leading safety culture amongst pilots.

AMPI's role in pilotage

AMPI works to build resilience in pilotage through programs which enhance quality, skills, retention, education and training along with mentoring and nurturing of current and future pilots. AMPI takes a professional role in in the development of a Pilot Safety Framework, and to compliment this AMPI maintains a professional, non-industrial forum for new ideas, developments and issues.



301-303 Kiera St

Wollongong NSW 2500