In Brazil, as in all countries that have international trade by their waterways, the Pilotage is an activity that provides efficiency and guarantees a safe operation of vessels that travels in its territorial waters, either along the coast or in inland waters, taking the State as its sole customer and the ships as users of this service. The Pilotage is a service available at all times of the day, and every day of the year.
Pilotage is a world wide activity and is considered public interest. In Brasil, it functions in similar ways as the main maritime nations. Pilots are professionals linked to the waterway sector and not the port, as many imagine.
The maritime pilot is the waterway professional that executes the manoeuvres, representing the public interests aboard the ships, with a solid technical-professional knowledge of navigation in restricted areas.
For that to be so, the pilots have enhanced nautical formation and in depth experience of the regions characteristics, such as currents, winds, tides e depths variations. With this specific know-how, he can professionally assist the Captains in the handling of their ships, ensuring over all, the safety of the procedure, safeguarding human life, the public and private property along the shorelines and the preservation of the environment.
In Brasil, there are twenty two Pilotage Zones, spread out between the maritime coast and rivers, where over four hundred professionals work in an integrated rotation system. The number of pilots is defined by the Maritime Authority in relation to the volume of vessel traffic, time spent aboard, the degree of difficulty of the pilotage work, the number of manoeuvres to maintain the Pilot’s qualification and maximum workload, according to legislation. The limitation on the number of professionals occurs worldwide and is linked to a technical issue regarding security, which is independent from economical and political injunctions.