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Pilotage Requirements

Discussion in 'Yacht Captains' started by Ken Bracewell, Jun 11, 2009.

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  1. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    We are currently on a cruise up the East Coast with the owner and a group of his friends. Pilotage varies from port to port so I though I would share a compilation of the latest information for the ports we're visiting.

    Charleston
    Vessels with a deep draft of greater than 11 feet are required to take a pilot.

    Virginia
    Any foreign vessel over 300 Tons is required to have a pilot aboard.
    Under federal and state law, I am able to act as the pilot for our boat in Virginia (even though the local pilots saw fit to present me with a bill which will forever go unpaid) so was able to avoid pilotage there. CFR 46, part 15.812

    Maryland
    Vessels less than 500 Tons aren't required to have a pilot until they reach Baltimore. North of Baltimore any vessel of 100 tons or greater is required to take a Maryland pilot through to Chesapeake City on the C&D Canal. Cost is hourly, so for us the cost would have been $950.

    Delaware
    Any foreign vessel greater than 100 tons is required to have a pilot aboard. They charge by units, with a minimum charge for 200 units (Rena is 40 units). The cost is $3576.00

    New York/New Jersey
    Any foreign vessel over 200 feet is required to take a pilot going into New Jersey waters. Any foreign vessel over 100 feet is required to take a pilot into New York waters. Inter-harbor movements do not require a pilot. New York is trying to pass legislation to increase their requirement to 200 feet in order to be consistent with New Jersey. In the mean-time there is nothing preventing a foreign flagged yacht from heading into New Jersey for a short rest at anchor before heading into NYC ;)

    Boston
    Any foreign flagged vessel over 350 Tons is required to take a pilot in Boston.
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Very useful info.
  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Good post Ken. These parasites are a pain in the bi-fold.
  4. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    I have just been dealing with the DE pilot Ass. about going into Lewes, DE and Cape May NJ.
    They want to charge me $7,152.00 per round trip!!!! Obviously we will not be visiting those ports!
  5. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Make sure the mayors and local chambers of commerce know you will not be bringing quite a few thousand dollars their fair cities, and exactly why.
  6. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Ken,
    Good info. Regarding VA, I'm assuming you are not over 300 tons. But when you say "under state and federal law", is that becasue you are a US citizen?
    Also, under what pretense did the local pilots give you a bill for? Just because they assumed you had to have one?!? Thanks
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    if a boat is large enough to require a pilot, are you sure you want to go in Cape May? there are no facilities there which can accept large yachts... Canyon is probably the only one but there is still only 7 to 8' at the entrance and their face dock isnt' that big, 90' maybe?

    same with Lewes.
  8. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Pascal- It's not that they require us to take a pilot because we need the help and are inexpeinced, it's because they have antiquated pilotage rules from the late 1800's that have never been updated. Both Cape May and Lewes can handle my vessel easily and have facilities for us.
    These pilot ass. just see it as a way to make some more money, I have been into places alot more difficult with no pilot than the places that make me take a pilot.
    In NYC for example you only have to take one coming in and out, but if you want to go for a dinner cruise up the East River you are free to go as you like!
    Most of the pilots I have had onboard do not want to waste their time with yachts, as they make alot less money and miss out on a rotation of a larger ship.
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    i know it's because of antiquated rules and revenue... What size boat and what do you draw? Curious which facility you refer to in Cape May.

    there were a few articles in Triton on pilotage requirements, some vessels have been billed because of their size even though the pilot never even set foot on the boat!
  10. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    it's called tax the people that work hard/smart to feed the people that don't want to work or are to lazy to go to work

    :confused: .....travler
  11. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    We are over 300 tons. The federal law states that we have to have a pilot but that I can act as the pilot because I meet the following criteria:
    A- The vessel is less than 1600 Tons
    B-I have a license to run the boat
    C- I have made the round trip at least 4 times (with at least one in the past 5 years)
    State laws still apply, but the VA law says that we need to take a pilot unless we are exempt under federal statutes.

    The Pilot Assoc. doesn't agree with this, but it is my guess that they have never looked closely at the Federal Law. The VA law also states that you may refuse a pilot, but the entire fee is immediately due to the pilot who's services you refuse.
    The VP of the Pilot Assoc. hand-delivered a bill and specifically asked if I was refusing a pilot. My response was that I am the pilot for my vessel and they I was merely choosing to not invite one of their pilots aboard for a boat ride.
  12. SJ-Rick

    SJ-Rick New Member

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    Pascal,

    He was headed to us at South Jersey Marina. We frequently host vessels over 100 feet, and have been advertising in the Triton and other publications to increase our large motoryacht presence.

    We are, of course, distressed with the pilots more aggressive stance of late and are working with our local officials to address it.

    If anyone else has had encounters with the Delaware Pilots that we should know about, please contact me.

    Rick Weber
    South Jersey Marina
  13. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    good to know... i'm only 70' but i'll try you guys in the fall... I've been to Canyon, Utsch (a little tight), Miss Chris (very friendly and good fuel price but shallow at low tide with 6+' )
  14. captbh

    captbh New Member

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    South Jersey Marina

    Pascal,

    I have stopped at SJM going north and south for the last 10 years and it's a great spot.

    Last year we had our new boat in there which is 130' X 26' X 7.5' and didn't have a problem. In fact it's kind of fun to see the looks from the people at the Lobster House as you turn around off the dock. I'm pretty sure money has changed hands on several occasions when were done.

    Rick,

    We did not stop this year because were warned last year on departure that the pilots would be watching and require us to use one since we are over 100 tons.

    The interesting thing is the "exempt under federal statutes" that Ken Bracewell mentions. The pilots association claims that the state law supersedes the federal law and therefore they can require whatever they want.

    The question I never got an answer to was this. State pilotage is granted to individuals who qualify for certain areas of transit. Some can run the entire bay and river and others have limits on what areas they cover. This is based on the number of trips they have over the route and drawing the route to scale during testing.

    When I asked which pilot they could provide who was licensed for the waters from the jetties and your marina they ended the discussion but still insisted they would require me to take a pilot (or pay for one) if I came back. I have more experience over that route than any of their people. This is the basic idiocy of this whole money making scam.

    It's the same situation in New York. I worked for McAllister towing and for 5 years pushed 500 ft oil barges through the East River and Hell Gate, night and day without a pilot. Today because of the flag on the stern, I can't take the 128 foot yacht through there without a pilot. However someone who never saw New York before can take a 160 footer through there without a pilot as long as there is a US flag on the stern.

    Now exactly how does that make anybody safer?

    Ken,

    Thanks for the updated list.

    I am hoping that someone here was at the Newport Charter show to hear the presentation given by the Northeast Pilots president concerning enforcement in the Long Island Sound area. That is likely to be the next big showdown. Maybe Triton or the Super Yacht Society will print something.

    One last question. Has anybody noticed that the areas with facilities where larger yachts can stay and spend time (and money) have less stringent requirements than the waters where the same yachts usually just "pass through"?

    I was just thinking that maybe since there is no place in the Delaware Bay to dock, or once you get past Baltimore the only way to make money...... Na, that can't be it.
  15. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    I see my favorite subject has come back up, usually does this time of year!
    After speaking with Rick last year and his unofficial conversation with the pilots assoc. I decided to run the Delaware without a pilot. (with the full backing of my owner, who wants to fight it)
    We went down and back a few weeks later with no problems, although my AIS was off. I know for sure they saw us, as it was light when I went past Lewes and passed at least one ship on both transits. They are very familiar with my vessel as they have been aboard many times. I will try it again this year as well.
    I am interested to hear what the NE Pilot had to say about Long Island Sound, as we usually run up through there during the summer from NYC. I would like to see them enforce the pilot rule for all the boats at Sag and Newport!
    At the boat show I had a bit of a run in with the President of the Pilot Assoc. who is also a Maryland pilot. He was trying to tell me that everytime I leave Annapolis for Baltimore or St. Michaels I should have a pilot aboard. When I informed him of a letter that his assoc. gave saying just the opposite he did not believe me, well I sent him a copy and never heard back from him.
    I am hoping that DE will do something this winter in the Legislature, as we would like to visit Lewes, but not when it will cost me several thousand dollars.
  16. captbh

    captbh New Member

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    Delaware Pilots

    ychtcptn,

    Good to hear that they ignored you this time. let's hope it's the beginning of the end.

    My position on the Cape May (and Atlantic City) situation for this year is this. NJ as a state says foreign flag yachts under 200 feet do not require a pilot, in NY it's under 100 ft.

    NJ is serviced by at least 2 pilot associations,Sandy Hook and Delaware.

    Both pilot associations serve at least 2 states. Sandy Hook; NJ and NY. Delaware; NJ, DE, PA.

    We are 128 ft, 340 tons.

    With the Sandy Hook pilots I go by the state rules and use a pilot in NY waters because we are over 100ft but not in NJ since we are under 200 ft. The pilots are in complete agreement.

    In Delaware a pilot is required over 100 tons. However, since Cape May is in NJ waters, the Delaware pilots should operate under the NJ rule of under 200 ft not needing a pilot.

    Since these are state regulations, they should be uniform throughout state, not subject to interpretation by local associations.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it, at least until they fine me.

    Now, what the heck is going to happen in Long Island?
  17. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Just completed my annual round trip of the Delaware Bay with no problems. My AIS was off, but they could see me from the tower in Lewes and passed several ships with pilots aboard.
    Maybe things are changing on the Bay.
  18. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Potomac River

    We are going to be headed to Washington DC, so I've been looking into regulations regarding pilotage. My greedy old friends, the Virginia Pilots, of course told me that we are required to use their services to head up to DC.

    I then contacted the Maryland Pilots and was told the following:

    In addition, YF Member ychtcptn also just informed me that Maryland is responsible for the Potomac up to the high water mark of the Virginia bank.
  19. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Heads up- A friend just got nabbed above the C&D on the way to Philly. They entered the Delaware and made it that far before a passing pilot on a ship reported them. They also informed him that it would be and extra $1000 for the C&D Transit to Ches. City.
    I guess it did not get passed in the legislature for a change in the rules last winter.
    Heading that way in two weeks, will let you know how I make out.
  20. Rodger

    Rodger Senior Member

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    Ken did you get the cost for pilots for St.Lawrence River and St. Lawrence Seaway yet, if so please post them or email me.
    Thanks Rodger