- Domestic Vessels

8/29/2014: 2014 AMSC Conference- Great Lakes pilotage

The Transportation Research Board is hosting the 15th Biennial Harbor Safety Committee and Area Maritime Security Committee Conference, in Philadelphia, Pa. The conference explores best practices, innovations and technology that addresses critical harbor and maritime safety and security issues.

Todd Haviland, director of Great Lakes Pilotage for the Coast Guard, was a panelist in a session titled, “Pilot Commissions: Compositions, Responsibilities and Roles in Harbor Safety.’

His remarks were focused on the Coast Guard’s role in the oversight of pilotage on the Great Lakes.

“The Coast Guard has a unique role in the governance of pilotage,” said Haviland.

The Coast Guard’s pilotage program mission is to ensure safe, reliable and efficient pilotage service to foreign trade vessels navigating the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River and to establish fair and reasonable rates for pilotage services.

All pilotage in the United States is regulated by individual states with the exception of the Great Lakes as reflected in the Great Lakes Act of 1960, which requires Coast Guard oversight.

Haviland provided a background on regulating pilotage on the Great Lakes.

“The Coast Guard shares responsibility with Canada and the navigation season lasts approximately nine months,” said Haviland.

Haviland discussed the responsibilities held by Pilot Associations:

• Pilot compensation
• Infrastructure: such as docks, pilot boats and offices
• Dispatching services
• Billing and invoicing
• Professional development and training

The United States has seven separate states that touch Great Lakes waters. Coast Guard covers its Great Lakes areas of responsibility through oversight from three federally regulated pilot associations.

Haviland outlined some of the pilotage responsibilities specific to the Coast Guard.

“The Coast Guard issues rates that pilots can charge for their services. We also approve work rules such as dispatch procedures, crew rest and rotation,” said Haviland.

The Coast Guard also licenses mariners as Great Lakes registered pilots as well as approves applicant pilots and pilot training programs. Some other areas of Coast Guard responsibilities include:

• Approval and certification of pools
• Adjudication of billing disputes
• Enforcement of regulations
• Commerce registrations, suspensions and revocation proceedings
• Impose civil penalties

Haviland discussed how pilotage rates are published by March 1st of each year through a public rulemaking process. These rates reimburse pilots for necessary and reasonable expenses and pilot compensation.

To conclude his presentation, Haviland spoke about the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee and described the seven members that make up the committee. The members include: pilot association presidents, vessel operators that contract for pilotage services, port representatives, shippers and one impartial member with a financial background.

“When the ship meets the pilot, the pilot should be properly trained, well-rested and properly compensated for their services,” said Haviland, “I’m glad we have a strong relationship with the American Pilots Association so we can go to them and ask about lessons learned and best practices. For the Coast Guard [pilotage] has to be safe and we’re not going to compromise on that.” Said Haviland.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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