Waterways Policy

Recap of Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee meeting

Submitted by the Office of Waterways Management

The Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee (GLPAC) held a successful meeting on September 1st in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. GLPAC continues to be the successful model for interaction and problem solving among the Great Lakes pilots and the ports, shippers and other stakeholders as it continues to provide the Coast Guard with cogent recommendations and awareness of the important issues, challenges and potential solutions to ensuring that the Great Lakes Pilotage system remains safe, successful and open for business.

Mike Emerson, Director for Maritime Transportation Systems, USCG, recognized the GLPAC members for their leadership in their individual roles and responsibility for the safe and successful Great Lakes Pilotage that has continued despite the challenges of Covid-19. U.S. and Canadian registered pilots on the Great Lakes provide service to foreign trade vessels, cruise ships, mega yachts, petroleum tankers and the Canadian domestic fleet throughout the System that spans 2,300 nautical miles. This System, which contains 90% of North America’s fresh water, has a combined GDP of the 8 US states and 2 Canadian provinces that border this System equivalent to the world’s third largest economy. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the North American Continent, the Great Lakes managing and regulating agencies were concerned with the safety of the mariners and the movement of cargo throughout the marine transportation system.

“Marine operators and commerce were especially essential over the last 6 months and skillfully navigated many obstacles to keep commodities moving and drive the economy. Working together – although cruise ship activity stopped, we have not experienced any significant commercial shipping delays due to COVID-19,” said Emerson.

This in-person meeting was a collaborative discussion among representatives for shipping, terminal operators, labor, pilots, and the public. Topics that were discussed included:

  • Limited Pilot Registration and Compensation Benchmark for Apprentice Pilots
  • Training Surcharge
  • Pilots Staffing Model
  • Annual Review and Report comparing previous rate setting projections with actual data
  • St. Lawrence River flow/Lake Ontario flooding, Seaway closure
  • Designation of the Straits of Mackinac
  • Individual Pilot compensations reporting and Pilot Association project and updates

“The GLPAC committee’s insight and recommendations will be invaluable in supporting the Coast Guard’s oversight of Great Lakes marine transportation for the coming year,” said Emerson.

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 publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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