Get to Know the Term Pilotage in Shipping

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The term “pilotage” might give you a gist of its meaning. Probably because of the word ‘pilot’ that exists as a part of the term. This is what you will learn about in this post. Pilotage is a term used in shipping and in all marine services Malaysia. There are many other terms used in shipping that most of us have never heard, but our focus today is on pilotage or piloting. Alright, without further ado, let’s get into our topic for today. 

What is Pilotage?

To begin with, of course, we need to know the definition first. So, what is pilotage? Here’s a simple explanation. Basically, pilotage is a term used by marine pilots to describe the acts of navigating vessels where the pilot would serve as an advisor to the vessel’s master. Usually, they would utilise fixed points of reference and with help from the nautical charts in order to acquire the vessel or ship’s fixed position. 

The main purpose of pilotage is to avoid accidents by making sure that the traffic does not collide with each other and to avoid environmental damage from occurring. Pilotage can only be navigated by qualified and licensed marine pilots. 

What Are the Equipment Needed?

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This equipment is needed not only by marine pilots but also by other pilots such as aircraft pilots. There are three types of charts that are commonly used by pilots:

  • Nautical charts

Nautical charts are used by marine pilots to navigate the vessels most of the time. They usually consist of coastal regions, land features, navigational hazards, water depth and any kind of structures that are built by humans such as bridges, buildings and harbours. It all depends on the chart and this is such essential equipment that should be present on a ship. 

  • Topographic maps

The topographic maps are just like what we used to learn during Geography class. As usual, a topography map would show all kinds of human-made features, the terrain, rivers and lakes and many more. 

  • Aeronautical charts

This chart is not needed by marine pilots, but it is crucial for aircraft pilots. It is technically the same as nautical charts. It serves the same purpose which is to help pilots to navigate and other important processes such as the perfect landing areas if there is an emergency, safe altitude and the best route to a location.

What Happens Without Proper Pilotage?

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If there is nobody who is qualified and professional to handle the ship, the first thing that might happen is the traffic will definitely collide. This might cause consequences that we would never want to imagine and the worst thing that could happen is death. That is how important for any vessels to be handled by those who are experienced and licensed. 
Pilots too play an important role in piloting. We should be thankful to both marine pilots and aircraft pilots as they are the reasons why we are able to experience water-travelling and air-travelling. Without them, it must be difficult for us, humans to commute.

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