Marine Pilots

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Marine Pilots

Marine Pilots - Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, ship pilots:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Are substantially responsible for the health and safety of crew members.
  • Are greatly responsible for the work done by the people they supervise.
  • Have a high level of social interaction. They interact with crew mates and passengers.
  • They talk with others by telephone, e-mail, and face-to-face discussions.
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  • Sometimes are placed in conflict situations in which others may rude or angry.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Are exposed to sound levels that are uncomfortable on a daily basis.
  • Are regularly exposed to contaminants.
  • Wear protective or safety attire on a regular basis.
  • Often must work in bright or dim lighting conditions, often dependent on the weather.
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  • Sometimes work indoors in the control area, and other times may be outdoors on the deck of the ship.
  • Are sometimes exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures while working outdoors.
  • Occasionally are exposed to whole body vibration.
  • Sometimes wear a special uniform, depending on the company they work for.
  • Sometimes are exposed to hazardous weather conditions.
  • Work near others, usually within a few feet.
  • At times have to use stools or ladders to reach high places.

Work Performance

  • Must fully complete and be exact in their work. Errors could cause serious damage to ships.
  • Must be aware of frequent changes in the weather, tides, and currents.
  • Must keep pace with the speed of the ship or other equipment.
  • Repeat the same physical and mental activities.
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  • Regularly make decisions that greatly affect others, including mates and deckhands and the performance of the vessel.
  • Set nearly all of their daily tasks and goals without seeking input first.
  • Work in a moderately stressful environment in which daily and weekly deadlines must be met.


  • May work in shifts, or be on-call, depending on when ships arrive.
  • May work long hours and at odd times.
Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.