State government may regulate ship pilots’ annual $400,000 pay

by Tim Flanagan on February 12, 2009

A must-read item by Jennifer Sullivan over at the Seattle Times blog. If I’d known they made that kind of money, price I’d have made the switch to the maritime industry years ago! :-)

A measure has been introduced that would require the state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to monitor the salaries paid to the nearly 60 ship captains who belong to the Puget Sound Pilots association.
Last year, thumb the five-dozen large vessel pilots made an average of $400,000, said the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, a non-profit shipping association focused on international trade. The pilots guide vessels through Puget Sound.
“It’s time to take a step back and say what’s reasonable here. It’s a matter of getting it in check,” [PMSA spokesman Jordan] Royer said today.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Larry H February 19, 2009 at 11:22 pm

At 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year, a $400,000 annual salary is equal to $200 per hour. How much money would be enough to have a pilot risk his life transferring to or from a ship by climbing a ladder up the side of the ship, then when aboard to be responsible for a ship worth 1 billion, with cargo worth more billions and capable of doing 10 billion plus damage if he screws up. Would anyone want less than the best pilots in the environmentally sensitive Puget Sound?

People without a clue should stick to their own business and leave the pilots alone.

2 TONY M July 20, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Lets get to brass-tacks: The reality is, if pilot error causes loss, the insurance takes care of the tab. A pilot is not economically responsible for tens of millions of dollars of cargo, tens of millions worth of ship, or tens of millions worth of property, or tens of millions worth of anything-Having said this, the responsibility of the pilots is significant, and the training is extensive and takes many years to complete. The pilots association is a closed society, and is one of the few maritime careers that nets millions of dollars over the course of a career. The last thing we need is government regulating private-industry salaries. All those who oppose the pilots salaries should ask themselves “Would I want the government regulating my salary?”

3 RM March 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm

UUUhhhh! I think you should ask The pilot of the ship that had an allision with the Bay Bridge and how much he wasn’t responsible for his accident and how much insurance bailed the pilots association and that pilot himself out. That pilot is in jail and facing millions in fines and his carerr as a pilot is finished. Also, the pilot association in San Francisco has a lawsuite against them and the pilot has a lawsuite against him personaaly because of that accident that insurance takes care of and accident that individual pilot wasn’t responsible for. Get the facts dude before you speak. The Compensatory State Pilots are responsible for their actions and work extremely hard to get to that position and they are the best at what they do. You can’t just go interview for the job and Whala, you’re hired. Everyone of those pilots have worked their whole careers on the water mastering the skills necessary to park that 600-1100′ ship in a shoebox without so much as causing a splinter on a piling.

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