Research Summary - Pilotage Operations

  • As part of the Pilotage Act Review

Denys Pouilot

September 2017

The Study of Canadian Pilotage Operations and Comparison with International Practices was conducted in summer 2017. To better capture the issues involved and provide a solid understanding of marine pilotage, it begins with a summary of two major reports to the Minister of Transport: Review of Pilotage Issues, carried out by the Canadian Transportation Agency in 1999, and the Canadian Transportation Act Review, published in 2016.

Meetings with representatives of four Pilotage Authorities were held in Halifax, Montreal, Cornwall and Vancouver, as well as with representatives of the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association in Vancouver and Quebec City. These interviews resulted in a better understanding of the reality of pilotage in Canada, as well as regional particularities. Comparing various aspects of pilotage was complex, because there are similarities among the regions, but also major differences, such as the requirements for obtaining a pilot licence or pilotage certificate.

To compare pilotage training and certification processes in Canada, tables were prepared in Chapter 3 by conducting research in the legislative and regulatory corpus of the Pilotage Act. Section 3.2 consists of descriptive tables containing excerpts from regulations, as well as amendments made since 1999. Section 3.3 contains a plain-language comparison of the regulatory provisions and requirements of the regions and is accessible to people who are not necessarily familiar with pilotage legislation.

Chapter 4 provides a brief history and analysis of the Pilotage Risk Management Methodology. This chapter also explores an alternative risk management methodology used in the United States to manage risks in ports and waterways and to work on long-term solutions adapted to local circumstances.

A description of technological advances in pilotage, prepared in collaboration with the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association, can be found in Section 5.1 of the study. Section 5.2, on shore-based pilotage, was produced with the help of a Journal of Navigation article and a report by the firm COWI for the Danish Maritime Authority.

In Chapter 6, a comparison with international pilotage practices is made based on documents provided by the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association because, rather than the pilotage authorities or Transport Canada, it is the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association that establishes contacts with foreign pilotage organizations.

The report concludes with recommendations for continuing research and analysis of certain aspects of pilotage. For a more thorough understanding of pilotage at an international level, contacts should be developed with foreign pilotage authorities, particularly in Europe and the United States.

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