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Student with Master's license

An apprentice needs an official permit from the administration to begin with the educational process for becoming a maritime pilot in a certain pilot district. In general an apprentice was a captain on ocean-going ships before he starts his apprenticeship which takes 8 months. Education is organized by the brotherhood.

The education coinsist of lessons in all relevant fields as well as training classes in shipping simulators and accompanying pilots on duty.

By the end of the 8 months long education proceedure an examination at the administration comission grants for enough knowlege to service as a shipping pilot.

Classes are given by an instructor pilot who has been especially educated to teach the material. Additional knowlege is taught by administrative workers.

Classes have to be taken to gain knowlege in the following fileds:

  • Pilot Act, legal ordinances and regulations incl. German Traffic Regulations for Navigable Maritime Waterways
  • Structure of the pilotage system and the administration incl. relevant departments of the Ministry of Transportation
  • Specifics of the pilot district incl. all navigational signs (incl. position, name, color, identifier, sector limits) as well as acoustic signals of vessels and navigational installations.
  • Specifics of the pilot district regarding courses, water depth, length of berths, curve radius, positions of ferries, bridges and power lines
  • Mandatory reporting points and stations to report to incl. VHF-channels
  • Brotherhood organisation and duty regulations
  • Watch duty in the pilot stations
  • Bridge resource management

Practical education consists of several parts:
accompanying pilots on duty, accompanying a certain pilot on his duty for 2 1/2 months, simulator training.

Free choice
During this first part of the education the trainee has to do a number of mandatory trips through all districts of 'his' furture brotherhood. He is taking vessels of his choice at times of his choice. He has about 5 1/2 months time to fullfill the number of trips.

Accompanying a certain pilot
In this part the trainee is asigned to a certain training pilot. Whenever the training pilot has to do duty, the trainee has to accompany him. The knowlege of the trainee is deepened. Also, the trainee 'feels' the real duty of a pilot for the first time. He gets to know the duty rules and regulations from the pilots point of view.
The training pilot has to evaluate the work of the trainee. The evaluation will be taking into account for the exam later on.

Simulation in a mordern ship handling simulator is also part of the practical education. The trainee can practice pilotage without any risk for crew, ship or cargo.

End becomes beginning

After the 8 months education period the trainee is examined by the supervisory board.

This exam is truly exhausting in any way.

Since the real pilot life begins the next day, the board checks if the trainee will be able to do the pilot servcie in an independent and responsible manner. The complete knowlege of the 8 months long education has to be present at this time.

The trainnee should know all corners and dangers of his district(s) to guide long time ship masters save and fast through the often shallow waters with mostly dense traffic.

When the exam is passed the trainee gets the official pilot license and is member of the brotherhood from now on.

From the beginning of the following month the former trainee starts his time as a freshman. In the beginning he is resticted to a certain size of vessels. With about every 3 months of active duty the size-restriction becomes less. After about 3 years he is a 'full pilot' without limitations.

2012 www.bundeslotsenkammer.de