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Career and Education Opportunities for Ship Pilots in Gulfport, Mississippi

Ship pilots can find many career and educational opportunities in the Gulfport, Mississippi area. There are currently 300 jobs for ship pilots in Mississippi and this is projected to grow by 12% to about 330 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for ship pilots, which sees this job pool growing by about 17.3% over the next eight years. In general, ship pilots command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, and sounds, and on rivers, lakes, and bays.

Ship pilots earn approximately $28 per hour or $58,440 per year on average in Mississippi. Nationally they average about $29 per hour or $61,960 yearly. Earnings for ship pilots are better than earnings in the general category of Nautical in Mississippi and better than general Nautical category earnings nationally.

The Gulfport area is home to six schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Gulfport where you can get a degree as a ship pilot. Ship pilots usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a ship pilot if you already have a high school diploma.


Ship Pilot video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, ship pilots command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, and sounds, and on rivers, lakes, and bays. They also must be licensed by U.

Ship pilots make use of ship-to-shore radios to provide data needed for ship operations. They also consult maps and navigation apparatus to decide on and direct ship movements. Equally important, ship pilots have to direct courses and speeds of ships, on the basis of specialized knowledge of local winds and hazards. They are often called upon to set ships' courses that avoid reefs and other hazards, utilizing navigational aids such as lighthouses and buoys. Finally, ship pilots learn to use new technology systems and procedures, through the use of instruction and models.

Every day, ship pilots are expected to be able to understand events and object details at a distance. They need to discern details even when faced with glare. It is also important that they understand the spatial relationships between objects in the world.

It is important for ship pilots to stop ships under their navigational control from engaging in unsafe operations. They are often called upon to serve as a vessel's docking master upon arrival at a port and when at a berth. They also furnish assistance in maritime rescue operations. They are sometimes expected to give directions to crew members who are steering ships. Somewhat less frequently, ship pilots are also expected to maintain and repair boats and equipment.

Ship pilots sometimes are asked to maintain ship logs. and report to appropriate authorities any violations of federal or state pilotage laws. And finally, they sometimes have to direct courses and speeds of ships, on the basis of specialized knowledge of local winds and hazards.

Like many other jobs, ship pilots must be reliable and be able to take change and lead.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Gulfport include:

  • Ship's Captain. Command vessels in oceans, bays, and coastal waters.


Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Perkinston, MS

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 51 Main Street, Perkinston, MS 39573. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is a medium sized college located in Perkinston, Mississippi. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,215 students. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has a one to two year program in Marine Transportation, Other Specialties.


Coastal Navigation Certification: Coastal Navigation Certification requires the successful completion of knowledge and skills, as demonstrated by passing a written examination.

For more information, see the US Sailing website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi photo by Charlie Brenner

Gulfport is located in Harrison County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 70,055, which has shrunk by 1.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gulfport, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Gulfport are valued at $108,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-two new homes were constructed in Gulfport, down from three hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Gulfport are health care, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.1% of Gulfport residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gulfport is 9.3%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Gulfport residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Saint Johns Catholic Church, Saint James Baptist Church and Broadmoor Baptist Church are all churches located in Gulfport. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Gulfport is home to the Harrison County Courthouse and the West Side Community Center as well as Cowan Road Field and Harbor Square Park. Shopping centers in the area include Great Southern Shopping Center, Gulf Mart Shopping Center and Hardy Court Shopping Center. Visitors to Gulfport can choose from Best Western Seaway Inn, Crystal Inn and Best Western Seaway for temporary stays in the area.