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Career and Education Opportunities for Ship Pilots in Seattle, Washington

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for ship pilots in the Seattle, Washington area. There are currently 1,490 jobs for ship pilots in Washington and this is projected to grow 10% to about 1,640 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 about $33 per hour or $70,670 annually on average in Washington and about $29 per hour or $61,960 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for ship pilots are better than in the overall category of Nautical in Washington, and better than the overall Nautical category nationally.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a ship pilot. The most common level of education for ship pilots is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn 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 Seattle include:

  • Airline Pilot. Pilot and navigate the flight of multi-engine aircraft in regularly scheduled service for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport rating and certification in specific aircraft type used.
  • Ship's Captain. Command vessels in oceans, bays, and coastal waters.


Seattle Community College-Central Campus - Seattle, WA

Seattle Community College-Central Campus, 1701 Broadway Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122. Seattle Community College-Central Campus is a medium sized college located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,402 students. Seattle Community College-Central Campus has a one to two year program in Marine Science/Merchant Marine Officer which graduated nine students in 2008.


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.


Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.