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How to become a pilot ?

The pilots are recruited among the officers of the Merchant Navy having the highest unlimited Captain’s certificate and having sailed at least 72 months in the merchant navy or on French war ships, and having worked 48 months at least at sea in the deck department on coastal ships, or on deep seagoing ships.

The candidates for the pilot’s functions must be 24-years-old at least, but no more than 35 years old. They have to fill the physical conditions capacities, fixed in April 16th, 1986 concerning the conditions of physical capacity for the functions of pilot and captain.

Every pilot station organizes, with the French Affaires Maritimes organization, the recruitment of the pilots. The number of pilots working in a pilot station is directly connected to the commercial traffic in the port.

The geographical areas of skills in which the pilots are authorized to, are detailed by local regulations, fixing the compulsory pilotage of the station in that area, and the competence of the pilot.

When the need for recruitment is imperative in a station, a public competition is organized by the local Maritime Administration Affaires Maritimes on the Pilot Station demand, and its publication is shown at least two months before the choosen date.

The board of examiners is chaired by an Officer of the Navy, a Captain frequenting the zone of pilotage, an inspector of the French Affaire Maritime and two pilots of the concerned pilot station.

The modalities carrying organization and program of the competitions are fixed by order of September 26th, 1990, modified by the order in November 23rd, 2012 under organization and program for maritime pilot’s organisation.

When the new pilot takes his service, he has to perfom a practical training of several months by accompanying other experienced pilots aboard every type of ships, in the daytime or at night in his area of competence. This training represents approximately 50 to 100 piloted ships depending of the pilot station and ports. After this training, the new pilot begins gradually to pilot ships bigger and bigger. Approximately five years are needed to train a pilot able to guide everytype of ships.

During these five years, the training  can be improved by using models of ships in the center of Port Revel, or by using Ship Handling Electronic simulator.