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Pilot

PILOT, the name applied either to a particular officer serving on board a ship during the course of a voyage and having the charge of the helm and the ship's route, or to a person taken on board at a particular place for the purpose of conducting a ship through a river, road or channel, or from or into a port. The latter kind is the only one to which the term is now applied either in British or foreign countries. The word " pilot " is not the early name for the man who guides or steers a ship. In Old English the name is Iddntan, i.e. the man who leads the way. " Pilot " does not appear in English till the 16th century. The origin of the word has been much debated. Many etymologists find it in the Dutch pijloot (Hexham's Dictionary, 1658). This has been identified with peittood, peil-loth, sounding lead, cf. German peilen, to sound; the last part of these words is the same as English "lead," the metal; thefirst part, peilen, is for pegelen, to mark with pegs or points for measuring, cf. pegel, gauge. The New English Dictionary, on the other hand, finds that the Dutch piloot, the earlier form, is taken from the French. The source is, therefore, to be looked for in Romance languages. Du Cange (Gloss. Med. et Inf. Lat.) gives Pedoltae, defined as quorum est scire inlrare et exire porlus, a gloss on pedotte e timonieri in F. Ubaldini's edition, 1640, of I documenti d'amore by Francesco da Barberino (1264-1348). It is therefore conjectured that the Italian pUota is a popular conception of pedotta, and a possible source may be found in the Greek Trfjdov, oar.

In England, formerly, pilots were subject to the jurisdiction of the lord high admiral; and in the 16th century there are many instances of the admiralty court dealing with pilots disciplinarily as well as civilly, holding them liable in damages to owners of ships lost or damaged by their negligence. For some considerable time throughout the United Kingdom the appointment and control of pilots have been in the hands of numerous societies or corporations established at the various ports by charter or act of Parliament, such as the Trinity Houses of Deptford Strond (London), Kingston-upon-Hull, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and Leith, and the Society of Cinque Ports Pilots and Court of Lodemanage (now extinct). These societies had jurisdiction over the pilots exercising their employment within Authorltles _ the limits of such ports, and in many cases made it compulsory for ships resorting thither to employ them. By degrees the London Trinity House acquired a leading position, which was confirmed and extended by the general Pilotage Acts passed in the 18th and 1gth centuries, with the object of introducing a uniform system throughout the realm. At the present day the United Kingdom is divided into districts for the purpose of pilotage jurisdiction. The (London) Trinity House has jurisdiction over the London district, which extends from Orfordness to Dungeness, and comprises the Thames and Medway up to London and Rochester bridges; the English Channel district, comprising the sea between Dungeness and the Isle of Wight; and the Trinity outport districts, which include any pilotage districts for the appointment of pilots within which no particular provision is made by act of Parliament or charter, and the number of which is 40, all English and Welsh. There are 66 other districts, within which other pilotage authorities have jurisdiction.

The present general pilotage law is contained in the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894 to 1906. Pilotage authorities are defined as bodies or persons authorized to appoint or license pilots, or to fix and alter rates of pilotage or to exercise any jurisdiction in respect of pilotage. They are subject to the control of the Board of Trade as the supreme mercantile marine authority. Those bodies, however, which existed at the time of the passing of the act retain their powers and jurisdiction, so far as is consistent with it. The board has power to appoint Law _ a new pilotage authority in any area where there is none, and to include a new area where there is none within an already existing one (but in either case pilotage cannot be made compulsory), or to transfer pilotage jurisdiction over a port other than that where the pilotage authority for that port resides, from that pilotage authority to the harbour or other local authority for that port, or to the Trinity House, or to a new authority; and the board has all powers necessary to effectuate such transfer and constitute the new authority. The board may also, by provisional order (which requires parliamentary confirmation), provide for the representation of pilots or shipowners on the pilotage authority of any district, and the exemption of ships from compulsory pilotage in any district. Where pilotage is not compulsory, and the power of obtaining pilotage licences unrestricted, the board can in the same way give the pilotage authority powers with respect to licences, amount of pilotage rates, and the like. Pilotage authorities may, by by-laws under the act (which require confirmation by order in council), exempt wholly or partly any ships or classes of ships from compulsory pilotage, and regulate the means of obtaining licences, and the amount of pilotage rates, subject to a maximum limit. They must make yearly returns to the Board of Trade of their by-laws, the names, ages and services of their licensed pilots, the rates of pilotage, the amounts received for pilotage and their receipts and expenditure; and if they fail to do so, the board may suspend their authority, which is then exercised by the Trinity House.

The statutes also provide generally for the qualifications of pilots. A " qualified " pilot is one duly licensed by a pilotage authority to conduct ships to which he does not belong. all flea- Q n n j s a pp i n t m ent he receives a licence, which is registered with the chief officer of customs at the nearest place to the pilot's residence, and must be delivered up by the pilot whenever required by the licensing pilotage authority. On his death this licence must be returned to that authority. By an act of 1906 no pilotage certificate shall be granted to the master or mate of a British ship unless he is a British subject; this does not, however, refer to the renewal of a certificate granted before 1906 to one not a British subject. Pilotage dues are recoverable summarily from the owner, master, or consignees of the ship, after a written demand for them has been made. A pilot may not be taken beyond the limits of his district without his consent, and if so taken he is entitled to a fixed daily sum in addition to the dues; if he cannot board the ship, and leads her from his boat, he is entitled to the same dues as if he were on board; and he must be truly informed of the ship's draught of water. An unqualified pilot may in any pilotage district take charge of a ship without subjecting himself or his employer to any penalty, where no qualified pilot has offered himself, or where a ship is in distress, or in circumstances where the master must take the best assistance he can, or for the purpose of changing the moorings of any ship in port on docking or undocking her; but after a qualified pilot has offered himself any unqualified pilot continuing in charge, or any master continuing him in charge of the ship, is liable to a penalty. A qualified pilot may not be directly or indirectly interested in licensed premises or in the selling of dutiable goods, or in the unnecessary supply of gear or stores to a ship for his personal gain or for the gain of any other person. He can be punished for quitting a ship before the completion of his duty without the consent of the master, refusing or delaying to perform his duty without reasonable cause when required by lawful authority, lending his licence, acting as pilot when suspended or when intoxicated, and any pilot who through wilful breach of or neglect of duty, or by reason of his drunkenness, endangers ship, life or limb, is guilty of a misdemeanour and liable to suspension or dismissal; but the pilot has an appeal in cases of fines over 2, of suspension or dismissal, suspension or revocation of his licence, or the application of a pilotage fund to which he has contributed. This appeal lies in England to a county court judge having jurisdiction over the port where he is licensed, or a metropolitan police magistrate or stipendiary magistrate with the like power; in Scotland, to a sheriff; in Ireland, to a county court judge, chairman of quarter sessions, recorder, or magistrate. Pilotage certificates may also be granted by pilotage authorities, available within their districts, to masters and mates of ships; and the holder of such a certificate may pilot any ship in respect of which it is available without incurring any penalty for not employing a qualified pilot.

The statute further makes special regulation for Trinity House pilots. Every such pilot, on his appointment, must execute a bond for 100 conditioned for due observance of the Trinity House regulations and by-laws, and thereupon he is not liable for neglect or want of skill to anybody beyond the penalty of the bond and the amount payable to him for pilotage on the voyage on which he was engaged at the time of his so becoming liable. The licence may be revoked or suspended by the Trinity House when it thinks fit; it only continues in force for a year, and the Trinity House has absolute discretion whether it shall be renewed or not.

A pilot boat is approved and licensed by the district pilotage authority who appoints or removes the master thereof. In order to be easily recognized, she has printed on her stern in legible white letters the name of her owner and her port, and on her bows the number of her licence; the remainder of the boat is usually black. The pilot flag is a red and white horizontal flag of a comparatively large size, and is flown from a conspicuous position. When the flag is flown from a merchant vessel, it indicates that a licensed pilot is on board or that the master or mate holds a certificate entitling him to pilot the ship. By order in council of 1900, on and after the 1st day of January 1901 the signals for a pilot displayed together or separately are: In daytime, there is (i) hoisted at the fore the pilot jack (Union Jack having round it a white border, one-fifth of the breadth of the flag) ; (2) the international code pilotage signal indicated by P.T.; (3) the international code flag S. (white with small blue square centre), with or without the code pennant; (4) the distant signal consisting of a cone point upwards, having above it two balls or shapes resembling balls. By night, (i) the pyrotechnic light commonly known as a blue light, every fifteen seconds; (2) a bright white light, flashed or shown at short or frequent intervals just above the bulwarks, for about a minute at a time.

Pilotage in British waters may be either compulsory or free for all or certain classes of ships. From parliamentary pilotage returns, it appears that it is compulsory in about 64 districts of the United Kingdom (of which twothirds are the Trinity House districts), free in 32, free and compulsory in 8, while in 3 cases (Berwick, Dingwall and Coleraine) no particulars are given. British war-ships in British waters are not compelled to employ apilot,the navigating officer becoming the pilot under the direction of the captain. If a pilot be employed, the captain and navigating officer are not relieved from responsibility. They supervise the pilot, and should, if necessary, remove him from the ship. In the majority of foreign ports British war-ships are exempted from employing pilots, but the Suez Canal and the ports of France are exceptions. The Merchant Shipping Act 1894 continues the compulsory employment of pilots in all districts where it was already compulsory, and also the already existing exemptions; and there is no power in any pilotage authority or the Board of Trade to increase the area of compulsory pilotage, though there is to diminish it. Compulsion is enforced by a provision in the act, that within a district where compulsory pilotage exists, the master of an unexempted ship who pilots her himself without holding the necessary certificate, after a qualified pilot has offered or signalled to take charge of the ship, shall be liable for each offence to a fine of double the amount of the pilotage dues demandable for the conduct of the ship. The exemptions from compulsory pilotage still existing in British territorial waters are as follows: Ships or vessels with British registers trading to Norway or the Cattegat or the Baltic (except vessels on voyages between any port in Sweden or Norway and the port of London), 'or round the North Cape, or into the White Sea on their inward or outward voyages, whether coming up by North or South Channels; any constant British traders inwards from ports between Boulogne inclusive and the Baltic coming up by North Channel, and any British ships or vessels trading to ports between the same limits on their outward passages and when coming up by the South Channels; Irish traders using the navigation of the Thames and Medway; ships engaged in the regular coasting trade of the kingdom; ships or vessels wholly laden with stone produced in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man and brought thence; ships or vessels not exceeding 60 tons, whether British or belonging to a foreign country specified by order in council; ships within the limits of the port or place to which they belong, if this is not a place particularly provided for by act of Parliament or charter as regards the appointment of pilots; ships passing through the limits of any pilotage district in their voyages from one port to another port, and not being bound to any port or place within such limits or anchoring therein, but not including ships loading or discharging at any place situate within the district, or at any place situate above the district on the same river or its tributaries. Ships whose masters or mates are owners or part-owners of them, and living at Dover, Deal, or the Isle of Thanet, may be piloted by them from any of these places up and down the Thames or Medway, or into or out of any place or port within the jurisdiction of the Cinque Ports. The following ships in the London district and Trinity outport districts are also exempt when not carrying passengers, namely: Ships employed in the coasting trade of the United Kingdom; ships of not more than 60 tons burden; ships trading to or from any port in Great Britain within the above districts to or from the port of Brest in France, and any port in Europe (which does not include the United Kingdom) north and east of Brest, or to the Channel Islands or Isle of Man; and ships navigating within the limits of the port to which they belong. The port to or from which the ship must be " trading " in this provision has been interpreted by the decisions to mean the port where the cargo is substantially discharged or loaded respectively; and the word " coaster'" similarly has been held to apply only to a vessel carrying to one port of the United Kingdom a cargo which has been taken in at another. Every ship carrying passengers between any place in the British Islands and any other place so situate must carry a compulsory pilot, unless her master or mate have a pilotage certificate. The effect in law of the ship (British or foreign) being in charge of a compulsory pilot under the act is that her owner and master are not answerable to any person whatever for any loss or damage occasioned by the fault or incapacity of any qualified pilot acting in charge of such ship within any district where the employment of such pilot is compulsory by law. In order to take advantage of this privilege, the shipowner must show (i) that a properly qualified pilot was acting in charge of the ship; there are, however, various kinds of qualified pilots the qualified pilot who is always capable of acting, and the qualified pilot who is liable to be superseded if a better can be obtained; (2) that that charge was compulsory; the pilot, however, need not be compulsorily employed at the place where the accident happened, so long as he is compulsorily employed within the district where it happens; (3) that it was solely the pilot's fault or incapacity which caused the damage. Similarly, under the Harbours, Piers and Docks Clauses Act, the owner of a vessel is not liable for damage done thereby to docks or piers when she is in charge of a duly licensed pilot.

This statutory exemption of a ship in charge of a compulsory pilot from any liability for her negligent navigation by that pilot, is only declaratory of the common law of England, and is based on the principle that the pilot is a state official put in charge of a ship, and is not the servant of the shipowner so as to make him liable for his negligence; and a British court gives the same effect to any foreign or colonial (aw which makes it compulsory on shipowners to put a pilot in charge of their ship when within their jurisdiction. Most foreign codes, however, while agreeing with English law in making the presence of a pilot on board compulsory, differ from it in not putting him in charge of the ship; and in this case the defence of compulsory pilotage cannot be pleaded successfully in British courts. Judicial decisions have established that French, Suez Canal, Danube and Dutch pilots are not compulsory pilots in the British sense of the word, being only advisers of the master, or " living charts." But if the pilot is put in charge by the foreign or colonial law, although that law expressly provides that in spite of the owner surrendering the charge of the ship to him the owner shall still remain liable, a British court will hold the owner free from liability, on the ground that to make any person liable for a tort committed abroad, the act complained of must be wrongful not only according to the foreign law, but also by English law. This consequence which English law attaches to the employment of a compulsory pilot has been much criticized in recent times, and it would seem that the foreign view is much more satisfactory in regarding the pilot merely as the adviser and not the superior of the master. Moreover, the adoption of the foreign law on this point would restore the old general maritime law. The policy of the law was at one time inclined to extend this principle of compulsory pilotage, on the ground that it was for the benefit of commerce and the safety of seamen's lives, but it now restricts it within as narrow limits as possible, e.g. the presence of a compulsory pilot on board a tow who is directing the navigation of a tug does not protect the tug-owner from liability for negligent navigation. As already pointed out, pilotage authorities have no power to extend its scope.

A pilot who is compulsorily in charge of a ship under English law has supreme control over her navigation, superseding the master for the time being; and if she is a tow he has also control of the navigation of her tug. The judicial decisions establish that it is within his province to decide whether the ship shall get under way, the proper time and place for her to anchor, the way of carrying her anchor, the proper orders for the helm, her rate of speed, and whether the statutory rules of navigation shall be complied with; and the master and crew must not interfere with his control, and only remain liable for the proper execution of the pilot's orders and the trim and general efficiency as to look-out, etc., of the ship. The master, however, is bound to supersede the pilot in case of his intoxication or manifest incapacity, and to interfere if there is a clear and plain prospect of danger to the ship in following the pilot's directions, e.g. getting under way in a thick fog. The pilot is entitled to receive from the master assistance in having his attention called to anything which a competent mariner would see that he ought to know. A pilot taken voluntarily, and not by compulsion of law, is considered as the servant of the shipowner, and as such renders him liable for his acts of negh'gence towards third parties. He does not, it seems, supersede the master in the control of the ship, but only advises him. The Admiralty and the Board of Trade and the Trinity House all take the view that the captain or master is bound to keep a vigilant eye on the navigation of the vessel by the pilot, and insist on all proper precautions being taken. For the purposes of a policy of marine insurance a ship is not seaworthy without a pilot in compulsory pilotage waters; and where there is no legal compulsion to have one, but the locality requires navigation by a person having local knowledge, it has been said that a ship must take a pilot, certainly when leaving a port, and probably on entering a port if a pilot is available.

A pilot can sue for his pilotage fee at common law or in Admiralty (q.v.), in the latter case provided that the contract was made and the work done not within the body of a county; but he has a "summary remedy by statute which is of easier application. He cannot be sued in Admiralty for damage done by a collision caused] by his negligence) (e.g. on the Admiralty side of a county court having Admiralty jurisdiction) ; but he can be made liable at common law or in the Admiralty Division of the High Court, although in the case of a Trinity House pilot his liability is limited to the amount of his bond and pilotage fee then being earned' (see above) ; but the court has refused to join him as a defendant to an action in rem brought against the ship of which he had the charge. A pilotage authority cannot be made liable for the negligent navigation of a ship by a pilot which it has licensed, for he is not its servant, though it has been held liable for the negligence of a person not licensed by it as a pilot, but employed by it for wages to pilot ships into a harbour under its jurisdiction, itself taking the pilotage dues and applying them for harbour purposes. A pilot is not in common employment with the master and crew of a ship, and can recover for any injury done him by their negligence. He may be entitled to claim salvage from a ship of which he has charge, if the services he renders are beyond the scope of his pilotage contract, either from the outset or owing to supervening circumstances, but not otherwise, whether he is on board her or leading her from his boat. (See SALVAGE.)

In the United States pilotage laws are regulated by the respective PILOT-FISHPIMENTO states. If the waters are the boundary between two states a duly licensed pilot of either state may be employed, but no discrimination can be made in the rates of pilotage between vessels of different states. In the German Empire the pilotage laws are very complicated. In the majority of the maritime states each one has its own regulations and laws. In Prussia there are government pilots who enter the service as apprentices, and are placed under a department of state. In France the general organization of pilots is regulated by the Statute on Pilots of the 12th of December 1806, and the pilotage regulations for each port are made by the minister of marine at the request of his local representative and the Chamber of Commerce. French pilots are exempt from military service.

See Abbott, Shipping (London, 1901); Maude and Pollock, Shipping (London, 1881) ; Marsden, Collisions at Sea (London, 1910) ; Select Pleas of the Admiralty (Selden Society, London, 1892 and 1897); Temperley, Merchant Shipping Acts (1907); Twiss, Black Book of Admiralty (London, 1871). (G. G. P.*; J. W. D.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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