demonstrate both a high level of knowledge and the appropriate and accurate use of that knowledge. They use many sources of navigational information, including Coast Pilots, Light Lists, applicable excerpts from the Code of Federal Regulations, NOAA charts, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveys, berth surveys from port and terminal operators, and maritime reference manuals and textbooks.

On-duty pilots are assigned to vessels by dispatchers using a special computer system. This system is accessible to dispatchers at the Seattle office during working hours and at their homes by modem after hours and on weekends. The system is also accessible to pilots and boatmen standing by at the Port Angeles pilot station, and by pilots from their homes when standing by for outbound assignments. The system provides the following primary functions:

  • transmits orders to dispatchers and provides a list of pending and assigned vessel movements
  • calculates billing amounts from pilotage tariffs and prepares invoices
  • maintains a vessel database that dispatchers can verify and update based on the vessel itself, a printed Lloyd's List, and other sources
  • maintains a database of predicted tides and currents and calculates tide levels at scheduled departure and arrival times
  • stores and maintains assignment information (e.g., berth spotting criteria, number of tugs assigned, name of tug company) relayed from the vessel master or agent
  • provides dispatchers with information needed to assign rested pilots
  • uses historical data to forecast the end of assignment time and total pilot requirements so that off-duty pilots can be called, if necessary, to accommodate heavy vessel traffic
  • creates reports required by the state of pilot assignments, rest periods, and analysis of assignments and billing used to substantiate manning levels and tariff adjustments

The pilot dispatch computer system also incorporates warnings, which are activated if a dispatcher enters data that exceeds set limits, such as a vessel draft. The system also provides a warning if a vessel is bound for a berth that is already occupied. This design allows the dispatcher to coordinate vessel arrival and departure times with each vessel's agent and thus minimize delays. Certain warnings may be reviewed by the pilot association president, who advises on the most appropriate transit times and other aspects of vessel movement.

In addition to using the computer system, dispatchers also verify scheduling of vessel movements by telephone with the marine exchange, tug companies, and others to minimize conflicts and delays. Also, the arrival times of vessels under way are obtained from the VTS system or directly from the vessel by VHF radio or a pilot's cellular telephone.

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