A white hat and a red nose


Most ships have to take a pilot to enter a port. It is normal: a captain can impossibly know all the places in the world. He needs somebody local to assist him: the pilot.

When being on a cruise ship or a ferry it is always nice to see the pilot launch approaching at full speed before she’s doing an elegant touch and go.

If you want to see the pilot step on the ladder, you need to be fast. It’s done in no time.

How to recognize a pilot vessel? It is quite simple. Either you see the word “Pilots” on the hull of the launch, or the official pilot flag in the mast, which is the white and red flag as below. This flag is the letter “H” in the maritime flag alphabet, and simply means “Pilot on board”. Once the pilot is on the bridge of the large vessel a crewmember will hoist the “H” flag on the forward mast. 

The “H” flag means “Pilot on board”

During night time you have to look at the top lights of a boat: if it is a white light with below a red one, than it is indeed the pilot. How to remember? A white hat and a red nose…

Taken from my cabin on COSTA MAGICA, the picture shows clearly the top white/red pilot lights

Now it is time for some photos of close encounters with pilots. I love to take photos of these fast small craft who make such a fine sight seen from ten decks high.

To keep it simple I’ve just put everything in alphabetical order. First the name of the ship, then the place where the picture has been taken.

Enjoy the pilot ship parade!

 

AZAMARA QUEST, Lisbon

AZAMARA QUEST, Saint Jean de Luz, France

BLEU DE FRANCE, Mahon, Menorca

NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY, New York

CENTURY, Alesund, Norway

LOUIS CRISTAL, Izmir, Turkey

LOUIS CRISTAL, Istanbul

CRUISE ROMA, Civitavecchia, Italy

CRYSTAL SERENITY, Bonifacio, Corsica (for once I was on board the pilot boat)

CRYSTAL SERENITY, Halifax, Canada

And off he goes

CELEBRITY EQUINOX, The Netherlands

EUROPA 2, Solent, Southampton, UK

FUNCHAL, Portimao, Portugal

FUNCHAL, Portimao, Portugal

LE BOREAL, River Weser Estuary, bound for Bremerhaven

LE SOLEAL, Glengariff, Ireland

The Glengariff harbour master’s boat. Cute!

LE SOLEAL, Heimaey, Iceland

LE SOLEAL, Killybegs, Ireland

MOBY FANTASY, Bastia, Corsica

MSC SPLENDIDA, Genoa, Italy

MSC SPLENDIDA, Marseille

MSC SPLENDIDA. The mistral is too strong. We can’t enter Marseille, says the pilot

A view from NORWEGIAN GEM, Livorno

NORMAN VOYAGER, Le Havre, France

Rouen pilots also operate in Le Havre. Logic, it’s the River Seine estuary.

SPL PRINCESS ANASTASIA, Tallinn, Estonia

RUBY PRINCESS, Piraeus, Greece

SAGA PEARL II, Halmstad, Sweden. I was on the lifeboat.

SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER, Cartagena, Spain

By |2014-02-25T21:54:21+00:00February 25th, 2014|Blue|