SOLAS Pilot Ladder Requirements

1. Please contact pilot boat via VHF voice radio (CH 16/12) approximately 1 hour prior to arrival for desired lee.

2. The ladder must be kept clean and used solely for embarking and disembarking pilots.

3. Rigging of the ladder, along with embarking and disembarking pilot, must be under the supervision of a licensed officer.

4. The ladder must be made in one length and not consist of two lengths shackled or lashed together, and should be equipped with spreaders about 10 feet (3 meters) apart to comply with SOLAS regulation 17, chapter 5.

5. The pilot boats have their own lights to illuminate the pilot ladder, but a standby light should be ready for an emergency.

6. The area of the deck where the pilot boards and leaves must be well lighted and must be clear of all obstacles to insure a safe passage for the pilot.

7. No tag lines, pull-up ropes, or trailing lines shall be attached to the lower ends of the ladder.

8. Ladders must be rigged well clear of water and discharge outlets, and at a place near midship which affords the best lee for the pilot. At no time should the ladder be rigged near the stern of the vessel.

9. Means must be provided to allow the pilot to pass safely onto the ship's deck. Where portable stanchions and bulwark steps are used for this, the portable stanchions must be rigidly attached to the ship's structure and not the steps. The bulwark steps must also be securely fastened.

10. The ladder must be in good condition. The treads must remain horizontal when used and the upper surface must have a rough, non-skid quality.

11. Manropes, approximately 3" manila in circumference may be requested. A heaving line and a ring buoy with a self-igniting light must be provided.

12. If your vessel is to load deck cargo, make sure the agent makes arrangements to provide safe passage to the ladder for the pilot.

Accommodation Ladders

1. All vessels, where the distance from sea level to the point of access of the ship exceeds 30 feet (9 meters) at any time, should carry an accommodation ladder on each side. The ladder is to be so sighted that when in use the lower end of the ladder shall rest firmly against the ship's side under all conditions of roll and heel, clear of all discharges, and within the parallel length of the ship.

2. A conventional pilot ladder should be rigged just abaft the lower platform of the accommodation ladder. The pilot ladder must be firmly attached to the ship's side.

Pilot Boarding/Disembarking in Tampa Bay

• Pilot ladder should be rigged 2.5 metres (8 feet) above the water.

• Boarding speed will be a safe speed as directed, depending upon weather conditions.

• Tug/barge units may require boarding inside Egmont Key if a pilot ladder cannot be rigged on the barge.

• No tag lines should be rigged near the ladder for boarding or disembarking.

• Pilot boarding is normally done in Egmont Channel, at buoys 9 & 10.

• Some weather conditions may require alternative boarding arrangements, such as making a lee North of Egmont Channel or boarding inside of Egmont Key. The pilot boat will provide specific boarding instructions to inbound vessels.

Pilot Boats

Name LOA Description
Tampa 53' Black hull & grey superstructure
Manatee 53' Black hull & grey superstructure
Fort Dade 54' Black hull & white superstructure
Desoto 60' Black hull & white superstructure