We invite you to learn more about the Crescent River Port Pilots, who we are, what we do, and how we serve you on Louisiana’s waterways…
Licensed by the State of Louisiana and charged with the protection of the citizens and environment of the state, the Crescent Pilots navigate ships along the 106-mile stretch between Pilottown and New Orleans. Rated as one of the most difficult and treacherous routes in North America, the job requires a thorough knowledge of the local currents, tides, shoals, aids-to-navigation, landmarks and weather conditions.
From 100,000-ton tankers to cruise ships with thousands of tourists, Crescent Pilots guide vessels of varying shapes and sizes, each with different handling characteristics on the water. Piloting ships on the Mississippi River is always challenging, and additional factors like fog, thunder storms, swift currents, and the volume of traffic can increase the danger to pilots and to other vessels on the river.
On average, Crescent Pilots log over 16,000 turns and transport nearly 560 million tons of cargo on the Mississippi river each year. It's a challenging, pressure-filled job vital to Louisiana’s economy. Crescent Pilots are extremely proud of their safety record of 99.98 percent and the intricate role they play in a maritime economy that generates over 380,000 jobs and $37 billion in national economic output.
At boarding, pilots must climb onto moving ships via a 30-foot rope ladder leading up the side of the hull from the deck of a pilot boat. This can be a dangerous undertaking, with the ship and pilot boat pitching back and forth and the ladder swinging from the ship. Once on board, a pilot acts as advisor to the captain, setting the ship’s course and speed, while steering the vessel to avoid hazards and other ships. Often pilots must overcome language barriers to direct and coordinate the activities of a foreign crew.