Piloting the Biggest Ships by Lee Marriott

I have always wanted to become a marine pilot

Since becoming a teenager I have always wanted to become a marine pilot. I was lucky enough to witness pilotage through a family friend who was a pilot at the time and experience harbour towage through the Sea Cadets. Since boarding my first ship “River Blyth” with the family friend I was hooked and asked how do I become a pilot. He said I needed to go to sea… The rest is history.

I was sponsored by British shipping company, James Fisher PLC

I studied at Fleetwood Nautical College for my OOW, sponsored by the British shipping company, James Fisher PLC during 2001 to 2003. I continued my CoC training at Warsash Maritime College for Chief Mates in 2006/07 and returned to Fleetwood in 2010 for my Master Unlimited.

The facilities at Fleetwood were second to none. The bridge simulator was state of the art at the time and the Offshore Training centre was, and still is, an industry leader in sea survival and other short courses.

In addition I also studied at HMS Collingwood through the Royal Navy and gained my Fleet Navigator Officer (FNO) in 2009. Other warfare courses where attended to throughout my training period in the RFA between 2004 and 2012.

Whilst training I enjoyed the people I worked with and the wealth of knowledge available.

I now have several qualifications

I'm qualified as Master Mariner Unlimited, with RN FNO and other warfare qualifications, and Port of London Authority Class 1 Pilot license.

I trained in UK waters, the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean

My initial training was on small coastal tankers, before moving to the RFA where we had Tankers, a Hospital Ship and Landing Ship Docks. These operated world wide but mainly in the UK waters, the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

My time at sea was varied with commercial trade between European ports on tankers and then moving to warfare, disaster relief, counter piracy operations and security patrols.

At sea I enjoyed gaining the skills “doing the job” and again the people I worked with.

Travel was always going to be a big part of going to sea

The travel was always going to be a big part of going to sea. The skills gained to fulfil my appetite to learn and a life style and sense of humour which only people who have been to see fully understand. Its far more than a job.

Now as a pilot I enjoy the navigation. I'm driving and parking the biggest ships that transit the seas and the largest moving objects on the planet.

I hope to still be piloting in 10 years. I'm lucky, I have youth on my side. From there, Harbour Master, consultancy work and training new recruits are my priorities.

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