Now that I’m at the end of my training, I feel really prepared for the job I’m doing. I’ve been fully responsible for four ships now and even an engine failure and complete black out didn’t faze me too much and I got the job done!
To do this apprenticeship, a Marine Pilot apprenticeship, you do need previous marine experience through either a cadetship or the Navy to learn how to conduct navigation on a ship. AB Ports are the only company in the country offering it and over two years they take you from being an officer of the watch to a fully qualified marine pilot.
It’s a very independent job, so it definitely suits someone who doesn’t mind working alone. It is a big responsibility as safe navigation of the ship has been 100% delegated to you while you’re piloting that ship, so confidence and the integrity to make the right decisions is a must.
The job is very hands-on and you often find yourself maneuvering large vessels in very small spaces – sometimes you could be turning a 100m ship with a metre to spare either side. When you add changing weather and tides into the mix, it’s definitely a job that’s exciting and where no two days are ever the same.
Over the next 5-10 years, there will be a real shortage of marine pilots as there are less masters at sea in the UK coming into port. That makes it a really exciting time to look at apprenticeships and get qualified for a long and secure career.”