Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer: Please note that all information presented on this website is published for your convenience only. All official information is promulgated by the Board of Pilot Commissioners and has precedence over any published on this website.

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How do I apply for the Deputy Pilot examination?
An application must be made to the Board of Pilot Commissioners. You may download an application at the following web site: Board of Pilot Commissioners
How do I find out about an opening?
Openings are published by the Board of Pilot Commissioners. The Board normally announces vacancies in the fall of each year. However, under certain circumstances there may be additional test dates. It is advised that prospective applicants check the Board's website periodically for announcements of vacancies.
When is the test administered?
The test for the Deputy Pilot license is usually administered in March for all ports which have a listed opening. In certain circumstances, the Board may administer a test at another date. The deadline for applying to sit for the test is usually in late fall around the November - December time frame. Check with the Board for more specific information.
How is the test graded?
The test is graded by the state of Florida. Local pilot associations have no input in grading the test or selecting the Deputy Pilot.
Where can I find study materials for the Deputy Pilot examination?
All questions for the test are drawn from open source materials, i.e., books, publications, charts, etc. A list of these materials will be provided by the Board of Pilot Commissioners. Specific local knowledge or experience in a particular port is not necessary to successfully complete the examination.
Who sits on the Board of Pilot Commissioners?
The Board consists of ten people and has the following composition:
  • Five State Pilots
  • Five Consumer Members
  • One actively involved in maritime or marine shipping
  • One user of piloting services
  • Three not involved in any of the above

The Board sits in the state capital of Tallahassee and organizationally resides in the Division of Professions within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. It's address is:

1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399- 0783
Phone: 850-487-1395
What are the requirements to sit for the test?
The specific answers to this question may be found in the following documents:
What kind of sea time and license are required?
The specific sea time and license prerequisites are stipulated in the following documents:

There is no requirement to have a federal pilot license prior to applying for the examination. You also do not need any trips in the port. You will obtain the necessary trips during your apprenticeship and will be expected to obtain your USCG First Class Pilot license during the first ninety days of the training program.

What type of chart work is included in the examination?

In past tests, the candidates were given a land mass outline of chart 11470, which may or may not contain latitude and longitude lines. Information tested has generally been drawn from the chart itself, but could come from the Light List, USCP, or USCG NTM. You will be expected to faithfully reproduce the chart from memory, including but not limited to; depth soundings in the channels and surrounding areas, depth contour lines, channel and berth headings, deck heights, depths alongside berths, hazards to navigation, notes on the chart, datum information, Corps of Engineers information printed on the chart, aids to navigation with their full light list description, anchorages, restricted areas, etc. In addition to the reference materials, candidates are responsible for information published in the USCG Notice to Mariners up to a date specified by the Board.

Note: The above information should be considered unofficial. Exact grading criteria is promulgated by the Board. For further information, please consult the Candidate Information Book.

What type of local knowledge questions are asked?
All local knowledge questions for the Deputy Pilot examination come from open source documents. It is not necessary for the successful candidate to have any personal local knowledge of the port being tested. These open sources are listed in the Candidate Information Book.. When the successful Deputy Pilot retests for the full Pilot examination, there may be questions based on non-published or not yet disseminated information. Study material will be provided during the course of the Deputy Pilot Training Program at Port Everglades.
What are the particulars of the Deputy Pilot training program?

The training program at Port Everglades lasts nearly three years, depending on an individual's progress. Each Deputy Pilot will stand a twelve hour watch, reporting to the office at 0600/1800 unless directed otherwise.

Level One lasts a minimum of three months. During this level, you will observe and handle under instruction at least 600 transits of the port.

Levels Two and Three last approximately eight months each. During these levels you will begin to handle smaller vessels on your own, while also observing and handling under instruction larger vessels.

Level Four last a minimum of six months but is expected to last at least 9 months and ends when the state issues a Pilot license. Prior to completing the Deputy Pilot Training Program, a successful Deputy Pilot will need to test again with the state of Florida and have completed at leasta 3250 ship movements in the port.

Caution: The Deputy Pilot training program at Port Everglades is very rigorous. A successful candidate will be expected to fully commit his/her time to the training program. While training as a Deputy Pilot, do not expect to have a substantial amount of free time.

The Training Program is subject to change without notice depending on the needs of the Association.

What fringe benefits does the Association offer?

After the first 90 days of service, Deputy Pilots receive comprehensive health benefits through our membership with Masters, Mates and Pilots. A Pilot must serve 20 years as a full Pilot (in addition to time served as a Deputy Pilot) in order to be eligible for retirement benefits from the Association. A Pilot must be 55 years old in order to receive retirement benefits. The Association maintains a mandatory retirement age of 65.

Additionally, each Pilot and Deputy Pilot is provided with a life insurance policy as well as license protection insurance. Pilots also receive disability protection through a self-insured program.

What are the working conditions for a full Pilot?

Full Pilots work either a four weeks on / four weeks off rotation or a two weeks on / two weeks off rotation with no extra time for vacation. Pilots stand a twelve hour watch seven days a week and are on call 24 hours a day when on watch. Frequently, an off duty Pilot will be required to work extra duty due to a surge in vessel traffic, illness or injury of an on-watch pilot, and business functions, etc. of another Pilot. Due to the rotating nature of our on-call system, adequate rest periods are provided before handling any ships.

In addition to working a regular watch schedule, a Pilot will have one or more collateral duties associated with running the business. Oftentimes, these collateral duties will take a considerable amount of time both on and off watch.

There are no docking masters/pilots in Port Everglades. Therefore, all incoming pilots will receive extensive training in both maneuvering and docking vessels. Port Everglades Pilots routinely perform all docking and un-docking maneuvers unless the Master specifically requests otherwise in accordance with Florida law.

Port Everglades has a very diverse mixture of ships calling upon it. The breakdown of vessels calling here is approximately:

30% tank vessels
30% container ships
30% passenger ships
10% naval vessels, bulk ships, neo-bulk ships

A full Pilot will normally pilot over 300 ships a year.

Where can I find additional information?
For further information about the procedure of becoming a pilot in Port Everglades, please consult the Candidate Information Book.published by the Board of Pilot Commissioners. For further information about piloting in Port Everglades, please contact our office.
How do I apply for a Port Everglades sponsored scholarship?

The Association currently offers a program to provide scholarship funds to eligible minority persons for the purpose of attending a maritime academy. The scholarship provides from $1000 - $5000 on an annual basis for legitimate educational expenses. It is renewable on an annual basis for up to four years of education at a maritime academy.

If you are interested in applying, please contact:

Port Everglades Pilots Association
P.O. Box 13017
Port Everglades, FL 33316

Revised: March 2, 2015