Located at the mouth of the harbor, the pilot office is fully equipped for around-the-clock vessel operations. State law requires at least three hours notice but 12-24 hours notice is typical. A dispatcher is available 24 hours a day to receive orders and arrange pilotage for vessels arriving and leaving the port.
Outfitted with a modern communications center, we monitor local conditions in real time to ensure the safest service for vessels calling on the Port of Charleston. Our custom vessel traffic system tracks all vessels in port. With a National Weather Service station onsite, and regular weather readings offshore, we have up-to-the minute information on current conditions. NOAA’s real-time reporting of tide levels and current air drafts at the bridges help ensure safe transits.
Our fleet of pilot boats is maintained by a full-time engineer, with enough back-up and replacement parts to ensure operations will not be interrupted by a vessel’s mechanical issues. An extensive dock and private fueling facility allow for total self-sufficiency, which is critical when regaining operations after natural disasters or other incidents. Please note that none of these costs are borne by the citizens of South Carolina, but are funded by fees paid by vessels calling on the port.