As a full service pilot organization, Charleston Branch Pilots provide pilotage services to vessels engaged in domestic and foreign trade. All members are both state and federally licensed for unlimited tonnage throughout the Port of Charleston.
State law requires a pilot on all foreign registered vessels, and U.S.-registered vessels engaged in international trade and with a draft greater than 11 feet. Further, the U.S. Coast Guard requires vessels over 100 net tons that are inspected by the Coast Guard and in domestic trade to take a pilot.
Pilot boardings take place approximately 15 miles offshore of Sullivan’s Island. Upon boarding the ship, a pilot will conduct a brief inspection, become acquainted with the captain and senior crew, and give orders to steer the vessel into the entrance channel, through the harbor, and to the appropriate berth. When vessels depart, a pilot is aboard to provide the same service in reverse, and allow for vessels to safely continue to their next port of call.
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