A brief summary of your services will tell us...
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 South Carolina state licensed pilot on all foreign registered vessels and all vessels engaged in foreign commerce, and federal law requires a federally licensed pilot on U.S. registered vessels engaged in domestic trade. 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.
What regions do you serve?
Charleston Branch Pilots serve Charleston Harbor including 5 State Ports Authority Terminals, 7 private cargo terminals, 2 shipyards, 2 Federal Government facilities and 3 marinas.
What might we be surprised to know?
Most people do not realize that harbor pilots are on every cargo ship, every cruise ship, every foreign naval vessel, and even some U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels entering and leaving Charleston harbor. Harbor Pilots look out for the safety of the public, the environment, the flow of commerce, and mariners and port workers throughout the harbor.
What are you most proud of?
We are most proud of upholding and maintaining strict safety records and procedures to protect our environment and our port by ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods. Through our pilots’ work, we prevent major damage that could come to our waterways through accidents, oil and chemical spills or other catastrophic incidents that could cause irreparable harm to the ecosystem and catastrophic economic hardship to South Carolina's manufacturing and trade.
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