Pilotage and Flags
Pilotage is the use of fixed references over sea or the land, by means of sight or a radar device, to guide oneself to a destination port. Pilotage can be done by the use of maps or navigational charts. Pilotages are used in aircrafts, dynamic positioning vessels, cable laying vessels, and scuba divers. It may not be possible all the time to use these visual references and during such occasions, alternate means of navigation can be done by the use of devices like the G.P.S, dead reckoning, etc. Pilotage entirely depends upon every individual Pilot, with their ability to make visual references and markings. Due to adverse weather conditions and during the times of poor visibility, it is not possible to make visual references. In such cases, Pilots use the combination of all the electronic devices and satellite systems.
Some of the visual features may be on the land or at the sea and some may be visible only during day time and some are natural and some are man made.
Natural Features: These may include mountains, hills, cliffs, lakes, valleys, rivers etc.
Man-Made features: Sea marks, land marks, airports, cities and dams.
Man made: lighthouses, sea marks with lights, etc.
Pilot Boat: A normal Pilot boat may be of the size range of about 1000 ton to usually a low displacement small boat, but capable to cruising up to 30 knots, usually operating at the port or at the river mouths and estuaries.
Flags are even though less used these days, with the more preferred use of navigational lamps, are very essential during Pilotage or when a ship is under the control of Pilot. Some of the flags which are usually used during the Pilotage are displayed below and click them to know their description and meaning..!