September 24, 2010
Today I attended the Board of Pilot Commissioners meeting in Panama City. Harbor pilots are licensed by DBPR, and they are the professionals who safely guide water vessels through Florida’s ports. The pilots are only licensed for the port they serve. There are eleven ports in Florida: Key West, Everglades, Miami, Palm Beach, Canaveral, Tampa, Fort Pierce, Fernandina Beach, Jacksonville, Panama City and Pensacola.
One of the most impressive aspects of their job is their familiarity with the ports. They’re aware of the channel depths, currents, shoaling, wind and more. Each pilot is an expert in his or her port, this expertise allows ships to be guided safely into Florida’s ports. Harbor pilots’ jobs directly relate to our economy—they guide enormous cargo ships and cruise ships in and out of Florida, providing Florida with goods from other parts of the world and giving tourists an opportunity to enjoy Florida.
It was a pleasure getting to know the members of the Board of Pilot Commissioners and discuss issues relevant to their field. Next time you’re about to enjoy a glass of French wine or drive a foreign car, take a minute to think about the individuals who made it possible—our harbor pilots.