Southeast Alaska Pilots' Association, Ketchikan, Alaska Sea Pilots, Marine Pilots for Southeast Alaska




Yacht Information

Tongass Narrows
Waterway Guide

SE Alaska
Waterway Guide

Tracy Arm/Endicott
Arm Agreement

Training Program

SEAPA Tide Book

NOAA Weather

VHF Marine Radio

Maritime Security

Links of Interest

Pilot Ladders

Safety Info






Please make $50 application fee check out to SEA PILOTS, INC.

The information contained herein is provided to assist potential Trainee Applicants in their understanding of the Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Association (SEAPA) and the requirements for becoming a State of Alaska licensed marine pilot in Southeast Alaska. This information was last updated on October 17, 2007.

The Southeast Alaska Pilotís Association, established in 1971, is located in Ketchikan, Alaska. Presently, there are 41 fully-licensed Marine Pilots, 5 Deputy Marine Pilots, and 10 Trainees. SEAPAís mission is to provide superior professional pilotage in order to increase maritime safety and efficiency while protecting the Southeast Alaska environment and providing increased vigilance for maritime security.

In the course of our duties, we pilot a wide variety of ships; including the largest cruise ships on the United States west coast (113,000 gross tons and 951 feet length overall), miscellaneous cargo vessels (primarily log and ore ships Ė mostly in the 500 to 600 feet overall length), US Military vessels (including various Navy and Coast Guard ships), specialized vessels (such as cable layers, research vessels, survey ships) and large yachts (the size of small ships).

By State of Alaska statute, SEAPAís pilots are independent contractors who operate in association to facilitate dispatch, safety, and efficiency in the provision of pilotage services. As independent contractors, individual Pilots are responsible for their own business licensing, retirement program and medical insurance.

The area of responsibility for SEAPA pilots includes Southeast Alaska from Dixon Entrance to Cape Spencer and Yakutat. Of the 23 maritime states, Alaska has the most extensive coastline with over 14,000 miles of shoreline in Southeast Alaska, and many environmentally sensitive areas; including National Parks, National Forest, National Monuments, critical habitat areas, etc. Southeast Alaska is considered one of the most challenging operating areas for pilotage in the country, with regularly occurring extreme tides (over 25í range), currents (up to 10 knots) and winds (well over 40 knots). The vastness and remoteness of our area is like none other in the nation, with limited communications and standby resources; therefore pilots in this area must be even more self-reliant than in the Lower 48. In 2007, Southeast Alaska Pilots were responsible for safely moving more than 853,654 passengers safely throughout Southeastís waters. This included the safe movement of over 35 million gross tons of passenger ships, across 291,529 miles of Southeast waterways, and over 1 million gross tons of cargo ships.

We have an extensive training program for new Pilots. The training program is unfunded, each Trainee is responsible for meeting their own costs in order to complete the training requirements. Depending on the category that a Trainee qualifies for entry, training takes an average of 5 to 7 years for completion to become a fully licensed Marine Pilot.

In general, Trainees will be required to complete: (1) United States Coast Guard Federal Pilotage requirements, (2) State of Alaska State Pilotage requirements, and (3) the Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Associationís Training Program.

To become a State of Alaska licensed Deputy Marine Pilot or Marine Pilot, an individual must first earn an endorsement of First Class Pilotage (Federal Pilotage) without tonnage restrictions for Southeast Alaska. The specific requirements for First Class Pilotage in Southeast Alaska can be found in the United States Coast Guard Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection for Southeast Alaska Application for Southeast Alaska Pilotage Package. A copy of the current requirements is available on the SEAPA website. Applicants are encouraged to review and familiarize themselves with the First Class Pilotage requirements, without tonnage restrictions, for Southeast Alaska.

The specific requirements of State of Alaska Marine Pilots are contained in the State Marine Pilot Statutes; AS 08.62 and the State Marine Pilot Regulations 12 AAC 56. Applicants are encouraged to review and familiarize themselves with the State requirements to become a State licensed Pilot.

The Southeast Alaska Pilotís Association Training Program, integrates the Federal and State requirements with Association requirements to into an over-encompassing Association Training Program. Prospective Applicants should ensure familiarity with all sources prior to making application.

In completing the application, Applicants should pay particular attention to the initial qualifying criteria and documentation requirements. Incomplete applications will be returned with a letter explaining the deficiencies and the individual will not be permitted to compete for a Training Position within the current advertised solicitation period. Applications will be accepted only on the SEAPA application form, including all required documentation and the application fee. All applications must be post-marked on or before the February 8, 2008. Applications post-marked after that date will not be considered. Applications may be sent electronically, and must be sent on or before February 8, 2008 to Applicants are responsible for all costs associated with completion and submission of applications. An investigation of Applicant background history will be conducted. The application fee of $50.00 is for processing of applications, background checks, experience verification, etc. and is non-refundable.

If an Applicant meets the qualifying criteria, the Applicant will receive a letter from the Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Association informing them of their status as a Trainee Candidate and of the specific requirements; including individual exam date, location and cost for each Candidate. All Candidate agility tests, written examinations and bridge simulations will be conducted during the week of March 10-14, 2008 in Seattle, Washington. Potential Candidates must be available during that time period, there are no exceptions. All costs incurred in the Trainee Candidate evaluation and selection process will be borne by the Trainee Candidate. The typical costs for Trainee selection may include, but not be limited to, applicable lodging and transportation to Seattle Washington (the location of the testing facilities), the cost of the physical agility test, the written examination and the bridge simulation. The total expected costs of the three examinations are expected to be about $1,995, and will vary, depending on the number of candidates. The actual costs will be identified in the letter to Applicants informing them of their status as Candidates.

The application form, United States Coast Guard Southeast Federal Pilotage Package and State of Alaska Marine Pilot Statutes and Regulations are available in PDF format. A free Adobe Reader is required and can be safely downloaded at

Questions should be directed in writing to Responses will be posted on the SEAPA website under frequently asked questions (faq), available for all applicants to view. In accordance with AS 08.62.175(c)(4) and 12 AAC 56.310(c)(2), the Associationís policy is to follow a uniform, fair, open and nondiscriminatory process of Trainee selection.