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





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See below or PRINT Instruction and Background Information

Please enclose a $50 application fee made out to Sea Pilots, Inc and mail to SEA Pilots, 1621 Tongass Avenue, Suite 300, Ketchikan, AK 99901.  Applications sent via email to will not be considered until the $50 application fee is received. 

The Southeast Alaska Pilots’ Association will hold examinations to select new trainees from March 4 – 8, 2019, at the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) in Seattle. The cost of simulator time is expected to be between $2,500 and $3,000 per applicant, payable to PMI.  Note:


(1)    Absolutely no phone calls should be made to the SEAPA office.  All questions should be directed to

(2)    All applications must be postmarked or e-mailed before January 15, 2019.

(3)    All candidates MUST be able to qualify for a USCG First Class Pilotage endorsement without tonnage restriction.  If the applicant has sea time that may be applicable (e.g. combined tug and tow) but does not currently hold an unlimited tonnage license, they will need to provide proof from the USCG Regional Exam enter in Juneau, Alaska, they qualify for First Class Pilotage without tonnage restriction.

(4)    Interested persons are encouraged to schedule a three-day visit to Ketchikan to learn more about the area and the nature of the job.  The ideal time to make this visit is mid-September, 2018.


This page and FAQ’s will be updated periodically as needed.


The information contained herein is provided to assist potential Trainee Applicants in their understanding of the Southeast Alaska Pilots’ Association (SEAPA) and the requirements for becoming a State of Alaska licensed marine pilot in Southeast Alaska.  This information was last updated on 12 June 2018.

The Southeast Alaska Pilots’ Association, established in 1971, is located in Ketchikan, Alaska. Presently, there are 47 fully licensed Marine Pilots, 1 Deputy Marine Pilot, and 7 Trainees.  SEAPA’s 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 US west coast (168,028 gross tons with a length of 1094 ft and beam of 135 ft), miscellaneous cargo vessels (primarily log and ore ships of 500-600 ft length), US Military vessels (including various Navy and Coast Guard ships), specialized vessels (such as cable layers, research vessels, and survey ships), and large yachts (some in excess of 400 ft length).

By State of Alaska statute, SEAPA’s 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.  Much of that coastline is in environmentally sensitive areas including National Parks, National Forest, National Monuments, and critical habitat areas.  Southeast Alaska is considered one of the most challenging operating areas for pilotage in the country with regularly occurring extreme tides (over 25’ range), currents (up to 10 kts), and winds (well over 40 kts).  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 2015, Southeast Alaska Pilots were responsible for safely moving more than a million passengers throughout the areas waters.  This included the safe movement of almost 38 million gross tons of passenger ships over 277,500 miles.  Additionally, we moved almost 500,000 gross tons of cargo through 6 ports.

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, initial training takes an average of 2 to 4 years for completion, with an additional 3 years serving as a Deputy Marine Pilot before becoming a fully licensed Marine Pilot.

In general, Trainees will be required to complete: (1) Unites States Coast Guard Federal Pilotage requirements, (2) State of Alaska Pilotage requirements, and (3) the Southeast Alaska Pilots’ Association 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 these requirements.

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 these requirements.

The Southeast Alaska Pilots’ Association Training Program integrates the Federal and State requirements with Association requirements into an all-encompassing 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.  Applications will only be accepted on the SEAPA application form, including all required documentation and the application fee.  All applications must be postmarked on or before January 15, 2019. Applications postmarked after that date will not be considered.  Applications may be sent electronically, on or before January 15, 2019, 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 the 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 Pilots’ Association informing them of their status as a Trainee Candidate and of the specific requirements including 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 4-8, 2019 at Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle, WA.  Potential Candidates must be available during that entire 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 transportation and lodging to the location of the testing facilities, the cost of the physical agility test, the written examination, and the bridge simulation.  The actual costs for the three examinations will be identified in the letter to Applicants informing them of their status as Candidates.

The application form, US Coast Guard Southeast Alaska 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), and available for all applicants to view.

In accordance with AS 08.62.175(c)(4) and 12 AAC 56.310(c)(2), the Association’s policy is to follow a uniform, fair, open, and non-discriminatory process of Trainee selection.