With an average safety performance record of 99.98 per cent, the BC Coast Pilots Ltd. (BCCP) is one of the most successful pilotage companies in the world. This doesn’t happen, pardon the poor choice of words, by accident. From tough entrance exams that require intimate knowledge of both vessel operations and the geography of Canada’s West Coast, to mandatory refresher and professional development training programs, to fitting in to a culture that is strong on professionalism and conscientiously committed to ensuring safe passage for ships in our waters, the BCCP is an asset to British Columbia’s coast that makes the marine industry proud. Representing the BCCP as President (on and off) for the last 10 years, Captain Fred Denning offers BC Shipping News readers a glimpse into the world of pilotage.
Photo above: Captain Fred Denning, President, BC Coast Pilots Ltd. (credit: Dave Roels, www.daveroels.com).
BCSN: To start, I’d like to understand the structure of the BCCP a bit better.
FD: Under the Canadian Pilotage Act, the Pacific Pilotage Authority (PPA) is mandated to provide pilots for the West Coast of Canada. To do this, they have two options: either by having employees, like the Fraser River pilots, or with “contract” pilots like the BCCP. The BC Coast Pilots Ltd. was formed in 1973 when the Act was changed based on recommendations from the Bernier Report on pilotage.
There are five areas with the PPA’s mandate. The Fraser River pilots cover Area 1 and we cover the remaining four areas that span over 15,000 miles of coast from Washington to Alaska.
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