Application Procedure

The qualifications to enter the pool of qualified applicants (“Pilot Pool”) for appointment as Deputy Branch Pilot are specified by state law and by the Rules adopted by the Board of Pilot Commissioners for Harris County Ports.

To be eligible to enter into the Pilot Pool, a person must::

  • (1)  be at least twenty five (25) and less than sixty eight (68) years of age;
    (2)  be a United States citizen;
    (3)  be in good mental and physical health;
    (4)  have good moral character;
    (5)  be licensed under federal law, with requirements for service experience and tonnage as defined in CFR Title 46, Chapter I, Subchapter B, Part 11, Subpart G, or its successor regulations, holding at minimum, either:
    (6)  unlimited deck officer license with radar observer (unlimited) endorsement, with at least six (6) years sea-going experience; or
    (7)  a one thousand six hundred (1,600) ton license (master or mate) with radar observer (unlimited) endorsement, with at least six (6) years inland operating experience.
    (8)  if the license held, a person must meet the qualifications of either (a) or (b) below:


a.  Harbor Assist. Demonstrate the following harbor-assist tug qualifications (as may be revised by written directive of the United States Coast Guard (“USCG”) Captain of the Port (Houston-Galveston): completion of at least one thousand three hundred and fifty (1,350) eight-hour days or nine hundred (900) twelve-hour days of service in the deck department, standing regular watches at the wheel or in the pilothouse, as part of routine duties on-board harbor-assist tugs over one hundred (100) gross tons, operating upon the Houston Ship Channel from the Galveston Sea Buoy to the Port Authority Turning Basin, of which total, at least seven hundred and twenty (720) eight-hour days, or four hundred and eighty (480) twelve-hour days, must be in the capacity of master or mate.

b.  Other. An Applicant with a master of towing license may provide acceptable alternative qualifications authorized by the USCG Chief of the Regional Exam Center through written directive.

To enter the Pilot Pool an applicant must provide the following for consideration by the Pilot Board Application Review Committee:

(1)  Deputy Branch Pilot Application;
(2)  Governor Appointment Application;
(3)  Copy of birth certificate or other proof of age acceptable to the ARC;
(4)  Proof of U.S. Citizenship;
(5)  Doctor’s complete written report of a medical evaluation on the USCG Merchant Mariner Credential Medical Evaluation Report Form (USCG form CG-719K, or its equivalent) (“CG-719K”), performed within ninety (90) calendar days of application, showing “Fit for Duty,” in accordance with the instructions on the form;
(6)  Original drug screen report performed within ninety (90) calendar days of application;
(7)  Release(s) authorizing a complete background check and release of USCG records of the Applicant regarding all matters pertinent to the position of Deputy Branch Pilot, such check to be conducted by the Compliance Coordinator pursuant to requirements adopted by the ARC from time to time.
(8)  Copy of valid Merchant Mariner Credential (“MMC”);
(9)  United States Coast Guard Release Form;
(10)  Evidence that the applicant has at least six years sea-going experience as an unlimited licensed deck officer, or six years inland operating experience and a 1,600-ton master’s license.;

1080 eight-hour days or 720 twelve-hour days of actual sea service or boat time over this six year period is also required. Properly documented 12-hour days will count as 1.5 days for the purposes of the total day count; cadet time does not count towards sea service for this application.

Evidence of experience or sea time can be shown in any of three ways:

  • Letter of service from employer
  • USCG shipboard discharges
  • Military Record of Sea Service

A summary sheet of days of service is required.

(11)  Evidence of at least two (2) years’ experience on the Houston Ship Channel between Galveston Bar and Turning Basin, Houston, Texas.

In lieu of the experience required above, the Applicant may draw with reference an accurate chart of the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bar showing all prominent features of the route, courses, aids-to-navigation, depths, widths, Vessel Traffic System reporting points, and other features between the Galveston Sea Buoy and Port Authority Turning Basin.

The Pilot Board Application Review Committee examines all applications and supporting documents, and performs background checks on applicants. If all the application criteria are met, and the applicant is determined qualified, the application is forwarded to the Houston Pilots Association, who places it in the Pilot Pool, for consideration for an appointment as a Deputy Branch Pilot when a vacancy occurs. After five years, an applicant that has not been appointed as a Deputy Branch Pilot must reapply to the Application Review Committee for the opportunity to remain in the pool. All necessary forms should be completed, signed, and returned to:

  • Board of Pilot Commissioners for Harris County Ports
    Application Review Committee
    P.O. Box 2562
    Houston, Texas 77252-2562
    Attn: Pilot Administration

 

APPLICATION CHECKLIST

1. Checklist
2. Deputy Branch Pilot Application
3. Governor Appointment Application
4. Copy of birth certificate or other proof of age acceptable to the ARC
5. Proof of U.S. Citizenship
6. Doctor’s complete written report of a medical evaluation on the USCG Merchant Mariner Credential Medical Evaluation Report Form (USCG form CG-719K, or its equivalent) (“CG-719K”), performed within ninety (90) calendar days of application, showing “Fit for Duty,” in accordance with the instructions on the form
7. Original drug screen report performed within ninety (90) calendar days of application
8. Copy of valid Merchant Mariner Credential (“MMC”)
9. Coast Guard Release Formform must be either notarized or signed by a witness
10. Evidence of at least two (2) years’ experience on the Houston Ship Channel between Galveston Bar and Turning Basin, Houston, Texas
11. Evidence of Sea Service

Any questions?  Please contact:

M. Tyler Gavis
713-670-2542
mgavis@poha.com