Pilotage Service

The Sandy Hook Pilot Associations provide pilotage services to all foreign flag vessels and American vessels under register (regulated vessels) entering or departing the Port of New York/New Jersey, the Hudson River, the East River, Atlantic City, Jamaica Bay, and Long Island Sound as required by state law. Pilotage is provided on a 24-hour basis, 365 days of the year in all weather conditions and port circumstances.

Ordering a Pilot

Pilot orders are normally placed by locally based ship agents/representatives who maintain established accounts with the Sandy Hook Pilots. Orders for arriving vessels must be placed no less the 24 hours prior to arrival at pilot station. Orders can be placed by telephoning our dispatch office 24 hours a day at 718-448-3900 Ext. 225 / 226. Orders cannot be accepted by email or other electronic means. Changes to arrival times must be received no later than 6 hours before scheduled arrival time.

Arrival & Pilot Embarkation at Ambrose Pilot Station

The Sandy Hook Pilots maintain a pilot vessel on station year round. Either the Pilot Boat New York or Pilot Boat New Jersey will be “On Station” and monitoring VHF channels 13, 16 and 73. Both vessels are equipped with AIS. Using a 53ft (16m) aluminum launch (America Class Boat), the pilot will be embarked from this vessel. The pilot launch carries the same lights as the pilot boats on station.

Vessels approaching the Ambrose Pilot Station from sea should confirm their arrival with the pilot boat a minimum of three hours advance notice. Please be ready to confirm the vessels length, draft and air draft. Vessels should make a second call to the pilot boat when they are one hour from the sea buoy. Pilot boarding side will be given at the time of the second call.

Pilot Ladder Requirements

  1. Arrangements shall be provided to enable the pilot to embark and disembark safely on either side of the ship.
  2. The rigging of the pilot transfer arrangements and the embarkation of a pilot shall be supervised by a responsible licensed deck officer having means of communication with the navigation bridge. The officer shall also arrange for the escort of the pilot by a safe route to and from the navigation bridge.
  3. The ladder must be made in one length and not consist of two lengths shackled or lashed together and should be equipped with spreaders about 10 feet (3m) apart.
  4. Whenever the distance from the surface of the water to the access point of the ship is more than 9 meters, an accommodation ladder in conjunction with a pilot ladder must be used. The accommodation ladder shall be sited leading aft and shall be secured to the hull. When in use, means shall be provided to secure the lower platform of the accommodation ladder to the ship’s side, so as to ensure that the lower end of the accommodation ladder and the lower platform are held firmly against the ship’s side and the pilot ladder remains against the ship’s side.
  5. In the case of a combination arrangement where the accommodation ladder is fitted with a trap door in the bottom platform, the pilot ladder shall be rigged up through the trap door and extend above the platform to the height of the handrail.
  6. Adequate lighting shall be provided to illuminate the transfer arrangements alongside and the position on the deck where a pilot embarks and disembarks.
  7. Trailing lines or retrieving lines must not be attached to the lower ends of the ladder.
  8. Ladders must be rigged well clear of the water, clear of any discharge outlets, and at a place near midships.
  9. Means shall be provided to ensure safe and unobstructed passage for any person embarking or disembarking the ship between the head of the pilot ladder and the ship’s deck. Adequate handholds or two rigidly secured handhold stanchions shall be fitted.
  10. Vessels must comply with SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 23 – Pilot Transfer Arrangements.
  11. The pilot ladder shall be rigged 1.5 meters above the water’s edge. A heaving line must be available.