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Focus on safety

The Laurentian Pilotage Authority is mandated under the Pilotage Act to “operate, maintain and manage, in the interest of navigation safety, an efficient pilotage service.”

In 2014, the LPA provided safe and efficient pilotage services without any major accidents for close to 22,400 missions and posted an accident-free rate of 99.92%.

A pilot licensed or certified by the Laurentian Pilotage Authority takes the conduct of every ship of a certain size navigating the St. Lawrence River between Les Escoumins and Montréal, or on the Saguenay River. When a ship requires pilotage services, the Authority is contacted and we assign a pilot (in some circumstances two pilots to the same ship), who meets and boards the ship where it enters the designated compulsory pilotage area.

In compliance with regulations, policies and procedures pertaining to the safety of pilotage activities, we consult with pilots and the maritime industry in setting guidelines that ships and pilots must follow to ensure that pilotage missions are completed safely and successfully.

Obtaining a pilot’s licence is a long process requiring years of experience, training, internships, and the successful completion of examinations. Anyone considering pilotage as a career can expect to study and navigate for nearly 10 years before applying to become an apprentice pilot. Once accepted for an apprenticeship, would-be pilots must accumulate nearly 300 missions under the supervision of a licenced pilot, complete a two-year program and pass challenging examinations before obtaining their licence.

The Laurentian Pilotage Authority draws on a pool of about 200 pilots belonging to two professional pilot associations. For missions between Les Escoumins and the Port of Québec or to a port on the Saguenay River, the LPA calls upon pilots of the Corporation des pilotes du Bas Saint-Laurent (CPBSL). For missions between the Port of Québec City and the western end of the Port of Montreal, including the entrance to the Seaway as far as the St. Lambert Lock, the LPA calls on members of the Corporation des pilotes du Saint-Laurent Central (CPSLC).