Scilly’s Newest Ship’s Pilot Reaches Significant Step In Training

St Mary's Harbourmaster, Dale Clark

St Mary’s Harbourmaster, Dale Clark

The St Mary’s Harbourmaster has taken a significant step in becoming a fully trained ship’s pilot.

Dale Clarke has just qualified to pilot ships up to 5,000 gross tonnes – that’s around the size of smaller cruise vessels like the Island Sky.

Scilly’s pilotage district covers a 5-mile radius from the southern tip of Samson, and all large vessels entering these waters, other than warships and Trinity House boats, must use a pilot.

He’s had to learn the routes through St Mary’s Sound, The Roads, the Northwest Passage and Crow Sound around the top of islands.

Dale says he spent the summer developing his skills.

While he was able to take charge of vessels, he had to be accompanied by the two existing qualified pilots, Jeremy Philips and Steve Hicks.

He’ll now be able to go solo on the smaller vessels, while working his way up in 5,000 tonne steps to the largest ones.

Dale will be operating as an independent pilot and will effectively be employed by the Duchy when they need his services.

He doesn’t feel that will come into conflict with his full time position as the Duchy harbourmaster.

He says many small ports across the country have this type of arrangement with harbourmasters doubling as ship’s pilots.