Southeast Alaska Pilots' Association, Ketchikan, Alaska Sea Pilots, Marine Pilots for Southeast Alaska




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See below or PRINT Instruction and Background Information

Please enclose a $50 application fee made out to SE Alaska Pilotsí Association

The Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Association has scheduled an exam for new Trainees to be held at the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle from March 20-24, 2017.  Basic details of the application process are outlined on this page.  The exam fee for simulator and classroom time at PMI is expected to be about $2,500 and will be payable to them. 




1)     Absolutely no phone calls should be made to the SEAPA Business Office.
All questions should be directed to

2)     All applications must be postmarked on or before February 6, 2017.Applications postmarked after that date will not be considered.Applications may be sent electronically, on or before February 6, 2017 to

3)     All candidates MUST be able to qualify for a USCG Pilotage endorsement without tonnage restriction.  If the applicant has seatime that may be applicable (i. e. combined tug and tow,), but does not currently hold an Unlimited license, they will need to provide proof from the USCG Regional Exam Center in Juneau, AK that they will be allowed to be endorsed.


This page and FAQís will be updated periodically
as more information becomes available.

The information contained herein is provided to assist potential Trainee Applicants in their understanding of the Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Association (SEAPA) and the requirements for becoming a State of Alaska licensed marine pilot in Southeast Alaska.This information was last updated on August 18, 2016.

The Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Association, established in 1971, is located in Ketchikan, Alaska. Presently, there are 47 fully licensed Marine Pilots, 1 Deputy Marine Pilot, and 7 Trainees.SEAPAís mission is to provide superior professional pilotage in order to increase maritime safety and efficiency while protecting the Southeast Alaska environment and providing increased vigilance for maritime security.

In the course of our duties, we pilot a wide variety of ships; including the largest cruise ships on the US west coast (137,000 gross tons with a length of 1021 ft and beam of 126 ft), miscellaneous cargo vessels (primarily log and ore ships of 500-600 ft length), US Military vessels (including various Navy and Coast Guard ships), specialized vessels (such as cable layers, research vessels, and survey ships), and large yachts (some in excess of 400 ft length).

By State of Alaska statute, SEAPAís pilots are independent contractors who operate in association to facilitate dispatch, safety, and efficiency in the provision of pilotage services.As independent contractors, individual Pilots are responsible for their own business licensing, retirement program, and medical insurance.

The area of responsibility for SEAPA pilots includes Southeast Alaska from Dixon Entrance to Cape Spencer and Yakutat.Of the 23 maritime states, Alaska has the most extensive coastline with over 14,000 miles of shoreline in Southeast Alaska.Much of that coastline is in environmentally sensitive areas including National Parks, National Forest, National Monuments, and critical habitat areas.Southeast Alaska is considered one of the most challenging operating areas for pilotage in the country with regularly occurring extreme tides (over 25í range), currents (up to 10 kts), and winds (well over 40 kts).The vastness and remoteness of our area is like none other in the nation, with limited communications and standby resources; therefore pilots in this area must be even more self-reliant than in the lower 48.

In 2015, Southeast Alaska Pilots were responsible for safely moving more than 960,000 passengers throughout the areas waters.This included the safe movement of almost 38 million gross tons of passenger ships over 277,500 miles.Additionally, we moved almost 500,000 gross tons of cargo through 6 ports.

We have an extensive training program for new Pilots.The training program is unfunded. Each Trainee is responsible for meeting their own costs in order to complete the training requirements.Depending on the category that a Trainee qualifies for entry, initial training takes an average of 2 to 4 years for completion, with an additional 3 years serving as a Deputy Marine Pilot before becoming a fully licensed Marine Pilot.

In general, Trainees will be required to complete: (1) Unites States Coast Guard Federal Pilotage requirements, (2) State of Alaska Pilotage requirements, and (3) the Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Association Training Program.

To become a State of Alaska licensed Deputy Marine Pilot or Marine Pilot, an individual must first earn an endorsement of First Class Pilotage (Federal Pilotage) without tonnage restrictions for Southeast Alaska.The specific requirements for First Class Pilotage in Southeast Alaska can be found in the United States Coast Guard Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection for Southeast Alaska Application for Southeast Alaska Pilotage Package.A copy of the current requirements is available on the SEAPA website.Applicants are encouraged to review and familiarize themselves with these requirements.

The specific requirements of State of Alaska Marine Pilots are contained in the State Marine Pilot Statutes; AS 08.62 and the State Marine Pilot Regulations 12 AAC 56.Applicants are encouraged to review and familiarize themselves with these requirements.

The Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Association Training Program integrates the Federal and State requirements with Association requirements into an all-encompassing Training Program.Prospective Applicants should ensure familiarity with all sources prior to making application.

In completing the application, Applicants should pay particular attention to the initial qualifying criteria and documentation requirements. Incomplete applications will be returned with a letter explaining the deficiencies.Applications will only be accepted on the SEAPA application form, including all required documentation and the application fee.All applications must be postmarked on or before February 6, 2017. Applications postmarked after that date will not be considered.Applications may be sent electronically, on or before February 6, 2017, to are responsible for all costs associated with completion and submission of applications. An investigation of Applicant background history will be conducted.The application fee of $50.00 is for the processing of applications, background checks, experience verification, etc. and is non-refundable.

If an Applicant meets the qualifying criteria, the Applicant will receive a letter from the Southeast Alaska Pilotsí Association informing them of their status as a Trainee Candidate and of the specific requirements including exam date, location, and cost for each Candidate.All Candidate agility tests, written examinations, and bridge simulations will be conducted during the week of March 20-24, 2017 at Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle, WA.Potential Candidates must be available during that entire time period.There are no exceptions.All costs incurred in the Trainee Candidate evaluation and selection process will be borne by the Trainee Candidate.The typical costs for Trainee selection may include, but not be limited to, applicable transportation and lodging to the location of the testing facilities, the cost of the physical agility test, the written examination, and the bridge simulation.The actual costs for the three examinations will be identified in the letter to Applicants informing them of their status as Candidates.

The application form, US Coast Guard Southeast Alaska Federal Pilotage Package, and State of Alaska Marine Pilot Statutes and Regulations are available in PDF format.A free Adobe Reader is required and can be safely downloaded at

Questions should be directed in writing to Responses will be posted on the SEAPA website under frequently asked questions (FAQ), and available for all applicants to view.

In accordance with AS 08.62.175(c)(4) and 12 AAC 56.310(c)(2), the Associationís policy is to follow a uniform, fair, open, and non-discriminatory process of Trainee selection.