April 03, 2020

Harbour Master

The Harbour Master is the custodian of all aspects of safety of waterways and navigation within the port.

This highly responsible and demanding position ensures that all ships visiting the port comply with local and international regulations and that their safety, whilst visiting or passing the port, is ensured. The position requires significant experience and knowledge of the port and maritime environments.

From the initial information provided by the ship, the Harbour Master will need to allocate a suitable berth and apply any restrictions needed to ensure the safe berthing of the vessel. They will designate a safe pilot-boarding area and provide a passage plan for the ship at every stage of its movement from the pilot station to arriving alongside the quayside. A good knowledge of the various types of vessels calling at the port is necessary. The success or otherwise of a ship’s stay in a port ultimately relates to the level of service provided by The Harbour Master’s team.

The Harbour Master also plays a key role in the development and implementation of a safety management system which manages the hazards and risks associated with port operations along with any preparations for emergencies.


Key tasks:

•Manage team of pilots and tug masters including allocation of duties and training.

•Recruit marine personnel and update records.

•Manage Vessel Traffic Services (VTS).
•Ensure safety of navigation through the planning of all vessels and movements.
•Manage pollution control in the port.
•Coordinate response to incidents in port and emergency situations.

•Liaise with relevant government agencies, statutory bodies and emergency services.
•Implement port procedures.


Entry requirements/training:
A Harbour Master usually has a marine background as a senior ranking seafarer with an added Diploma in Port Management or a Harbour Master Certificate. They have usually also had experience as a tug master and pilot within a port. A post graduate degree in management or business is also useful.


Career advancement:

Further advancement within the port management structure is available to Harbour Masters who gain additional business skills.