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Our team of over 100 pilots board and guide more than 10,000 ships through the Port of London every year.

Recruitment of experienced master mariners to become specialist Thames navigational pilots is helping the Port of London Authority keep river trade flowing.

Four trainee pilots recently joined the PLA to start an intensive, six-month course, with more set to follow in their footsteps this summer.

The quartet of new starters are, from left, Joshua Tanton (from Louth in Lincolnshire), Matthew Lloyd (from Poulton le Fylde, Lancashire), Peter Smith (from Brightlingsea, Essex) and Iain Lovell (from Merstham, Surrey).
Our Pilotage department ensures the effective and economic provision of pilotage services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The services of a pilot can be requested by the master of any vessel irrespective of whether Pilotage is compulsory.
A PEC may be granted to a vessel’s master when they fulfil criteria showing a capacity to safely manage their vessel.

This area of the site is reserved for registered Port of London Authority pilots.

Contact information for our Pilotage management team.

Current costs associated with our services can be found in the PLA Charges 2021.


Would you like to pilot some of the biggest ships in the world along one of the world’s most famous rivers?
It’s a challenging career that requires rigour, determination and commitment. You’ll be responsible for vessels from all over the world.
Our stringent recruitment process has five stages. This helps ensure that candidates are well-suited to what can be a very demanding role.
During your training, we will provide ongoing professional support, as you acquire the skills needed to become a Port of London pilot.
The role means a long and rewarding career on the tidal River Thames.
Frequently asked questions about a career as a PLA pilot.