Members of Puget Sound Pilots are continually enhancing and expanding their skills to ensure the highest possible level of expertise. This training goes far beyond what is required by law.

Risk Resource Management

When a pilot boards a vessel, he takes control of the navigation of ship and directs the actions of the ship’s crew and support tugs. To make that partnership run as smoothly as possible, pilots use the principles of Bridge Resource Management – how to effectively integrate the actions of the ship’s crew and the attending tugs. Puget Sound Pilots have developed a course in Risk Resource Management which takes basic Bridge Resource Management principles a step further. In RRM training, pilots train in a marine simulator where they are pushed to the outside limits of what can be done. The training focuses on early error chain detection and techniques for increasing situational awareness. Situational awareness is the crucial ability to sort through all of the input and determine what data is important given the ever changing circumstances found on a moving ship.


This multi-day course covers the theory and practice of using new technological advances in safe ship handling. The resources available to pilots change on a regular basis and this class helps pilots stay abreast of what this technology can – and cannot – do. Technology can provide valuable information, but it needs to be used properly so that it doesn’t become a distraction. The pilot must always be mindful that any piece of equipment can malfunction and may not be available.

Escort Tug Training

As a safety measure, loaded tankers traveling through our waters must be accompanied by escort tugs to prevent grounding in the event of mechanical failure. Working with tug and tanker companies, members of Puget Sound Pilots helped develop a class in Escort Tug Training. In this simulator class – attended by pilots, tanker captains and tug captains – the three groups work together to discover and practice the best practices that can be employed in providing tug escorts to loaded tankers.


Today’s modern cruise ships and oil tankers use specialized propulsion and control systems. Azipods are diesel-electric propulsion units and Kamewa is a control system that coordinates all of a vessel’s propulsion and steering systems. Our pilots’ continuing education includes ongoing hands-on training in these technologies.