These photos show the Liverpool Pilot boats moored up close to the Caribbean Princess near the Cruise Liner terminal at the Pier Head on the River Mersey.
Liverpool pilot boats have been working the River Mersey since at least the 1760s. They perform a very important role for the safe passage of ships. River pilots have an intimate knowledge of the dangers of the Mersey which helps ships enter in and out of Liverpool Port without bumping into things they shouldn't or landing on places they mustn't land. There are some really big ships out there, they can cause an awful lot of damage if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time !
The pilots know where the sandbanks are, how the tides and currents affect a ship's movements. This a ship's captain from far away lands would have difficulty in knowing. The pilots meet ships, depending on the weather, out at the Liverpool Bar, 16 miles out to sea. They have to climb a rope ladder from their pilot boat, often in turbulent seas, as the is no other way to get on board the ship to be piloted.
They now go out to ships in the latest high powered modern vessels, using the latest technology. In the past it was by rowing and sailing boat using local knowledge and basic common sense. Throughout their vital history their role has changed little.
If you have any memories, anecdotes or comments about the Liverpool Pilots they would be gratefully received in the feedback form below.