As independent professionals, maritime pilots are autonomous and are normally alone with the ship’s bridge team when undertaking their vital role of conducting ships in and out of port. One consequence of such autonomy is that pilots and their work is rarely documented and so very few outside our profession understand what we do. Whilst maritime publications occasionally feature articles on pilotage any photographs are usually standard images of pilots on pilot ladders embarking or disembarking.

It was therefore with interest that I obtained a review copy of Navigators of Teisa which is a book of photographs documenting the Tees pilots at work. The photographs capture the atmosphere of everyday piloting. There are no bright, sunny office staff tripping days out here! Leaden skies and gloomy cold wet weather dominate the images and David Jones has successfully captured the tension and occasional loneliness of our career within the 50 pages. There are no captions which I personally find beneficial since the images speak for themselves. A comprehensive introduction by Teesbay Pilots’ Chairman, Brendan Richardson details the pilots role and the type of ships and their cargoes which is all that’s required. At the end of the book all 32 pilots serving in 2009 are named within their relevant watches.

Photo: David Jack Jones

Although Tees specific this book provides a unique insight into the daily work of the pilot and in addition to the pleasure gained from viewing the photographs it can also be useful to any pilot wishing to explain our role to outsiders.


Navigators of Teisa (ISBN 978 0 9563066 0 9) by

David Jones is available priced £14.99 from

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