Maritime Pilots: Navigating a River of Dangers.

Georgia B. Day

Maritime workers, especially those who work on vessels, have dangerous jobs. Even the smallest error can lead to a serious injury or even death. Seamen live and work in small spaces crammed with equipment. They work long hours and frequently work in bad weather conditions. All of this, plus, in some instances, lack of safety procedures, proper maintenance or training, makes maritime work a treacherous if lucrative, business.

River and Bar Pilots

River and bar pilots are specially-trained mariners that guide vessels through congested or hazardous waters. They usually work on pilot boats in harbors or near river mouths. Harbors are especially dangerous areas to work because of the heavy traffic of other boats and large ships. For example, the Port of South Louisiana is one of the largest volume ports in the United States. Each year, 500 million tons of goods are shipped through the Port of New Orleans, making the Mississippi River barge port system one of the most significant to national trade.

Navigating in river mouths is also difficult due to the changing water speeds and the current flowing into a lake or sea. In the headwaters of the Mississippi, the surface speed of the water is about 1.2 miles per hour. At New Orleans, however, the river flows at about three miles per hour. But that doesn’t mean that the speed is constant. It changes as the water levels rise or fall and in places where the river widens, narrows, becomes more shallow, or some combination of these factors. A river or bar pilot has to be able to handle and adjust to all of these conditions—and more.

All of this makes piloting a boat difficult and dangerous. Many pilots are seriously injured or killed on the job every year.

Rivers are also difficult to operate in because they are either heavily trafficked by large ships of all types or tricky to navigate due to the river’s current flowing into a lake or the sea. Common injuries suffered by river and bar pilots include fractures caused by falls, especially while transferring from one vessel to another. Falling overboard is also a common danger pilots face.

River or bar pilots who are injured on the job because of unseaworthiness of the vessel or the negligence of others may be eligible for compensation under general maritime law, the Jones Act, and in some cases, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act.

To Find Out What Your Rights Are, Contact Us.

At the Day Law Group, we handle maritime injury cases. We offer FREE consultations and we have offices in Baton Rouge. We also serve Baker, Denham, Gonzales, Port Allen, Prairieville, New Orleans, and Zachary. Call 225-200-0000 ToDay to schedule your free consultation or contact us here.

Recent Posts



Justin A. Day

A proud graduate of Southern University Law Center and former president of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Justin is best known for providing his clients with the personal attention they need while fighting hard to get them the compensation they deserve. Justin and his team are not afraid to take on the tough cases or fight the good fight. Dedicated and tenacious, for over 18 years, Justin has consistently achieved superior results for the clients he serves.

Bar Admission

  • Louisiana
Georgia B. Day

Georgia B. Day

Georgia B. Day is an experienced personal injury and worker’s compensation attorney. A former Administrative Law Judge for the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Georgia is driven by a desire to obtain justice for individuals injured in the workplace and those who have been injured due to the carelessness of others. Georgia takes pride in providing her clients with the best possible representation. Polished and professional, Georgia is best known for her excellent work ethic, obtaining superior results, and her responsiveness to clients.

Bar Admission

  • Louisiana

Contact Us

Day Law Group Office Location

Contact Us

Choose Day Law Group

Fields marked with an * are required

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.