We had the chance to sit down and talking with Captain Bryson, a harbor pilot in the St. John’s River in Jacksonville, Florida.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’ve been a harbor pilot for Jacksonville for 20 years. I graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1977. I began my formal maritime training at the age of 12 on the sailing ship Joseph Conrad. And I started sailing as Master at the age of 26 on [0:24] vessels and on ocean-going vessels at the age of 31. In the years between graduation from the Academy and my promotion to Master, I sailed as deck officer on vessels worldwide and primarily as chief officer. And I maintained a commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve as well. I served as President of the Local Saint John’s Bar Pilot Association here in Jacksonville, as well as the Florida Harbor Pilots Association. Currently I serve on the Board of Pilot Commissioners for the state of Florida.
2. What exactly does a harbor pilot do?
Pilots for the state of Florida are independent contractors that belong to member associations within the state’s pilot region. We’re responsible for directing and controlling the movement of vessels, cargo and cruise vessels into and out of Florida’s 14 deep-water ports. As harbor pilots, our duty to act in the public interest and maintain independent judgment from any outside influence that could jeopardize public safety.