Harbour Masters use “local knowledge” to inform their decision making regarding the manner and circumstances in which commercial vessels are permitted to enter and leave their ports. Geographical configurations of the port, prevailing weather conditions, port water depths, and the height and strength of the local tides are some of the factors that a Harbour Master considers whilst formulating an admission policy for commercial vessels wishing to enter and leave the port.
Harbour Masters specify to great detail their entry requirements which include safest approaches to a port, pilot boarding ground and details of advance notifications to be given to the port prior to arrival.
The arrival of a commercial vessel into a port anywhere in the world is always a planned event. Notification of the vessel’s arrival sometimes begins weeks before the actual arrival.
Harbour Masters normally designate a safe pilot boarding area where the vessel boards her Pilot who then subsequently communicates with the Port Authority Shipping Control Office or VTS whilst proceeding towards the intended berth.