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Pilotage Services

The port has five Class 1 licensed pilots with two pilots providing 24hr cover. All pilots are Class 1 Master Mariners. For detailed information:

Compulsory Pilotage

Pilotage shall be compulsory within the Competent Harbour Authority areas specified in Article 2 above for the following ships:

  • All passenger vessels over 65 metres overall length.
  • All other vessels over 80 metres overall length.
  • All vessels under tow where the combined overall length of the towing vessel and the vessel being towed is over 65 metres.
  • All vessels over 300 GT carrying persistent oils in bulk.


The designated Pilotage embarkation positions are:

  • Kirkwall - 59º 00.42'N 002º 48.83'W
  • Scapa Flow West - 58º 45.7'N 003º 07.83'W
  • Scapa Flow East - 58º 45.82'N 003º 01.73'W
  • Stromness and Hoy Mouth - 58º 56.6'N 003º 21.8'W


The designated Pilotage disembarkation positions are:

  • Kirkwall - 59º 00.42'N 002º 48.83'W or 59º 00.8'N 002º 53.15'W
  • Scapa Flow West - 58º 45.7'N 003º 07.83'W or 58º 50.0'N 003º 03.3'W
  • Scapa Flow East - 58º 45.82'N 003º 01.73'W or 58º 50.0'N 003º 03.3'W
  • Stromness and Hoy Mouth - 58º 56.6'N 003º 21.8'W

Vessels requiring or requesting a pilot must provide a minimum of 2 hours' notice to Orkney VTS.

Pilotage Exemption Certificates

A Master or Mate applying for a Pilotage Exemption Certificate and in respect of his vessel must on examination satisfy the Competent Harbour Authority (CHA) the Examining Body thereof that he/she has, in their opinion, sufficient skill, experience and knowledge of local navigation to render him capable of piloting the vessel of which he/she is at the time Master or Mate or any other vessel in respect of which a certificate is desired.

Harbour Craft

Orkney Harbour Authority employ a number of harbour craft to assist in the operation, maintenance and administration of the ports. In addition to pilot transfer, their duties include conservancy work, acting as transport for maintenance staff and carrying out regular patrols in and around the harbour authority areas.

Scapa Pioneer

"Scapa Pioneer" - Pilot Launch.
Speed: 16 knots, Crew: 3.

Scapa John Rae

"Scapa John Rae" - pilot launch.
Speed: 21 knots, Crew: 3.

Kirkwall Bay

"Kirkwall Bay".
Speed: 12 knots, Crew: 3.

Latest News
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Orkney Islands Council, Marine Services, Harbour Authority Building, Scapa, Orkney, KW15 1SD