A pilot boat is a type of boat used to transport pilots between land and the inbound or outbound ships that they are piloting. The word pilot probably came from Middle French pilot, pillot, from Italian piloto, from Late Latin pillottus; perhaps ultimately from Ancient Greek πηδόν (pēdón, "blade of an oar, oar"). However, the work functions of the maritime pilot go back to Ancient Greece and Roman times, when locally experienced harbour captains, mainly local fishermen, were employed by incoming ships captains to safely bring into port their trading vessels. Eventually, in light of the need to regulate the act of pilotage and ensure pilots had adequate insurance, the harbours themselves licensed pilots for each harbour.Although licensed by the harbour to operate within their jurisdiction, pilots were generally self-employed, meaning that they had to have quick transport to get them from the port to the incoming ships. As pilots were often still dual-employed, they used their own fishing boats to reach the incoming vessels. But fishing boats were heavy working boats, and filled with fishing equipment, and so a new type of boat was required. Early boats were developed from single masted cutters and twin masted yawls, and latterly into the specialist pilot cutter. These were effectively light-weight and over powered single masted boats with large steeply angled keels, making them deep draft under power and shallow draft in lighter sail. If legend is to be believed, the first official Bristol Channel pilot was barge master George James Ray, appointed by the Corporation of Bristol in May 1497 to pilot John Cabot's Matthew from Bristol harbour to the open sea beyond the Bristol channel. In 1837 Pilot George Ray guided Brunel's SS Great Western, and in 1844 William Ray piloted the larger SS Great Britain on her maiden voyage. More info on the type is welcome!
Great Britan 2015;100g;SG?
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