Were the docking masters (tug captains) doing the work or the ship's masters? During various tug strikes in San Francisco, the tug captain/pilots continued to work and docked the ships without tug assist. While I never was piloting at that time, the work that was accomplished was remarkable and completed with very minimal damage. There were two long tugboat strikes in SF, one in 1959 and a second in 1969 which each lasted about 9 months. Commerce continued unabated, but there were some delays to facilitate working around the current. I'd often speak with older pilots to glean the learning experience gained from these strikes.
'delays to facilitate working around the current.'
This is the result of that. From sun direction this is an afternoon. Instead of docking in the normal morning the master of docking pilot would elect the best time to work with the tides and current. I was told many time about the counter current that ran along the North River.
Knowledge of the counter current is local knowledge which is invaluable to the ship handler. I recall managing to ground the ship model of the Europa (a very large tanker model) at Port Revel in France. I was flagellating myself as we walked up to lunch as I was so embarrassed with my performance or lack thereof. The excellent French instructor/pilot told me that this was local knowledge. He was a pilot of Port Revel and I was a pilot of San Francisco. It taught me how important that local knowledge was and that no matter how good a ship handler I might be, the local knowledge ingredient was invaluable. The pilot not only imparts ship handling skills from his constant handling of ships but also his local knowledge of the currents, depth of water, etc. to the maneuver.
Your comments, Wallace, in respect of local knowledge are what pilotage is all about, as you well know from personal experience. Were this not the case then a competent Master, which he should be or he shouldn't be in command anyway, knowing his ship and how she handles would have no need for a 'local' pilot.
[COLOR="Blue"]An excellent example of such is that of the Nigerian creek pilots. Have no idea if it still applies today but in the '50s and '60s, when I was a West Coast regular with EDs, they would be waiting at the bar when ships arrived so that they, their belongings and their dugout canoe could be 'derricked' aboard. A bridge wing would become their 'quarters' for the duration and their food would be served to them by a member of the African steward's department. Every Master had their first and second choice of pilot based on grape vine and personal knowledge.[/COLOR]