Navigation Guidelines

In the interest of safety, hoping to protect the citizens and environment of the Mississippi Barrier Islands, Sound and Mainland, we, the Pascagoula Bar Pilots Association, recommend the following guidelines for vessels arriving at the private and public docks in Jackson County.

  1. As weather permits, drill rigs and other non-descript vessels will be required a minimum of two pilots for any movement and will be restricted to daylight hours only. Vessels of this type will be required to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement for all movements. Those drill rigs docking and undocking in congested areas may require additional pilots on the rig in addition to one pilot on the lead tug.
  2. Vessels capable of loading and discharging rigs and barges will be restricted to daylight movements only and when loading or discharging rigs will require two pilots for channel and harbor movements.
  3. Vessels 750 feet or greater in length will turn in the Pascagoula River and Bayou Casotte turning basins during daylight hours only. Vessels in excess of 750 feet in length or with a beam greater than 125 feet may cross the bar during daylight hours only. Vessels over 700 feet may require 2 pilots for turning at night in the Bayou Cassotte north turning basin and Pascagoula River turning basin.
  4. Those vessels less than 700 feet in length and less than 125 feet in beam will be limited to daylight movement when the draft exceeds 37 feet. Vessels less than 750 feet in length and beam less than 125 feet with draft exceeding 30 feet may be restricted to daylight only.
  5. These requirements are established as guidelines only with each being considered on a case by case basis, as to its characteristics and maneuvering capabilities. As weather, also plays a great part in the maneuvering of vessels, consideration will be given to high winds, high river current, reduced visibility or a large range in tide.
  6. The number of tugs used will be decided by each individual pilot with all factors taken into account.

**Disclaimer -- Nothing in these schedules shall be construed to limit in any way the discretion of the individual Pilot assigned to a vessel. Ships and the water they ply represent an ever-changing environment. One cannot set forth hard and fast rules to address every possible situation that may be encountered, nor is it safe to do so. The individual Pilot conning a vessel is in the best position to evaluate specific circumstances and determine what actions should or should not be taken at any given moment. These recommendations are made in the interest of safety and to allow vessel operators to anticipate and plan their vessel's schedules with greater accuracy. They are in no way intended to limit, hinder, or override the on-scene discretion of individual Pilots as they navigate vessels on the Horn Island Pass Channel and Bayou Casotte Channel. There may be situations in which actions that depart from or conflict with these guidelines may be necessary to address special circumstances that arise.