The outer marker (designated as RW “T”) is the point where incoming ships stop to wait for the Savannah River Pilots to meet them and guide them into the channel. Ships call for the pilots on channel 14 and schedule their rendezvous near the outer marker. On busy days, several ships may drop anchor nearby and wait for their turn to enter the channel.
Pilots are carried to the ships on specially designated pilot boats. The pilot boat must carefully come alongside (often in rough seas), so the pilot can climb aboard and take charge of the ship’s bridge and guide it to port. Prior to entering the container port, ships are met by tugs, who escort the ship to its final docking. A docking pilot takes control from the river pilot and directs the tugs and line handlers to secure the ship. Savannah Pilots safely convey an average of 22 large vessels a day.