How to Become a Barge Pilot

It is not at all easy to become a barge pilot. You will need to qualify certain criteria and of course becoming a barge pilot requires excessive training and hard work. But if you dedicate the proper amount of time and hard work to the idea, nothing can hinder you from becoming a barge pilot.


  • 1

    You need to know all about a barge. Barge is a vessel meant for the transportation of good over long distances. A barge has a flat bottom as contrary to regular boats or ships. The sides of a barge are usually open, making it incapable of standing large tides and that is why barges traverse across rivers and canals instead of oceans and seas. You need to get a feel of the barges being used these days. Some barges do not have propellers and have to be towed. You need to have a unique set of skills to drive a particular barge type.

  • 2

    You cannot become a barge pilot just by self-studying. Numerous schools teach how to become a barge pilot but be careful while choosing a school. Make sure that school of your choice itself meets The United States Coast Guard licensing standards and will make you capable of meeting these standards as well.

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  • 3

    It may be surprising, but you need to have a valid driver’s license to get employment as a barge pilot. Whatever the status of your driving license before applying for the job, make sure you have a valid driving license when you apply to become a barge pilot.

  • 4

    Having 720 hours experience is a mandatory thing to become a barge pilot. When you get sufficient experience hours under your belt, you will be allowed to take a Masters Upgrade test, which of course you need to pass as well.

  • 5

    After the drug test comes a series of physiological tests such as a physical exam, a theoretical exam etc. to ensure your ability to handle difficult and stressful situations. After you have cleared all these tests, you will be required to prove your training which you will of course do in a practical test conducted using computer simulations.

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  • 6

    Once you will clear that, it will only be a matter of time before you start driving a barge as a pilot.

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