|The records of
our civilization that illustrate the man traveling
on the water prove the confidence in the skills
of the pilot to guarantee the passage of vessels
near the shore. The pilots have been mentioned
since the remote times of Abraham, around
4000 years ago, in the city of Ur (Chaldea).
The Holy Scriptures (27, Ezekiel), makes reference
to, "… your scholars, oh Tiro,
have been your pilots… ", the pilots
and to their role of assisting the ship along
the shore. The pilots were named LODEMAN,
an expression that means "guide man",
because they were experts in the use of the
"lodestone" or "waystone",
a magnetic ore known as magnet, a primitive
kind of compass. With it, the pilots were
able to find the magnetic North. The word
pilot comes from the Dutch: PIELON (to investigate);
LOGO pilot; and LOOT, depth direction.
Since the beginnings of our civilization,
the pilot job has remained relatively unchanged.
Nowadays, they provide the same critical
evaluation and are familiar with the interaction
land, sea, and meteorological conditions,
whose elements are continuously changing.
These changes have been followed by the
pilots since the dawn of our history. The
explorers understood their need for the
pilots and, frequently, took them on their
trips. Both Marco Polo and Vasco da Gama
have used the services of Arabian pilots.
These pilots showed an advanced knowledge
of navigation and have used sophisticated
equipment, such as "al kamal",
precursor of the "octant" and
“sextant”, in order to determine
the latitude of the vessel’s position.
Mariners from different parts of the world
showed many specialized skills. The seamen
from Mediterranean, for example, were remarkable.
Genovese and Venetian very prominent due
to their navigation skills. Water charts
of the New World reflected an Italian and
a Majorcan-Jewish influence. When Christopher
Columbus anchored in the tiny island of
Conceição, after crossing
the unknown western region of the Atlantic
Ocean, he had "Juan de la Cosa"
as his head pilot. This same pilot also
traveled with Columbus in his second expedition
as cartographer in charge. "Spaniards"
caravel, that explored the coast of the
North Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the
coast of Florida, brought one of the first
pilots, identified as "Anton de Alaminos",
who not only offered his experience along
the extensive coast, but also helped to
discover the Gulf of Mexico current. Knowing
this current and the movement of sand banks
was very important for the safe navigation
of vessels through reefs and channels, and
has offered them the chance of knowing more
about the navigation in restricted waters
Around the year of 1500, the Spaniards
influenced the navigation from Spain to
the Caribbean. The first and most important
Spanish government was Santo Domingo, La
Hispaniola. Later Havana, Cuba, became the
center of the Spanish regional government.
San Juan (Puerto Rico) followed as an important
center, too. During that period, the service
for the areas under the control of Spain
was shipped from there. There were stops
from St. Augustine to St. Helena, where
the local pilots embarked with the purpose
of directing their vessels.
The pilots organized around a Pilotage association
only in 1515, in Great Britain.