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The Pilot’s Ladder

What attracted my attention to this scene from Lunenburg Harbour was mostly the graphical nature of the coloured hulls of the two ships docked almost side by side. However, the pilot’s ladder was the additional graphical element that “made” the scene for me, both compositionally and from an interest standpoint. Not having grown up on the sea, I had no idea what purpose this ladder might serve until we moved to Nova Scotia, saw one, and enquired. A pilot ladder is a specialized form of rope ladder used for a Maritime pilot (marine pilot, harbour pilot, ship pilot, etc.) to get on board or disembark a vessel while it is underway. The pilot guides the ship through dangerous or congested waters such as a harbour or river mouth. They are highly skilled, licensed and regulated (as are the ladder specifications). These men and women are also incredibly brave as this video shows.

Halifax Harbour

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