Matagorda Bay Pilots


Safe Speed: Due to the strong currents in the vicinity of the Matagorda Ship Channel, all vessels will transit the Matagorda Ship Channel at a “safe navigable transit speed” as determined by the Pilot onboard. Any reduction or limitation of RPMs by the vessel or crew could result in Delays, Detentions, and/or Cancellations until satisfactory conditions exist.

CII-EEXI EPL Guidance: All Agents, Ship Operators, and Vessel Masters: please see guidance below regarding the use of Engine/Shaft Power Limiters in the Matagorda Ship Channel.

Maximum Vessel Dimensions:

Maximum Vessel Dimensions are as follows:

Length: 229 meters (751 feet)

Beam: 33.2 meters (109 feet)

Draft: see draft restrictions

Oversized Vessels:

Oversized, excessive draft, or unusual type vessels will be handled on a per job basis and by specific agreement with the Pilots prior to any movements.

Duty Pilots:

Two Pilots are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ocean Going Barges

Pilotage is compulsory for all large Ocean Going Barges transiting the Matagorda Ship Channel.

All Ocean Going Barges when loaded, must be in the notch when transiting the Matagorda Ship Channel. 

Barges in ballast may be towed while transiting the Matagorda Ship Channel but MUST HAVE a tail boat of sufficient power to stop the barge quickly in case of emergency.

INBOUND:  If the seas are too rough offshore for the pilot to board the OGB and the Tug Captain and Pilot agree, the Pilot will guide the unit from the pilot boat and board the unit as soon as seas permit.

OUTBOUND:  If it is found to be rough offshore or in the jetties, the Pilot will depart the unit prior to reaching rough water and guide the unit outbound from the pilot boat if the Captain of the OGB so desires.

All Ocean Going Towline Barges will be restricted to daylight passage only.