Trainee marine pilots earn their stripes

14 Nov 2023

Gene Lowry and Tomlin Morgan had different journeys in the maritime industry, but they shared a common goal to one day become marine pilots.

Two men standing and smiling at the camera with a marina in the background.
Gene Lowry and Tomlin Morgan are now marine pilots

After years of hands-on experience working at sea, gaining a Master certificate of competency and over three months of training with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP), they are now celebrating earning their marine pilot licences and pilotage area endorsements for Port of Hay Point.

Navigating the path to becoming a marine pilot

Gene and Tomlin embarked on a traineeship guided by NQBP’s experienced marine pilots who accompanied them through 137 shipping movements. This included observations, mentoring, and regular evaluations by a qualified check pilot.

Their training program incorporated theoretical and practical components, including familiarisation activities, inductions, ship simulations, and ship model training blocks.

At the end of this they received their Pilot Licence and Hay Point Level 3, allowing them to navigate vessels up to 230 metres in length in and out of the Port of Hay Point.

A career at sea before becoming a pilot

Before transitioning to their roles as marine pilots, Gene and Tomlin each accumulated over a decade of experience working at sea.

Gene’s maritime journey commenced straight out of school when he ventured into commercial fishing. From here, he worked on commercial ferries, private boats and vessels in the oil and gas sector off Western Australia.

Tomlin’s entry into the industry included a cadetship through the Australian Maritime College, combining years of sea time and college. After studying he worked in roles such as Chief Mate on a drillship in the oil and gas industry as well as aboard cruise ships.

Balancing career and family

Driven by the desire for a better work-life balance to support their families, both transitioned from a life at sea to the world of pilotage.

Gene shared “My family and I were pursuing a career shift to allow me to be home in a location that can support our future needs.

“Mackay and NQBP was a great fit for us with the weather, water, lifestyle, and educational opportunities for the kids.

“We look forward to seeing all that Mackay has to offer over the coming years.”

Tomlin echoed this saying “Having worked at sea on ships for over a decade, I was looking to move ashore into a town and employer that offered a sense of community and purpose.

“Mackay and NQBP appealed to me, and I look forward to being part of the team and raising my family here.”

Charting the course ahead

Over the next few years, they are committed to honing their skills and advancing their pilotage area endorsements up to Hay Point Level 1 (including mentor and check pilot training) to achieve Port of Mackay Level 1 down the track.

Both Gene and Tomlin are thankful to NQBP's pilotage training team for their unwavering support. They have gained a wealth of knowledge and had the privilege of learning from experienced marine pilots from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of skills.

Images for download

Image 1 Congratulations to our newest marine pilots Gene Lowry and Tomlin Morgan for officially receiving their marine pilot licences and pilotage area endorsements for the Port of Hay Point

Image 2 Gene Lowry’s first solo trip was aboard the vessel Brilliant Journey on 22 October.

Image 3 Tomlin Morgan navigated the Leonidas P.C. into the Port of Hay Point on his first trip as a licenced marine pilot.