The State of California has entrusted the San Francisco Bar Pilots to safely and efficiently navigate the world’s largest ships through 160 miles of North America’s most challenging waterways.

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No Cost to Taxpayers

Operating costs of the San Francisco Bar Pilots are 100% paid for by the corporations and ship owners who use our services. The vast majority of our customers are headquartered outside the United States.


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Government Regulated

The San Francisco Bar Pilots are licensed and regulated by both the United States Coast Guard and the California Board of Pilot Commissioners. Robust state and federal regulation govern all pilotage activity.


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170 Year History

Founded in 1850 by California’s first legislature, the San Francisco Bar Pilots have been on the front lines of protecting Northern California’s pristine waters since the Gold Rush.


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A National Standard

In 1789, the first US Congress gave states the right to regulate pilotage in their waters. Today, more than half of the states in the country have a state pilotage system.


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Treacherous Waters

The San Francisco Bay’s topography, strong currents, high traffic volumes and rapidly changing weather make it one of the most challenging pilotage waters in the United States.


On Call 24/7

San Francisco Bar Pilots work on call all hours of the day and night, 365 days a year, safely navigating vessels in and out of San Francisco Bay and its tributaries.


For over 20 years, the San Francisco Bar Pilots have collected new toys and bikes for the SFFD’s annual toy drive. We are proud to bring holiday joy to deserving children all around the Bay Area. Learn more about this important program here.

See more: Aka Founders Day 2016 - Past Events › Sisterly Relations


Since 1990, the San Francisco Bar Pilots have funded annual scholarships to students attending CSU Maritime Academy. Learn more about the talented students who have received our scholarships here.