Why Do Pilots Not Wear Helmets

The picture at the top of the Mariners Speak shows three members of the maritime community and only one without any head protection.  The recent spate of accidents, have shown that often pilots are rendered unconscious when they fall from a pilot ladder and are unable to take action to save themselves.  Working on a pilot boat puts both the pilot and the deckhand often 30 feet below the deck level of the ship that they are working, anything dropped from the deck from shackle pins to the pilot ladder itself can cause serious head injury.
Here on the Columbia River Bar, helmets have become standard safety gear.  From the beginning of the helicopter transfer system, they were mandated by the helicopter companies.  Simple kayak helmets offered the protection needed for being hoisted from the helicopter.  They have become routine, and are now used in both helicopter and boat transfers.  There have been several incidents in which a head injury has been prevented.
The big question is Why Not?  This is the easiest and cheapest way to reduce injury, and only vanity and tradition seem to be reasons to not wear some type of head protection.  All of the float coats, epirb’s, and waterproof radios, fail if the pilot is unable to help themselves due to a head injury.
Buying an off the shelf Kayak helmet, covering it with reflective tape, and even attaching a small light, is a simple way to increase the survivability of pilots. 

By Professional Mariner Staff