The scheduling and ordering of any vessel’s movements shall be the responsibility of each vessel’s agent or master.


Agents must give a minimum 4-hour notice.





In the case of vessels exchanging berths, an agent or master may direct that his vessel’s movements be scheduled by the pilot office to occur automatically with the movement of the other vessel vacating the berth.


Orders for “Automatic” movements will not be accepted in cases where the vessel vacating the berth involved does not utilize the services of a Galveston-Texas City Pilot when moving from that berth.  Although the Pilots’ communication system is available and may be utilized to aid in scheduling a vessel’s movement in the above situation, the final responsibility for ordering the dispatch of a pilot must remain with the vessel’s agent or master.



Nothing in these guidelines obligates an individual pilot to move a vessel when, in that pilot’s opinion, it is unsafe to do so.  Safety is always our number-one concern.





Please refer to 46 CFR 32.90.1 “Pilot Boarding Equipment” and 46 CFR 35.01-55 “Pilot Boarding Operation”.  These CFRs speak to the requirements of having the proper pilot boarding equipment as well as the requirements for conducting the pilot boarding operations in a safe manner.


For safety reasons, Galveston-Texas City Pilots require that pilot boarding of semi-submersible drilling rigs, jack-up rigs and any other type of MODU, and self-propelled diving rigs such as the Uncle John and the Q4000 be done by helicopter.


Tug with Barge:

Pilots will not transfer via the tug (when in the notch).  The potential risk involved to 

both pilot and pilot boat is not worth the little time saved by boarding via the tug.  A pilot

ladder rigged on the barge is required for all pilot transfers.  Barges without a rigged pilot

ladder will not be boarded.





Galveston Bar to Ports of Galveston County:


  1. Vessels over 120,000 DWT
    • Daylight hours only* for arrivals and sailings, but may be shifted or turned at night within Galveston or Texas City
    • May sail from Bolivar Roads at night
    • A second pilot is required
  2. Vessels with LOA of 860 feet or more
    • A second pilot is required

·         (Certain Cruise Vessels are exempt from this requirement)

3.   Vessels with Draft over 40 feet

·         Daylight hours only.

      4.   Dead ships may be moved at night within Galveston and Texas City harbors only(not Bolivar Roads or over the bar).  Barges may be moved at any time.

      5.   Dead ships or rigs with a draft of 30 feet or more require moving safety zone.    Customer to make all arrangements, including USCG clearance.


Galveston Bar to Bolivar Roads:


            LNG tankers shall be daylight only* coming into Bolivar Roads.  They may sail from Bolivar Roads at night.


Galveston Bar to Port of Galveston:


            Oil rigs are daylight only*, unless self-propelled.


Galveston Bar to Port of Texas City:


  • The maximum length limit of any vessel handled in the Texas City main basin shall be 1,000 feet.
  • Ships, seagoing barges and other large vessels are restricted from passing each other in the Texas City Channel or the Carbide Canal.
  • Vessel coming out of Houston has priority over vessel leaving Texas City at the same time.






Galveston Slips:


Our policy for putting ships in and out of the slips in Galveston is to dock and undock ships at slack tide, and in no case will we attempt these maneuvers with more than a ½- knot current running in either direction.  The wind must be 20 knots or less.


Ships bound for piers in the west end of the port of Galveston will be boarded 1½ hours before slack tide.  Ships bound for the Texas International Terminal dock will be boarded 2 hours before slack tide.  For all sailings, the pilot will board the vessel 1/2 hour before slack tide.


If you have any questions about the conditions in which your vessel will operate, please call our dispatchers.


1.      Maximum beam of 90 feet (106 feet if vessel has a working bow thruster)

2.      No vessel movement in or out of slips if the current is greater than 0.5 knots.  Certain large offshore vessels with sufficient thrusters, etc. may be exempted from this requirement.  Please check with our dispatch office.  Seismographic and other small vessels are exempt.


Galveston Docks West of Pier 35:


1.      Flood tide

·         For vessels over 600 feet, the combined tug horsepower should be at least 6,000 HP.

·         For vessels over 700 feet, a minimum of two tugs and/or 9,000 HP shall be used.

2.      Slack or ebb tide

·         The number and horsepower of tugs may be reduced by the pilot (USCG – COPT 7/9/91)


Texas International Terminal:

            Slip info – 800 feet long, 150 feet wide

            Maximum LOA – 750 feet

            Maximum Beam – 106 feet

            Maximum Draft – depends on silt.  Call T.I.T. (409 762-5400) for this info on each arrival.

            No daylight restriction.  This berth is restricted by the current.

            Vessels must maintain 2 feet under-keel clearance.

            Job times for ships 300 feet or longer will be set as follows:

                        Inbound – 2 hours before slack water

                        Sailing or Shift – 30 minutes before slack water

Galveston Terminal:


  1. Current of 0.5 knots or less for all mooring and sailing.
  2. Vessels 700 feet or longer must moor during daylight hours,* in addition to the current restriction.






Texas City #11, #12, #40 & #41:


  1. Vessels shall moor stern-in unless by prior arrangement.
  2. Minimum draft of 18 feet Forward, and rudder and propeller covered or 28 feet Aft when sailing.


Texas City #19 & #20:


  1. Maximum beam of 90 feet
  2. Any vessel (including barges) docked at either TC -19 or TC-20 precludes putting another ship in that slip (width is 187 feet).  An “automatic” order may be placed to follow the vessel in the slip.


Texas City #45:


  1. Daylight hours only* for docking of vessels 700 feet and over
  2. Undocking at night may be done provided the vessel is docked portside


Texas City #66 & #67 (rules per Oil Tanking):


  1. 700 feet (213 meter) maximum overall length
  2. Vessels less than 175 feet (53 meters) between forward and aft perpendiculars cannot berth at #66 or #67
  3. Draft limits – Call Oil Tanking for current drafts

      (#66 - 409 948-5347;  #67 - 409 641-4546)

  1. All vessels will dock starboard side to #66 and #67.  Any exception must be approved by Oil Tanking and Galveston-Texas City Pilots 24 hours prior to docking.
  2. Assist tugs shall normally not be placed between vessel and shore.  If the safety of the dock or vessel requires a tug to be placed in this position, the UCC&P shift boat shall be advised (on VHF 16 or 18) to protect any barges that might be affected by wheel wash.
  3. Ocean-going barges will use the UCC&P shift boat for docking or undocking
  4. Minimum tug requirement for docking and undocking:
    • Vessels 0-350 feet (0-107 meters) require minimum one (1) tug
    • Vessels with operational bow thruster 350-700 feet (107-214 meters) require two (2) tugs
    • Vessels with no bow thruster 350-700 feet (107-214 meters) require two (2) tugs
    • The harbor pilot or vessel master, when weather or vessel congestion in the waterway require, will use additional tugs
    • Oil Tanking will retain the right to use additional tugs for docking or undocking
    • Under no circumstance, other than emergency situations, will any vessel dock or undock without tug(s) assistance



NOTE:  The above guidelines and limitations are based on normal traffic and weather conditions.  Variances from these safety guidelines may be imposed at times by Federal, State or local authorities because of weather, prevailing channel conditions, or other reasons.


The foregoing safety guidelines may be exceeded only if prior arrangements are made between the vessel owner and/or agent and the Galveston-Texas City Pilots.


Vessels exceeding guidelines listed above may be subject to various restrictions, including additional pilots, daylight-only passage, or may be denied entry.


Any vessel without the capacity to attain its posted RPMs in a timely fashion will, at the discretion of the Galveston-Texas City Pilot, be restricted to daylight transit and/or additional pilotage or tug requirements.


It is recognized that, due to a vessel’s draft and the hydrodynamics of the Galveston and Texas City ship channels, a vessel may not achieve the posted resultant speed for given RPMs.



*   Movements restricted to “daylight hours only” must commence at least two (2) hours      before sunset, and not before sunrise.