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Role of the Harbour Master

Image supplied courtesy of Port of Melbourne Corporation.

The Harbour Master is responsible for safety in a port. They make sure:

  • the port is safe for ships to navigate to and from their berth to load and unload their cargo;  
  • there is sufficient depth of water in the ship channels and alongside the wharfs, jetties and piers within the port;
  •  if  there is not enough depth, the Harbour Master must warn shipping visiting the port and arrange for the channel to be dredged to the required depth;

navigation marks are in position to assist ships navigate within the port.

Harbour Masters usually supervise the work of the harbour pilots making sure they provide a good service.

Harbour Masters make sure that ships using the port obey the port laws and other regulations.  The Harbour Master can lay charges against people who break the port's laws and take them to court where they may be fined.

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