History of pilotage

The pilotage institution is one of the oldest organisations in Finland that is still in operation. For 320 years already, the Finnish pilotage institution has been working to ensure the safety of Finnish navigation by piloting ships to their destinations and marking rocks and shallows with navigation marks and beacons.

The task of pilotage was a way of life for residents of the archipelago up until the 1970s, often passing from father to son. The decree on pilotage issued by King Charles XI of Sweden in 1696 is considered the official charter for the current pilotage institution in Finland. The pilotage profession, however, goes back even further: ships were being piloted in the kingdom of Sweden-Finland already during the Middle Ages and regulations relating to pilotage activities can be found dating back as far as the 13th century.

A wealth of additional information and photos concerning the history of pilotage in Finland can be found on the website established in honour of the 320th anniversary of pilotage in the country.

Luotsauksenhistoria.fi (in Finnish)