Torres Pilots provides Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) licensed marine pilots in the compulsory pilotage areas of the Great Barrier Reef. Torres Pilots has management systems certified by DNV in Quality ISO 9001 and Environment ISO 14001.

The environmental and cultural significance of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Torres Strait regions are recognised the world over. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975 and added to the World Heritage list in 1981. In 1990 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) recognised the GBR as the world’s first Particularly Sensitive Area (PSSA). The IMO also recognised the Torres Strait as a PSSA in 2005.

In 1991 the Australian Government enacted legislation for compulsory pilotage in the Inner Route of the GBR between Cape York and Cairns and Hydrographers Passage. Compulsory pilotage in Torres Strait and the Great North East Channel (GNEC) was introduced on 6 October 2006.

The GBR extends from the northern tip of Queensland through to Bundaberg in the south. The reef covers over 344,000 square kilometres and consists of over 2,900 reefs and 940 islands / coral cays.

Torres Pilots provides coastal pilots licensed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) for three (3) compulsory pilotage areas of the GBR. Torres Pilots has been issued with a “Pilotage Provider Licence” by AMSA, confirming our compliance with the requirements specified in Marine Order 54 (Coastal Pilotage) (MO54).


Torres Pilots has approximately 40 AMSA-licensed pilots. Trainee pilots must comply with AMSA’s service standards for qualifications, watch-keeping experience, health, under keel clearance management (UKCM) and ECDIS training. Torres Pilots require trainees to have a Master Class 1 qualification and have extensive command experience on commercial vessels operating on international routes. TP pilots regularly attend AMSA-approved professional development programs and conduct check pilot assessment transits as part of their licence renewal requirements.

Pilotages in the GBR are probably the longest single-handed pilotages in the world. Fatigue was identified by the ATSB 2011 review of the GBR pilotage as a major safety issue. Our pilots reside in Cairns and Mackay adjacent to the compulsory pilot boarding grounds, which allows us to better respond to late ETA changes and bookings, whilst at the same time minimising pilot fatigue.

Service Management

Director, Perry Sutton, has been responsible for marine pilot service management for over 40 years.


Torres Pilots is audited by AMSA for compliance with the requirements of MO54. Additional information on safety systems can be obtained from our Brisbane office.

Torres Pilots use standard passage plans with AMSA-approved waypoints, identification of off-course limits, hazard and risk management strategies. Copy is presented to the master when the pilot boards.

Quality Assurance

Torres Pilots has attained AS/NZS ISO 9001:2015 Quality Assurance certification and is audited annually by the international certification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

Environmental Management

Torres Pilots has attained AS/NZS ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management certification and is audited annually by the international certification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Torres Pilots Pty Ltd acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.