Canaveral Pilots Association

All ocean going vessels arriving and departing from Port Canaveral require the use of a Pilot. To book a Canaveral Pilot agents must call the Port Canaveral Harbor Master at (321) 783-7832. Please have the vessel contact the Canaveral Pilots on VHF 12 one hour before arrival at the pilot station. The Pilot boarding station is 1 nm Southeast of buoy #3 in approximate position 28-21.9N, 80-30.9W.

Arrivals Require a 24-Hour Notice  •  Departures Require a 2-Hour Notice


The maximum allowable draft for vessels calling at Port Canaveral is 40″ 00″.  A vessel with a draft that does not exceed 38′ 00″ may transit the channels and basins at any time and stage of the tide. Vessels that have a draft in excess of 38″ 00″ are considered “tide jobs” and will be advised by the Harbormaster and Canaveral Pilots of the time of boarding with consideration given to the stage of the tide. These vessels are generally scheduled to begin an inbound transit two hours prior to high tide.  A minimum under keel clearance of one meter is required during the transit of the channels and basins.  A list of maximum drafts for each Canaveral Port Authority berth is available at the port website at  The Canaveral Port Authority requires vessels to maintain a minimum under keel clearance of six inches when alongside the berth.


Vessels calling at Port Canaveral will be required to use two tugs of sufficient bollard pull for docking and undocking.  A working bow thruster of sufficient horsepower may be used in lieu of one of the required tugs.  A vessel with a draft of over 36’ 00” or high-windage cargo vessels will be required to use at least two tugs and for vessels over 38’ 00” draft at least one of the tugs must be a tractor or ASD tug.  A third tug may be used to ensure sufficient available bollard pull.  Cruise ships with bow thrusters, stern thrusters and/or azipod propulsion, small vessels, and other vessels recognized as having superior handling characteristics, may be exempted from tug requirements at the pilot’s discretion. Vessels deemed to have below average handling characteristics, those with non functioning equipment, or those operating in any condition where the pilot requires additional safety margin may have additional requirements and restrictions imposed at the pilot’s discretion. As of October 2021, Port Canaveral has two tractor tugs permanently stationed at the port.  It is expected that these two tugs will be sufficient for most traffic calling at the port.  For any situations where a third tug may be required such as Captain of the Port orders, dead ship tows, unusual vessel characteristics, or other extenuating circumstances, arrangements will need to be made with the tug service providers to make an additional tug available.