Pilot Eric Litchy guides a ship into the Pierce County Terminal.
Try parking a 1,000-foot container ship.
The Institute of Technology at the University of Washington Tacoma is working with the Port of Tacoma to create a tool that could help ship pilots navigate the Puget Sound.
Richard McCurdy, president of the Puget Sound Pilots, said the pilots didn’t seek out the assistance, but any new tool is appreciated.
“Our constant desire is the give the ships something they don’t already have, that’s where some of this study with the Port of Tacoma could come into play,” McCurdy said.
So what will this technology be?
Larry Wear, the tech institute’s associate director, said the project won’t create a new technology, but instead combining existing technologies to make the most out the information.
For example one map might show the port, the tide level and ultra-local information such as whether a container crane boom on a certain waterway is up or down.
The institute makes its recommendations to the port next week.
McCurdy said he’s curious about what the end result will be, though he stressed the importance of pilots ultimately trusting their most important tool – their eyes.