Port Phillip Sea Pilot Service
The entrance to Port
Phillip is extremely treacherous to shipping, as described on the
Before the lighthouses were established a pilot service commenced to guide shipping
through the Heads and the shipping channels to and from the ports at Melbourne
and in Corio Bay. The
Port Phillip Sea Pilots (PPSP)
service has been in place for over 170 years and
today serves the
ports of Melbourne, Geelong and
24 hours a day every day of the year.
large shipping must engage a pilot in order to traverse a port entrance and the shipping channels.
launches operate from the Sea Pilot shore bases to transfer the pilots to and
from ships, meeting the ships in a designated area in Bass Strait.
Pilot transfer by launch also operates between the wharf and a ship at anchorage in
port, and a pilot must be taken on board before a ship leaves its berth for the journey
back into Bass
History of the Pilot Service
vessels are used to transfer the pilots between shore and ship. The first
was the brigantine Boomerang
in 1853, followed in 1854 by the cutter Corsair, and schooners Anonyma and
Other early vessels
schooners Mavis and Hawk.
One of oldest organisations in Victoria, the Port Phillip Sea
Pilots service was established in 1939, twelve years before the State. George
Tobin was granted the first licence by Governor Gipps on June 17 1839,
followed by Thomas Sutton on November 21 1839.
As the colony of Victoria grew and shipping increased the
needs of the pilot service changed, requiring frequent updating of the pilot
Steam inevitably replaced sail and in 1901 the steamship
Victoria was purchased, then two years later the steam
yacht Alvina arrived, replacing Hawk.
From 1925 to 1953 the
served, to be replaced in 1953 by the diesel-electric Wyuna. She was the
high speed motor launches meet the ships.
They are traditionally named after earlier vessels. The latest addition is
Akuna V. Our photo shows Alvina II and Wyuna II.
At the left of this page are photographs of the first
Wyuna and a
Pilotage exemption certificate issued in 1890.
The full Port Phillip Sea Pilots Service story is at
Pilot Service Display
Wyuna, a scale model of
the steam yacht Alvina, historic
artefacts, charts and maps.
A DVD tells the
story of the Port Phillip Sea Pilot Service.
The history and operation of the pilot service is a feature
of the Museum including a work boat from the
On display in the Museum shop is a
magnificent model of the
pilot vessel Wyuna
made by Malcolm Gibson of Geelon
This model is on loan to the museum from Tim Phillips of
the Wooden Boat Shop.