About Us


As an archipelago along one of the key global shipping routes, the maritime industry is a significant part of The Bahamas economy.

The maritime industry represents approximately 12% of the GDP in The Bahamas. 

Independent Maritime Services (IMS) recognizes the diversity of the industry and continues to embark on new strategies and segments of the industry.

IMS is a group of maritime professionals  providing a wide array of services, including pilotage for vessels that call at the anchorage of Grand Bahama, lightering / ship-to-ship operations, launch boat service and pilotage services for vessels that call throughout “out islands” of The Bahamas. 

Pilots are the watchdogs for the numerous cruise and cargo ships coming in and out of our island’s ports, anchorages and lightering zones, 24 hours a day.

Pilots have been taking navigational control of foreign flagged cargo and cruise ships and directing their movement in and out of ports for decades. 

IMS has the duty to act in the public’s best interest and maintain independent judgment from any outside influences that may jeopardize maritime safety. 

Meet The Pilots

Kendall Williamson

Kashii Thompson

Justin Wallace

Lester Roache

Philip Thomas Jr.

IMS pilots have more than 50 years of combined experience in ship handling.  IMS pilots hold Bachelor degrees in Maritime Transportation from accredited universities in The United States, and have experience at major ports. 

Only licensed pilots are permitted to offer pilotage services in The Bahamas. IMS pilots are licensed annually by The Bahamas Government.

Pilot Requirements

Boarding Area: Pilot boards at 1.5 nautical miles South of the Sea Buoy

Boarding Arrangements: Ladder or combination to be placed on lee side of vessel, minimum 1 meter above water.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a pilot?

A maritime pilot, also known as a marine pilot or harbor pilot, is a professional mariner who maneuvers ships through dangerous or congested waters, such as harbors or channels. 

He or she is a highly experienced ship handler who possesses detailed knowledge of the particular waterway and its elements at any time of the day. 

The pilot is a navigational expert for the port of call due to his local expertise.

2. Does my vessel require a pilot? Is it compulsory?

Pilotage is compulsory in The Bahamas, all islands, all ports. By law all vessels above 30 tons GRT in The Bahamas require pilotage, unless given an exemption. 

3. Why is independent pilotage important?

Government-regulated and licensed maritime pilots understand the importance of navigating safely and ensuring all foreign-flagged cargo and cruise ships are brought in and out of the navigable waters safely. IMS pilots are experts on the intricate details and local conditions of the waterways and channels of The Bahamas. 

With the continuous flow of cruise and cargo ships, pilots are the first line of defense against security and environmental threats to our beautiful island shorelines, serving to keep The Bahamas safe and secure. IMS pilots work closely with the Government and local port authorities to ensure safe transit of all vessels.

4. How much notice is required?

Twenty-four hour notice is requested and 1 hour notice required prior to arrival.