Louisiana River Pilots Associations Launch Diversity Initiative


Published Jan 23, 2022 5:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Louisiana River Pilots Associations]

The Crescent River Port Pilots and the New Orleans – Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Associations have partnered to expand career opportunities in Louisiana’s fast growing maritime industry. The Open Waters initiative will increase access to maritime industry job opportunities and broaden public awareness of the historical, cultural, and economic contributions of one of the state’s most iconic and thriving industries.

“Last legislative session the river pilots pledged to make African Americans and other minorities aware of the increasing number of career opportunities in Louisiana’s maritime industry,” River Pilot Captain Lee Jackson, CEO, Jackson Offshore Operators said. “To keep pace with this industry, it is important to develop additional talent, and the pilots will lead the way,” Jackson added.

Historically, Louisiana’s waterways and its workers have played a vital role in shaping a vibrant business and cultural life from New Orleans to Shreveport.  “Louisianians cross the Mississippi River and its tributaries every day. But very few see the river as a link to commerce and career opportunities for themselves and their families,” Captain E. Michael Bopp, President Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association said.  “Open Waters will raise public awareness, expand education and career prospects for those who have never considered the risky yet successful livelihood of working on Louisiana’s waterways.” Bopp added.

The Open Waters initiative will inform, educate and enhance accessibility, transparency, and opportunity to Louisiana’s maritime industry through an abundance of resources and outreach programs, including a web-based information center for the public, government leaders and community stakeholders. Read our DEI policy here.

“The state’s number one industry should and must be as diverse as its citizens, which is why our goal with this new broad reaching campaign is to offer a path forward to help promote, recruit, train and educate our people about the abundant job opportunities that this important industry has to offer and help guide them through the process of becoming part of it,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “I commend the Crescent River Port Pilots and the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Pilots Associations for working together to expand the accessibility of the good paying jobs this industry has to offer to more of our hardworking citizens.”

Through social media and digital platforms, stakeholders will learn of the increasing number of career opportunities for those who are interested and committed to this unique professional path. Open Waters will meet citizens, stakeholders and prospective career aspirants face to face, bringing a maritime industry “roadshow” tour to classrooms and community centers across Louisiana.

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