We are the Bethel College Pilots.

No, not airplane pilots. We’re talking nautical – ships, seas, the helm, etc.

(No, not pirates. Pilots.)

But what, exactly, is a pilot? How is a pilot different from a captain or a sailor?

These questions were running through the head of Matt Esau, Art Director and Graphic Designer, this morning so he did what most internet-savvy questioners do. He Googled it.

And he found this Wikipedia entry about Maritime Pilots. Here is a summary of a maritime pilot’s job:

A pilot is a mariner who guides ships through dangerous or congested waters, such as harbours or river mouths. However, the pilot is only an advisor, as the master remains in legal, overriding command of the vessel.

Pilotage is one of the oldest, least-known professions, yet it is one of the most important in maritime safety. The economic and environmental risk from today’s large cargo ships makes the role of the pilot essential.

I did a little more internet research about pilots and found it fascinating to think about how their job relates to what we do here at Bethel, and how we equip our students. Bethel faculty and staff serve as pilots, helping students navigate through a particular season in their life. We board the ship for a specific time and purpose, and once the student is through those waters, we send them off on their journey.

Bethel also equips our students to become pilots to the world. We give our students the knowledge and expertise to go out and help pilot others through rough times.

Below are two videos that explain more about the important role of a pilot. We’d love to hear your feedback – does this information give you a new perspective on what it means to be a Bethel College Pilot?

Here is a video that tells you about a pilot’s job description:

This video, from WWLTV in New Orleans, shows a pilot guiding a ship through dangerous conditions on the Mississippi River: