Rescued by the Pilot Boat – A Dog’s Tale

While the pilots are compelled to attend to their work in the boats they have[,] it is necessary that they have crews that are skilled in their work, as it is often very hazardous. It is not every man that makes a good man in the boats, and the crews now employed are picked men. (“Pilot Boat Boys.” The Honolulu Republican, 19 September 1900.)

What was true a hundred years ago is still true today. Pilots in Hawai‘i and around the world rely on the crews of their pilot boats to transport them safely to and from vessels. Without these mariners, the pilots would not be able to do their jobs.

As Captain Ed Enos* of the Hawaii Pilots Association (HPA) stated via Instagram (@hicapted):

Many people really have no idea what a pilot boat captain’s job is like. It is different in every port. Our operators work a 24-hour shift every four days. They have a different schedule every day. Usually busy running pilots around the harbor non-stop, they are often called in to do other odd jobs.

One of these odd jobs occurred on the 17th of last month.

The harbor traffic controller in Aloha Tower was contacted by an observant person at the Pier 2 – Foreign Trade Zone, who reported that what appeared to be a dog was “swimming around in the water of the harbor off the pier.”

The controller initially contacted the crew of P&R’s water taxi, Mana‘o, which was inbound at the time, and requested that they check on what it was. Then she noticed that the pilot boat, Ahua Point, was already near the area. She contacted the pilot boat operator, Captain Allen Nakata, and asked him to have a look. He confirmed that it was indeed a dog. It was unable to climb out of the harbor on its own and was in distress. She asked if he could get it out of the water and he replied that he would try.

A short while later, Captain Nakata notified the Tower that he had the frightened and exhausted dog safely on board the pilot boat and was going to bring it back to shore.

Two Harbor Police officers and an animal control officer from the Hawaiian Humane Society were waiting at the HPA office at Pier 19.

Humane Society officer with poor pup

Officer Kueny from the Hawaiian Humane Society comforts the rescued dog on the deck of pilot boat Honolulu at Pier 19, Honolulu Harbor. 17 November 2017. (Photo courtesy of Captain Ed Enos)

“The Humane Society officer was doing a great job, calming down the dog and drying him off,” noted Captain Enos.

The dog was taken to the Hawaiian Humane Society to be examined and looked after.

Mahalo and well done Captain Nakata!

UPDATE: Suzy Tam, the Hawaiian Humane Society’s Communications & Community Events Manager, reports that the dog, whose name is Subig, was “happily reunited with his family.” (4 December 2017)

*Mahalo to Captain Enos for supplying the photograph and details of this story.

Edit: Changed “sheriff’s deputies” to “Harbor Police officers” and added name of Hawaiian Humane Society officer to photo caption. (4 December 2017)


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