Louisiana River Pilots Associations Launch ‘Open Waters’ Diversity Initiative

Barge With Cargo On The Mississippi River
Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS — The Crescent River Port Pilots and the New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Associations announced that they have partnered to expand career opportunities in a high-paying sector of Louisiana’s maritime industry that often has been criticized for nepotism and lack of diversity. The Open Waters initiative aims to increase access to maritime industry job opportunities and broaden public awareness of the industry’s cultural and economic contributions.

“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,” said Lee Jackson, CEO of Jackson Offshore Operators. “To keep pace with this industry, it is important to develop additional talent, and the pilots will lead the way.” 

Historically, Louisiana’s waterways and its workers have played a vital role in shaping 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,” said Captain E. Michael Bopp, president of the Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association. “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.” 

The Open Waters initiative is designed to inform, educate and enhance accessibility, transparency, and opportunity to Louisiana’s maritime industry through resources and outreach programs, including a web-based information center for the public, government leaders and community stakeholders. 

“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.”

For more information on Open Waters, contact Captain Lee Jackson, ljackson@joollc.com

Categories: Activism, Maritime, Politics, Today’s Business News, Transportation