The Queensland Government privatised the pilotage service in Brisbane on the 1st January 1989, and Brisbane Marine Pilots Pty Ltd was established. The company consisted of the previous pilots employed by the government, each becoming a shareholder. The company became responsible to the Government for providing the infrastructure, administration and the facilitation of the pilotage service as a private entity.

The pilots saw this as an opportunity to demonstrate their desire to become a world leader in marine pilotage.

This culture of striving to be the best has permeated the company since its inception.

Since 1989, Brisbane Marine Pilots' commitment to providing a "second-to-none" pilotage service has ensured that the company has continued to embrace and develop best practice and to quickly adopt the most up-to-date procedures, techniques and technology.

Its willingness to lead the industry has placed Brisbane Marine Pilots at the forefront of pilotage services - to become one of the pre-eminent pilotage services in the world.

In February 1825, John Gray, a Port Jackson Pilot, surveyed and buoyed the outer bar of the Brisbane River and the Inner Channel with the view of establishing a settlement where the central business district of the city of Brisbane stands today. He was assisted by John Tosh, who became the first official marine pilot and Superintendent of Buoys on 1st July 1827.

Brisbane was a British convict settlement from 1824 until 1841 when it was opened up to free settlement. The resulting massive increase in trade and in population growth has continued unabated.

Today, Brisbane and surrounding districts are home to over two million people. The pilot service grew to match the changing conditions and played an important role in both World Wars.

Changing technology, bigger ships and more traffic have always been part of the challenges that pilots face.

In 1968, a shore-based pilot station was opened at Mooloolaba, negating the need for pilot boats to keep station at sea, and providing a base for fast motor launches to take pilots to the Pilot Boarding Ground, three nautical miles to the south-east of Point Cartwright. This was only one of the many significant changes that have taken place operationally and administratively over the last fifty years.

Another significant change was the privatisation of the pilotage service, and the establishment of Brisbane Marine Pilots Pty Ltd, in 1989