There are many places in wildspace a good ship pilot is needed to navigate certain sections. Where there are multiple Sargasso areas, anomalies, grinder asteroid system or just plain hazard, a pilot is needed to guide a ship through these dangers. The Ship pilot is really nothing more than the local helmsman or navigator, or even just the sailor that knows the area like the back of his hand. In most cases a harbor will be at both end of the hazard and the fee charged by the pilot is nominal. The pilot will not man the helm itself but will give orders and direction for the helmsman to follow. The pilot's reputation alone is good enough for the captain to trust his whole ship to the pilot.
An apprenticeship system is used to teach the next generation how to become competent pilots. A five year apprenticeship under a master pilot is needed even before a young apprentice is allowed to guide a ship through a corridor. After finishing the apprenticeship, he is now called a pilot and after guiding for another ten years, he is elevated to journeyman pilot. Master pilot status is only conferred by the guild and only after about 25 years of exemplary service. Master pilots are the only ones allowed to take apprentices and certify them for service status.Grinder Asteroid System
Asteroid system is prevalent on most crystal spheres, some even sport two and sometimes even three complete asteroid systems in the sphere. Most are torus shape and they follow the procession of other heavenly bodies and planetoid in the systems, but other are like the one found in Greyspace where it is in a spheroid configuration. This in itself is not a problem, unless it is a grinder type asteroid field. Grinder asteroid field move in every direction imaginable. Entering such field invites damage if not destruction to a spelljamming ships. This miles thick belt can challenge even the best navigator, helmsman and crew of any ship. There are however a few places where a stable corridors are located. This corridors twist and snaked through the field and only an experienced pilot will know where to turn, dive, rise, speed up or slow down to avoid the hazards. Most corridors have been stable for centuries and outposts are established on the outside and inside opening of the corridor. A healthy trade is generated between the inside and outside of the asteroid belt and Ship pilot make it all possible.
Secret corridors have been found and guarded by nations, or races that discovered them at out of the way locations in the asteroid belt. There are also short live corridors, dead end corridors and even pocket of asteroid free areas. These free areas for some reason does not have any asteroid for hundred of yards, but does not have a corridor that leads to it.
You can stop and hire yourself a pilot to help navigate your ship through the corridor. Most pilots have a high reputation and are sought after and they can demand high payments. The best pilots never lost a ship in their care. There are competing guilds that pilots are members and guild price wars are not uncommon. It is buyer beware, though, as some pilot are working for wreckers, who deliberately guide a ship into hazards. These wreckers would then contact their friends to salvage any cargo, ship items and passengers to be ransomed later.Sargasso
Sargasso magic dead areas are present in some crystal sphere. Most are thousand of miles of magic dead areas that no spelljamming ship can traverse safely. These are usually circumnavigated with a delay that most ship captains chalked up to part of the business. Most notable and known Sargasso are marked both in the maps, ship's planetary system devices, and also with space buoys. Sargasso detection devices are uncommon and very desirable. A company that can supply the spelljamming ships which such a device would be very rich. The Arcanes are reluctant to talk about the lack of support they have for a Sargasso detection device. A rumor that a ship leaving Edill received a Sargasso detection device from the dragon inhabitants after helping them. There are a flock of speculators, merchants, and adventurers to the Greyspace world of Edill to try to secure trading rights for the detection devices.
Some Sargasso areas are not uniform in its area of influence. The Sargasso is amorphous and as well, as porous. The Sargasso would tumble, spin, yawl, in every imaginable direction. It can cause areas on the edge of the Sargasso to go in and out of the influence of the Sargasso. Ship circumnavigating this area would sometimes find itself in a dead area and would be stranded for a few hours to a few days until that area is out of the influence of the Sargasso. A new breed of entrepreneurs are using non-spelljamming engines to tow these ships out of the dead areas.
A porous Sargasso area is like Swiss cheese with all the holes that can run through the entirety of the Sargasso sea. Helm pilots are trained and will lead a ship though a desired location. Master pilots and guilds over time have their own routes, which they guard jealously, that are tried and tested. Some pilots are mavericks and claims to have the fastest route through the Sargasso sea. Ship's captain must choose the right pilot for the job because foul play by pilots could lead the ship in to harms way. The safe routes are plus or minus a few days, while a fast route might take only a few hours. Not all destination have a route that would lead to those areas and pilots will try to use the safest route that is close to that desired destination. Mavericks have been known to punch through small Sargasso barriers to jump into another route relying on the momentum of the spelljamming ship to push it through the next route.Space Anomaly
Ship pilots are used to navigate most hazards that trading and private ships are not familiar in the area they are traversing. Ship's captain usually hire pilots to save them time and keep the ship safe while in a hazard zone. Space anomalies can mean a lot of things to a spacer, from black holes, giant space creature lair, and anything you can name. Hazard constitute anything that might hinder and damage a ship from safe transit through an area.
Black holes are anomalies that are dark vortices, that will overpower anything that comes close to the event horizon. Black holes are not visible unless they eclipsed a visible object in the background. Black holes ranges from pinpoint holes in fabric of wildspace to huge funnels that sucks all nearby mass. It has been said that if swallowed by a black hole that one can end up in the negative plane, others into an entirely another sphere or prime material and other speculates that it can transport object into another time period. Ship pilots skill in knowing where these anomalies lies help the ships avoid these hazards.
Areas have been know as hunting, lair or breeding ground of certain space creatures. The extermination of such creatures might not be possible or not desirable. Spelljamming ship that entered a kindori breeding ground might find itself being rammed, tail slapped or even amorously bumped by bull kindoris. Also a celestial dragons will not take it kindly that spelljamming ships would be cruising in and around it's lair and area of influence. Many ships have been lost because of presumptuous captains taking liberties of cutting across a lair of a celestial dragons. It has also been know that certain areas of space are krajen hunting areas and ships have been lost transiting these areas.