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Licensing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Pilots

  1. How do I apply for a license?
  2. What are the minimum requirements?
  3. How are candidates selected?
  4. When are applications accepted?
  5. What is the application cut-off date?
  6. What must be included in the application packet?
  7. Where do I send my application?
  8. How long is the application good for?
  9. I was not selected. How do I reapply?
  10. How will I know if I was selected?
  11. I am a pilot in another state. Can I use that to help me get selected in Maryland?
  12. Is there a requirement for continued education once I am a pilot?
  13. Where can I go to find additional information on the Chesapeake Bay Pilots?

1. How do I apply for a license?
Bay pilots “pilots” are chosen through a highly selective process that is conducted by the Maryland Board of Pilots “the Board.” Each year new pilots are selected from a ranked list that is generated through a biennial application process.

2. What are the minimum requirements?
To be considered for selection as a pilot, applicants must meet the following MINIMUM requirements:

  1. Be at least 21 years old
  2. Meet physical requirements for a first-class pilot license
  3. Agree to participate in U.S. Coast Guard random drug test program
  4. Have one or more of the following maritime credentials:
    1. Degree from a four-year course of study at an accredited maritime institution acceptable to the Board; and a current license as third mate, or greater grade, of steam and motor vessels, any gross tons upon oceans;
    2. A current license as a master of steam and motor vessels, any gross tons upon oceans, that is issued by the U.S. Coast Guard and that contains an appropriate radar endorsement; or
    3. A minimum of five years’ experience in the maritime industry working on vessels in the deck department as a licensed master or mate on tugs or inspected vessels, of which at least two years’ experience shall be as the master of a ship-assist harbor tug.
  5. e. Pass a mental and physical fitness evaluation required by the Board

3. How are candidates selected?
The Board is charged with maintaining a list of qualified applicants from which candidates will be selected when apprentice pilots are needed. To compile the list of qualified applicants, a committee comprised of four Board members — two licensed pilots, one consumer, and one member representing the ship docking tugboat industry — is formed. The committee reviews the applications of all eligible applicants. To be considered an eligible applicant, an individual must have a current completed application on file with the Board office by the deadline set by the Board.

4. When are applications accepted?
The application process is biennial. Because the Board understands that applicants have varied schedules and limited availability, applications are accepted at any time during even-numbered years (2018, 2020, 2022…) for the selection that will take place during the spring of odd-numbered years (2019, 2021, 2023…).

5. What is the application cut-off date?
Completed applications must be received by the Board by December 31st of even-numbered years in order to be considered for the following year’s selection process.

6. What must be included in the application packet?
Minimum requirements that MUST be included are:

  1. Completed application form;
  2. A check for the non-refundable application fee of $25.00 (payable to the Maryland Board of Pilots);
  3. Official transcript (sent directly from the institution where it was obtained);
  4. Copy of physical examination (directly from the physician)
  5. Copy of license.

NOTE: Additional items, such as letters of recommendation, can be included in the application.

7. Where do I send my application?
Applications should be sent to:
  Maryland Board of Pilots
  500 North Calvert Street
  Baltimore, MD 21202

8. How long is the application good for?
The completed application will remain on file with the Board of Pilots for two years. Your application will be used to generate an order of merit list that is used to select new pilots as needed.

9. I was not selected. How do I reapply?
Applicants who are not selected can reapply by submitting an updated application along with the $25.00 application fee.

10. How will I know if I was selected?
The committee will begin reviewing applications during the spring of each even-numbered year. Select applicants will be interviewed during that summer. Upon completion of the interviews, the committee will rank the candidates in an order of merit list. If the Board determines that pilots-in-training are required, the Board selects them beginning with the top-ranked individual on the existing list.

11. I am a pilot in another state. Can I use that to help me get selected in Maryland?
All candidates must apply to the Board. Maryland does not have reciprocity for pilots.

12. Is there a requirement for continued education once I am a pilot?
Yes, a licensed pilot must satisfactorily complete a course approved by the Board or a course offered at an institute approved by the Board in each of the following subject areas:

  1. Automatic Radar Piloting Aids (ARPA);
  2. Radar Operator Renewal (ROR);
  3. Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (BRMP);
  4. Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS); and
  5. E-Navigation.

NOTE: At the request of a pilot, the Board may give the pilot an additional year beyond the normal five-year time period on one continuing education cycle to extend the renewal date of the ARPA or ROR so that the dates are coincident for the purposes of federal licensing requirements.

13. Where can I go to find additional information on the Chesapeake Bay Pilots?
Visit the Association of Maryland Pilots or the American Pilots Association.