Welcome to the Maryland Pilot’s Home Page. Founded in 1852, The Association of
Maryland Pilots is the oldest state codified organization of Pilots in the
nation. The Maryland Pilots have always been known for accomplishing "first's.
They continue to be a progressive leader in the world of piloting by being
strong advocates of technology, training, and accountability.
This web site
contains information about Maryland Pilots including their history, governance,
training, and role in protecting the Chesapeake Bay while serving Maryland’s
economy. We invite you to learn more about who we are, what we do and how we
serve you. Welcome Aboard!
A Brief History of Pilots in Maryland
The history of
Maryland Pilots precedes even the Association's founding date by more than 147
years. A reference to Bay Pilots can be found in Maryland records dating back to
1640, and Pilotage laws were established during the first session of Maryland's
legislature in 1787. In 1881, the Maryland Pilots introduced the first steamer
in the world, exclusively built for piloting. Before the Association of Maryland
Pilots was founded, small schooners offered piloting services to inbound ships.
The first schooner to hail an inbound ship would win the right to board a Pilot
and sail the ship safely to one of Maryland’s historic ports such as St. Mary’s
City, Crisfield, Oxford, St. Michael’s, Cambridge, Solomon’s Island, Annapolis,
Havre de Grace, Rock Hall, Chestertown, and Baltimore.
The use of small pilot
schooners in the late 1700's led to the development of the Baltimore Clippers,
the fastest vessels of their day. Maryland’s goodwill ambassador, the Pride of
Baltimore II, is a replica of this class of vessel. During the war of 1812, the
American naval war effort was supported by the extensive use of Baltimore
Clippers that were commissioned as “privateers”. It has been recorded that these
“privateers” captured or sank over 1700 British merchant vessels during the War.
Ship Handling Specialists
Each ship engaged in foreign trade coming to Maryland
ports is required to take on a local ship handling specialist, known as the
Pilot, to navigate the vessel safely into port. Both Bay and Docking Pilots are
regulated by the State of Maryland under the Department of Labor, Licensing, &
Docking Pilots are specialized pilots uniquely trained in maneuvering commercial
vessels in close quarters during docking, undocking and shiftings with tugboat
assistance within Maryland waters. Bay Pilots are in command at all other times,
ensuring that a State-licensed pilot is always in charge of all vessel movements
in Maryland waters from port to port.