The Board of Commissioners of Pilots (the “Board”) is a public agency, created by the New York State Legislature, Chapter 467, Laws of 1853, as amended, to provide for the competitive selection, training, licensing, and regulation of State pilots, who navigate large oceangoing vessels which operate on New York State waters, and waters of concurrent jurisdiction in Connecticut and New Jersey. The States, under authority granted by the Congress, have exercised authority to control the piloting of vessels along their waterways, including coastal waterways within the territorial limits of the States, since before the federal constitution was adopted. Federal Law and Regulation (46USCS SS 8501(A)), provides that “pilots in the bays, rivers, harbors, and ports of the United States shall be regulated only in conformity with the laws of the States,” and that “the States have authority over the Pilotage of all American vessels sailing under register, that is, engaged in foreign trade, and all foreign flag vessels” (Interport Pilots Agency Inc. v. Board,14F2d at 136).
The Board currently issues three types of legislatively authorized State pilot licenses, each covering a separate portion of New York state navigable waters. It has also requested legislation to license and or register docking pilots, who perform certain work in the port. Jurisdiction, originally as to Sandy Hook Pilots at the Port of New York in 1853, was extended to Hell Gate pilots by Chapter 283, Laws of 1928; extended to Hudson River pilots by Chapter 676, Laws of 1959; and extended to Long Island Sound-Block Island Sound pilots by Chapter 942, Laws of 1971.
The New York State Pilotage Districts under the responsibility of this Board are:
The Port of New York/New Jersey District
The Hudson River District (Yonkers to Albany-Rensselaer)
Long Island and Block Island Sound District