Public Service Commission (PSC)
Since 1984, because of their independent neutrality, the PSC has been charged with the duty of establishing fair and equitable rates as per State regulated guidelines. The guidelines to be considered are:
- Draft, dimensions, and tonnage of vessel piloted
- Difficulty and inconvenience of the particular service and the time and skill required to render service
- The time required to render pilotage service at the other United States, ports and the fees and charges for the service
- Public interest in maintaining efficient and reliable pilotage service
- Other factors relevant to the determination of just and reasonable rates
For almost two decades, since 1984, the Association of Maryland Pilots and the maritime industry have agreed upon pilotage rates. Those agreed rates were approved each time by the PSC.
The State Board of Pilots
The State Board of Pilots consists of nine members, each serving 2-year terms. Of those nine members, one is the Secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations (DLLR), or the designee of the Secretary; one is the President of the Association of Maryland Pilots; three are retired or licensed pilots who have at least five years experience providing pilotage; two are members of the steamship industry who actively employee pilots; and two are appointed to represent consumer interests. The Governor appoints each member with the advice of the Secretary.
State Board of Pilots Members
The State Board of Pilots currently consists of the following members:
- Chairman Jerald B. Lurie, Consumer Representative
- Secretary James D. Fielder, Jr., PhD., Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, ex officio member
- Mr. Donald W. Carroll, Jr., Steamship Industry Representative.
- Mr. Eric E. Carlson, Steamship Industry Representative
- Mr. Paul Swenson, Tugboat Industry Representative
- Captain Eric A. Nielsen, President of Association of Maryland Pilots.
- Captain Mark Adams, Maryland Pilot Representative
- Captain Randall Bourgeois, Maryland Pilot Representative
- Captain Elizabeth Christman, Maryland Pilot Representative
The Association of Maryland Pilots' Board of Directors
Captain Eric A. Nielsen, President
Born and raised in Maryland, the President of the Association of Maryland Pilots, Captain Eric Nielsen, joined the Association in 1989 after being selected for apprenticeship by the State Board of Pilots, the State licensing board. Following his five-year mandatory training, he was fully licensed by Maryland to pilot the world's largest ships and became a senior member in the Association. In 1996, Gov. Parris Glendening appointed Captain Nielsen to the State Board of Pilots.
Prior to beginning his career as a Maryland Pilot, Captain Nielsen sailed with the Exxon tanker fleet after graduating as valedictorian in 1981 from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, in King's Point, New York.
Maryland Pilot Boat at Lynnhaven Virginia
At the time of graduation, Captain Nielsen was also commissioned as an Ensign in the U. S. Naval Reserve. He quickly advanced through the ranks at Exxon, eventually serving as Chief Officer on Exxon’s chemical tankers, the most demanding and complex ships in the Exxon fleet. By the time Captain Nielsen applied to the State to become a Maryland Pilot he had earned his Master’s license qualifying him to command ships of any size on any ocean.
Captain Nielsen was overwhelmingly supported by the Pilot membership upon his selection as the Association’s president in December 2000.
He follows Captain Michael R. Watson who, after serving nearly two decades with great success at the helm of the Association, was elected nationally as President of the American Pilots' Association headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Serving with Captain Nielsen are:
- Captain John P. Hamill, First Vice President / Operations & Management
- Captain Joseph B. Smith, Second Vice President / Navigation
- Captain Thomas Colgan, Treasurer / Marine Superintendent
- Captain Elizabeth A. Christman, Secretary / Information Technology
- Captain Raymond M. Jankowiak, Harbor Representative
For more information on the State Board of Pilots, please go to: