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Division of
Professional Regulation

Apprentice Pilot

The Board of Pilot Commissioners is not accepting applications at this time.


When Apprentice Openings are Advertised

The Board advertises openings and accepts applications for Apprentice Pilots according to the needs of commerce and interests of public safety. When openings exist, the openings are advertised in two newspapers of general circulation for at least one week.


When to Apply

You must be 21 years old to serve a Pilot Apprenticeship.

You must hold either a:

  • Baccalaureate degree from either a recognized and certified college or university or maritime academy operated by the United States or a State


  • U.S. Coast Guard-issued license to serve as a third-mate on all oceans, as a master in near-coastal waters aboard vessels over 1600 tons, or any higher class license.

Requirements for All Applicants

The following are required in order to be considered for an apprenticeship:

  • Submit a completed, signed and notarized Application for Apprentice Pilot.
    • Do NOT list any names of references on the application. If you enter names of references, your application will be rejected. If rejected, you must return it without identifying information on it by the deadline.
  • Enclose the completed Supplemental Questionnaire. The Questionnaire form is included with the application form.
    • You MUST enclose the Questionnaire with the application form. Application forms received without the Questionnaire will be rejected.
    • Do NOT enter your name or address and do NOT enter any other names on the Questionnaire. If you enter names, your application will be rejected. If rejected, you must return it without identifying information on it by the deadline.
  • Enclose the non-refundable processing fee by check or money order made payable to “State of Delaware.”
    • Applications submitted without this processing fee will be rejected.
  • Submit proof of your age, such as a copy of your birth certificate or driver’s license.
  • If you have a baccalaureate degree, arrange for the Board office to receive an official transcript from either a:
    • recognized or certified college or university, or
    • U.S.-operated maritime academy
  • The transcript must be sent directly from the school to the Board office or submitted in the school-sealed envelope from the school. If the envelope is not sealed, the transcript will not be accepted.
  • If you hold a U.S. Coast Guard-issued license, submit a copy of the highest license you hold.
  • If you have ever held a license to practice as a River Pilot – including as an apprentice – in any other jurisdiction (state, U.S. territory, or District of Columbia), arrange for the Delaware Board office to receive a license verification (letter of good standing) sent directly from each jurisdiction.
  • If you have a criminal record, submit a certified copy of your criminal history record from each jurisdiction where you have a record.
  • If you have never been issued a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), submit Request for Exemption from Social Security Number Requirement.


The Board uses the information provided on your Application and Questionnaire to determine who will be selected for an interview. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive a notification with your scheduled interview time. You are required to submit a drug screening report and a current (within past six months) physical examination, both of which are at your expense.


If you are selected for an apprenticeship, a Pilot Apprentice license will be issued. At the end of your apprenticeship, you must take a written examination. The examination will test your knowledge acquired during the apprenticeship. If you pass the examination, a Sixth Class Pilot license will be issued to you.


After you complete your Apprenticeship, you will apply to advance to sixth class Pilot by completing the River Pilot Application to Advance to Higher Class. After serving in each subsequent class for one year, you may apply to advance to the next higher class. The application and all other requirements must be received in the Board Office prior to your official eligibility to advance date. To advance, you must submit:

If you are applying to advance from Fourth to Third Class, you must also submit a Squat Certification.

For more information on applying for advancement, see Class Advancement and Section 12.0 of the Board’s Rules and Regulations.

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