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Non-Commercial Vessels
Pilotage Requirements
Law Change

             Pilotage for Yachts







38 § 86.        Vessels Required to Take Pilot


Every foreign vessel and every American vessel under register, with a draft of 9 feet or more, entering or departing from any port or harbor within the waters described in section 86-A must take a pilot licensed under this chapter.  Any master, owner, agent or consignee that fails to take a pilot licensed under this subchapter is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $15,000 per day, payable to the State.  This penalty is recoverable in a civil action.




38 § 87A.        Exceptions


1. Vessels exempt.  This subchapter does not apply to:


A. Vessels under enrollment; [1985, c. 389, §35 (NEW).]

B. Fishing vessels; [1985, c. 389, §35 (NEW).]

C. Vessels powered predominantly by sail; [1999, c. 355, §7 (AMD).]

D. [2011, c. 498, §1 (RP).]

E. All military ships navigating the Kennebec River to and from the Bath Iron Works Corporation for the purpose of accomplishing overhaul, repair, post shakedown availability and sea trials; and [2011, c. 14, §2 (AMD).]

F. Noncommercial foreign vessels with overall length of under 253 feet. [2011, c. 14, §3 (NEW).]

[ 2011, c. 498, §1 (AMD) .]


2. Limitation.  If any such vessel employs a pilot, the pilot is entitled to receive as compensation for that pilot's service pilotage fees in the amount established by the commission.

[ 1999, c. 355, §7 (AMD) .]





In April 2015 LD 198 was signed by Governor LePage which modified an exisiting exemption to non-commercial vessels to employ a pilot. The modification increased the length overall from 200 feet to 253 feet (77 meters).  The exemption is intended to apply to non-commercial mega-yachts.   


Key notes:


  • Although yachts less than 253' in length are exempt from pilotage requirements, pilots may be employed if requested by the vessel's master, owner, or agent. 


  • The exemption does not apply in the waters of Portland Harbor or Casco Bay which is governed by a separate body.   





If you have any questions regarding pilotage for a yacht or other non-commerical vessel, you may contact the Administrator of the Maine Pilotage Commission for assistance at (207) 899-7123 or



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