The Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun is the oversight body that licenses and regulates maritime pilots who guide vessels entering or leaving those bays and navigate on their tributaries to Sacramento and Stockton. The Board's area of jurisdiction also extends to ships entering and leaving Monterey Bay.
The Board's responsibilities include training and licensing maritime pilots, incident investigation, approval of pilot boat acquisitions and capital improvements, oversight of the San Francisco Bar Pilot Pension Plan, and pilotage fee rate recommendations. The seven members of the Board are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate, and the Secretary of the Transportation Agency is an ex-officio member. The Board was established in California's first Legislative Session, and has been in continuous existence since 1850.
All of the operational expenses of the Board are funded by a surcharge set by the Board as a percentage of the legislatively established pilotage fees. A pilot continuing education training program and a pilot trainee training program are funded by two separate surcharges set by the Board based on vessel movements. The Board also sets surcharges based upon vessel tonnage: a pilot boat surcharge that is used to fund the acquisition or service life extending capital improvements of pilot boats, and a pilot pension plan surcharge that funds the San Francisco Bar Pilot Pension Plan. The shipping industry pays all surcharges.