An Agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia

A Message From The Board

The Board for Branch Pilots licenses the pilots responsible for safe passage of ships in Virginia's major shipping lanes and waterways. The Circuit Courts of Hampton, Norfolk, and Portsmouth appoint individuals to the nine-member Board, which was created in 1783 and initially chartered by the King of England in the 1600s.

Important Notices Concerning Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Visit dpor.virginia.gov/COVID-19 for the latest COVID-19 updates, including information about the revised Executive Order.

Please note: DPOR Offices at the Perimeter Center are closed to the public due to the public health emergency. No in-person customer service is available and visitors are not permitted to enter the building or drop off materials.

Sign up for email notification of regulatory action and meetings by registering here.

The Virginia Regulatory Town Hall provides access to the board's meeting schedule, agendas, and past meeting minutes.

Visit the Town Hallhttps://townhall.virginia.gov/L/Meetings.cfm?BoardID=9

The Virginia Pilot Association oversees the apprenticeship program for branch pilots. The Board's Examining Committee administers examinations to candidates during the apprenticeship program.

How do I contact the Board office?

You may reach the Board office by phone at 804-367-8514, by FAX at (866) 465-6206, or by e-mail at BranchPilots@dpor.virginia.gov.Additionally, if you have information that you would like to mail to the Board, please send it to:
Board for Branch Pilots
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
9960 Mayland Drive
Richmond, VA 23233

When I call the Board office, will I be able to speak directly with a Board member?

No. The Board members do not work in the Board office. They come into the Board offices for Board meetings and hearings, but are not here on a daily basis.
Board office staff members can answer your questions and are trained to process all information that comes into the Board office. Please do not contact Board members directly.

How do I contact the Virginia Pilot Association?

By telephone at (757) 496-0995 or by mail at: 3329 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Board Roster

Board Executive Director

Kathleen (Kate) R. Nosbish

Member Roster

Board Member Roster

I. Vincent Behm, Jr.

  • Citizen Member
  • Hampton

Robert H. Callis, III

  • Licensed Branch Pilot
  • Virginia Beach

January Collins

  • Licensed Branch Pilot
  • Norfolk

Julian Wythe Whiting Chisman, III

  • Licensed Branch Pilot
  • Virginia Beach

Thomas P. Host, III

  • Citizen Member
  • Norfolk

Patrick B. McDermott

  • Citizen Member
  • Hampton

E. Waightstill Avery

  • Licensed Branch Pilot
  • Norfolk

Christine N. Piersall | Board President

  • Citizen Member
  • Portsmouth

Michael W. Coleman

  • Citizen Member
  • Virginia Beach

Board members are appointed by the circuit courts of the cities of Hampton, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. 

Sign up for email notification of regulatory action and meetings by registering here.

Pending regulatory action (proposed changes, public hearings, etc.) 

DPOR stands ready to assist veterans and active-duty military personnel as they maintain or transition to civilian careers requiring professional credentials.

Active-duty military personnel and their spouses having served outside the U.S., as well as certain diplomatic service members and veterans, may be eligible to receive up to a five-year extension for meeting license renewal requirements (pursuant to Section 54.1-117 of the Code of Virginia).

Spouses of active-duty military personnel assigned to a duty station in Virginia are eligible for expedited processing using the Military Spouse Expedited License Application (Interactive | Static). A temporary, non-renewable 12-month license for certain military spouses licensed in another state who need more time to meet Virginia-specific requirements is also an option if necessary. [Section 54.1-119

  • Military spouses also can get help covering the costs of transferring their professional licenses or certifications when they experience a permanent-change-of-station move with their service member spouse

For honorably discharged veterans, “substantially equivalent” military training, education, or experience may be credited toward certain license requirements (pursuant to Section 54.1-118). The Virginia Department of Veteran Services does not reimburse for exam costs. However, Veterans can be reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The link for the information is here: https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/how-to-use-benefits/test-fees.