The Marine Contractors Licensing Board

The Marine Contractors Licensing Board (MCLB) was established by Chapter 286 of the 2010 Laws of Maryland (Chapter 286). The Governor appointed seven individuals to serve on the MCLB for a term of three years. These members consist of: three licensed marine contractors; two at-large representatives; one representative from the Maryland Department of the Environmen​t; and one representative from the Department of Natural Resources.

The MCLB is required to: develop and carry out the marine contractors licensing program, as it was established under Chapter 286; license and regulate individuals and entities that perform marine contractor services in the State; collect and account for fees associated with the licensing program; and keep a current record of all licensed individuals and entities.

How does a marine contractor obtain a Marine Contractors License? In order to obtain a Marine Contractors License, a person must submit a completed application to the MCLB. An application will be considered complete if the applicant demonstrates that: (1) the contractor has at least two years experience as a full-time marine contractor or similar contractor experience; (2) has passed the written marine contractor test administered by the MCLB; (3) has a federal tax identification number (if applicable); and (4) carries commercial general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. A Marine Contractors License is effective for two years. If a marine contractor is interested in renewing their license, they must complete 12 hours of MCLB-approved continuing education prior to the expiration of their license.

Who is required to obtain a Marine Contractors License? A Marine Contractors License is needed for any individual or entity that solicits or performs marine contractor services in the State of Maryland.

“Marine contractor services” means construction, demolition, installation, alteration, repair, or salvage activities located in, on, over, or under State or private tidal wetlands and includes: (1) dredging and filling; (2) the construction, demolition, installation, alteration, repair, or salvage of structures, including boathouses, boat or other personal watercraft lifts or ramps, slips, docks, floating platforms, moorings, piers, pier access structures, pilings, wetland observation platforms, wetland walkways, and wharfs; and (3) the construction, demolition, installation, alteration, repair, or salvage of stabilization and erosion control measures, including revetments, breakwaters, bulkheads, groins, jetties, stone sills, marsh establishments, and beach nourishment or other similar projects.

Who is not required to obtain a marine contractors license? There are three exceptions to the Marine Contractors License requirement. See Md. Code Ann., Envir. § 17-301.

(1) Employees of an agency of the federal government or State do not need to be licensed with the MCLB to perform marine contractor services while in the performance of their employment duties.
(2) A residential or commercial property owner does not need to be licensed with the MCLB to perform marine contractor services on the property owner’s own property.
(3) An individual who performs marine contractor services while in the performance of their duties for a county or municipality in the State, is not required to obtain a license from the Board for specified marine contractor services.

What is the meaning of “solicits or performs marine contractor services in the State of Maryland”? The MCLB considers "solicit to perform” to mean any contractors’ attempt to obtain, either directly or indirectly, a job from a customer or potential customer to perform marine contractor services. The MCLB does not consider “solicit to perform” to include responding to a request for a proposal or a bid solicitation issued by an agency of the federal, state, or local government or a general contractor. While a contractor or subcontractor needn't be licensed by the MCLB to respond to a bid solicitation, it would need to be licensed prior to performing any "marine contractor services", as defined in 17-101(f) of the Environment Article. Moreover, subcontractors may not perform marine contractor services under the license of a prime contractor. Only employees of a licensed entity may perform marine contractor services without being individually licensed themselves. See Md. Code Ann., Envir. § 17-301(a) ("...a person shall be licensed by the Board as a marine contractor or be employed by an individual or entity that is licensed as a marine contractor before the person may: (1) Perform marine contractor services..."). As subcontractors do not enjoy an employer/employee relationship with a prime contractor, a subcontractor must be independently licensed if it is to perform marine contractor services on behalf of a prime contractor.

Can a Maryland Home Improvement Commission License be used in place of a Marine Contractors License? No. All work in tidal waters must be performed by a licensed marine contractor.

License and Renewal Requirements 

A marine contractor’s license is valid for a two year period. The license certificate will identify the issuance and expiration dates. The license should be signed by the representative shown on the license. The bottom portion of the license should be conspicuously displayed in the office of the entity shown on the license. The top portion of the license may be carried by the representative.

Important information regarding License requirements:
  • Keeping Licensee Information Current: The Board must be notified of any changes in the contractors contact information or the named representative on the certificate. If the representative is no longer a part of the company (entity), then a new representative must be appointed by the entity. The Marine Contractors Licensing Board (MCLB) should be notified in writing of the new entity representative within 5 days. The new representative shall submit an application to the MCLB and pass the license test within 45 days of the change in representative.

  • Renewal Notice: Licensees are responsible for keeping the license current. Licensees will be sent a renewal notice 60 days prior to the expiration date of the license. Expired licenses 45 days past the expiration date will require a new application process to reinstate the license. 

  • Vehicle Marking: The license number needs to be marked on at least one truck or piece of heavy equipment in at least three inch block lettering. The marked vehicle should be on any work site during the work day. Magnetic license numbers may be used to transfer from one piece of equipment to another.

  • Continuing Education Requirements to Maintain License: To renew a marine contractor’s license a licensee needs to submit at the time of license renewal to the (MCLB) satisfactory proof of completion of 12 hours of approved continuing education. Approved continuing education needs to be completed by the representative named on the license issued to the company/entity. The continuing education should be performed during the current license period.

    Approved continuing education may consist of participation in any of the following types of training provided the representative receives satisfactory proof of completion, such as a certificate, attendance record, or other approved document. Acceptable continuing education can be any training that is related to business, construction, or engineering, such as: (1) College level courses, (2) Courses, seminars, workshops or lectures, (3) Extension studies and/or correspondence courses, (4) Continuing education courses, and (5) Any other training approved by the MCLB. The representative may attend several training events over the course of the 2 year license period which will equal the equivalent of 12 hours of training.

    Listed below are examples of the types of continuing education acceptable to the MCLB. The list is not comprehensive. If you are in doubt whether a training course is acceptable, contact the MCLB for review and approval. Documentation of attendance and number of hours awarded are needed from the training authority.


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