Pilotage Exemption Certificate


  1. Bona fide Masters and First Mates of ships regularly calling at Portsmouth may obtain a Pilotage Exemption Certificate for Portsmouth subject to their being able to satisfy Portsmouth CHA as to their skill, experience, local knowledge, knowledge of English and medical fitness. "Experience" in the pilotage area in this case should be considered as completing a minimum of 12 trips under a pilot or existing PEC holder in the previous 12 months. For vessels greater than 150 metres LOA this is increased to a minimum of 20 trips, inclusive of an outward and inward trip with a pilot at the start and at the finish of the trips.


  2. Application for a pilotage exemption certificate should be made on the prescribed form which is obtainable from the Port Manager's Office. It should be accompanied by a current MCA Seafarer Medical Certificate (ENG 1) or equivalent (MSN 1765 refers). The appropriate fee should also accompany the application.

  3. Examination

    1. An applicant for a pilotage exemption certificate will be required to sit an oral examination at the Harbour Office. A syllabus detailing the areas of knowledge required is available on application to the Port Manager's Department. Prospective candidates for Pilotage Exemption Certificate examination are encouraged to discuss requirements in advance with the Harbour Master.
    2. Applicants should attend Semaphore Tower for familiarization prior to examination.
  5. A successful candidate will be granted the benefit of a Pilot Exemption Certificate immediately. A failed candidate will not be re-examined until at least a month after the date of failure; after second and subsequent failures, candidates will not be re-examined until at least three months have elapsed from the date of the last examination.
  6. Certificates

  7. A pilotage exemption certificate is valid only in respect of the vessel or vessels named on the certificate and only when such vessel is being piloted by the holder of the certificate who must at the time be the bona fide Master or First Mate of the vessel.
  8. A Certificate will not remain in force for more than 12 months. For renewal see paragraphs 9-11 below.
  9. Duties of a Certificate Holder

    1. When a ship is in the charge of a Master or Mate holding a Pilotage Exemption Certificate and is underway within the Area of jurisdiction, the Pilotage Exemption Flag is to be displayed. [This is the same design and colour as the Polish national flag].
    2. A Pilotage Exemption Certificate Holder who observes any alteration to the shoals or to the channels, or that any seamarks are out of place or do not conform or show their proper distinctive character, shall immediately report the circumstances verbally to the Harbour Master, followed by a report in writing as soon as practicable.
    3. When a ship in the charge of a Master or Mate holding a Pilotage Exemption Certificate has touched the ground or has been in collision or in a close quarter situation with any other ship or any fixed or floating object in the water, he shall immediately report the occurrence verbally to the Harbour Master followed by a report in writing on the form prescribed as soon as practicable. An immediate report is also to be made to the Queen's Harbour Master.
    4. Pilotage Exemption Certificate holders are required to attend any investigation or enquiry held by Portsmouth.
    5. Pilotage Exemption Certificate holders are to demonstrate their use of the certificate by submitting monthly returns to the Harbour Office.
    6. PEC holders are to report to QHM on VHF channel 11 when they intend to enter or leave the Dockyard port area.

    Investigations of Incidents

  11. Any incident or marine casualty involving the holder of a Pilotage Exemption Certificate, will be investigated by Portsmouth CHA. The Queen's Harbour Master might also hold an investigation if for instance, an HM ship is involved or the vessel traffic regulations are breached. The CHA may, in cases involving misconduct or incompetence on the part of the certificate holder or in circumstances affecting his capability to pilot the ship or ships specified in the Certificate, suspend or revoke his Pilotage Exemption Certificate.
  12. Renewal of Certificates

  13. Application for the renewal of Pilotage Exemption Certificates must be made at least one month before expiry date. Application must be made on the prescribed form also obtainable from the Port Manager's Office, and must be accompanied by the appropriate fee.
  14. Renewal will normally be granted only if the following conditions are met:
  15. a)

    1. Applicants for renewal must be able to demonstrate that they continue to be regular users of the Harbour throughout the year.
    2. Additionally, in the 3 months preceding renewal they must have completed at least 6 acts of pilotage minimum in the Harbour
    3. and made a familiarization visit to Semaphore Tower,
    4. failing which re-examination will be necessary.


    A current MCA Seafarer Medical Certificate (ENG 1) and confirmation of continued medical fitness will be required for all British certificate holders. (MSN 1765 refers) The equivalent national medical certificate will normally be accepted for non-British certificate holders.

  16. Additional conditions may be required to be satisfied for renewal, after a holder reaches the age of 65.

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