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Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PEC's)

Important notes – please read before applying.

  • All PEC’s are awarded subject to a theory examination and practical assessment. For full details of the PEC application process, please refer to the PLA Regulations Webpage for current PLA Pilotage Directions.
  • Applicants for a PEC must first register their intention to study, obtaining a PEC Reference Number against which their training trips may be recorded. It is also a requirement that the candidate keeps a log of trips, countersigned by the attending pilot, which must be produced prior to the examination.
  • A PEC will be awarded subject to a PEC Contractual Agreement first being in place between the PLA and the Operator of the Applicant’s vessel(s). This should be signed by a senior member of the company employing the Applicant.

To request a Pilotage Exemption Certificate Reference Number, please email [email protected].

Harbour Master Team
Port of London Authority
London River House
Royal Pier Road
Kent DA12 2BG UK
Tel: +44 (0)1474 562205


For an new applications, agreements and details please download information here: Application Form.

Applicants may also wish to view the list of PEC Study Materials available.

For renewal of an existing PEC, please use the PEC Renewal Form and Tripping Form.

The PLA offers a two-hour Introduction Course for PEC applicants at its Port Control Centre in Gravesend. For further information please email [email protected].

Class B Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PEC B)

Class B PECs (PEC B) are for skippers of intra-port vessels which are subject to compulsory pilotage between Sea Reach 1 and Margaretness.


See our Regulations and Guidance webpage for our Pilotage Directions.

A PEC requires a signed Contractual Agreement between the PLA and the Operator of the Applicant’s tug(s). It is a condition under the Pilotage Act that a PEC needs to be company and vessel specific, and so cannot be given to individuals to ‘pilot’ any vessel.

This welcome letter summarises the application process. In summary:

  1. Email [email protected] to obtain a PEC Number.
  2. Complete 8 trips as per the Pilotage Regulations. Ensure that:
    1. You are present in the wheelhouse during trips, accompanied by a PLA Pilot or existing PEC Holder, and have effective responsibility for conduct of the vessel, under the direct supervision of the Pilot or PEC Holder.
    2. The trips include passages made in darkness.
    3. The trips are in the vessel for which the PEC B will eventually be used, or one of a similar size and type. (Only qualifying trips up to a year prior to the theory exam can be accepted.)
  3. Once tripping is completed, submit this application form, together with an appropriate qualification and medical certificate.
  4. Undertake an oral theory examination, and then
  5. Undertake a practical examination with an examining Pilot and Harbour Master

The syllabus for the oral exam and a practical assessment is available. Study material, such as charts, the PLA’s Regulations, Codes of Practice and Notice to Mariners are available on this PLA webpage.

PEC Bs are limited to a specified maximum Length Overall (the sum of the tug and barge lengths), tugs, berths and areas for which they have been examined and assessed, as requested on your PEC application and stipulated on an awarded PEC certificate.

Material Changes to, and Renewal and Revalidation of a PEC B

PEC Bs are renewed annually. To renew or make changes to a PEC B (additional tugs, berths, area or an extension to the LOA), complete and submit the application form with the appropriate sections completed. There may be additional tripping required and/or examination.

PEC Bs are revalidated every 5 years, following the same process of annual renewal, however a practical assessment is also undertaken.

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