1.  Commencement. 

The Crouch Harbour Authority (a competent harbour authority within the meaning of the Pilotage Act 1987) in the exercise of their   powers under section 7 of the Act, direct that on or after the 01st October 1988 pilotage shall in all circumstances be compulsory for ships as stated in paragraph 3 below when navigating in the area stated in paragraph 3 below.

2.  Definitions.

1)   ‘COLREGS’ MEANS THE Convention on International Regulations for Preventing Collision at sea, 1972 as amended.

2)    ‘Harbour Master’ means a person appointed by The Crouch Harbour Authority to be Harbour Master.

3)    ‘An Authorised Pilot’ shall be a person duly authorised by the Crouch Harbour Authority to act as a Pilot for the Crouch Harbour Authority Area (CHA).

4)    ‘Ship’ has the same meaning as defined in Section 57 of Harbours Act 1964 and included both British and Foreign Ships.

5)    ‘STCW’ means The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers 1978, as amended.

3.  Ships Affected.

Pilotage shall be compulsory for all ships, except:

  • Ships of less than 50m in length overall.
  • Ships engaged in towing and pushing where the composite length overall of tug and tow or tug and vessel being pushed is less than 50m.
  • UK Warships and Gen Lighthouse Authority vessels whilst carrying out statutory duties.

Note – Where the Master is not familiar with navigating within the Crouch Harbour Authority’s District it is strongly recommended that the services of an authorised pilot be employed.

4.  Voluntary Pilotage.

If required and subject to availability a pilotage service may be provided within the compulsory area for:

1)  A ship of less than 50m in length overall.

2)  A ship with a Master or Chief Officer, possessing a pilotage exemption certificate, requires for any reason the assistance of an Authorised Pilot.

5.  Responsibility of Masters.

  • Nothing in these Pilotage Directions relieves the Master of his overriding obligation to ensure the safe conduct of his ship.
  • Masters of vessels using the services of a Pilot within the Crouch Harbour Authority District shall remain on the bridge during the ‘ACT’ of pilotage or ensure that a member of the crew who is capable of understanding and executing the Pilot’s orders and advice is available at all times.

6.   The Compulsory Area.

The area in which pilotage shall be compulsory so much of the rivers Crouch and Roach, streams, creeks, watercourses and the sea between:-

  • “The Landward Limits” which is a line drawn across the River Crouch along the downstream base of the railway bridge at National Grid reference points TQ76739408 and a line drawn across the River Roach along the Weir at Stambridge Mills at National Grid reference point TQ88669024.
  • “The Seaward Limit” which is a line commencing at position

Latitude       51º 37’00” North                                      Longitude  000º 57’19” East (Foulness Point)

And drawn therefrom on a bearing of approximately 58º True to a position

Latitude       51º 41’36” North                                        Longitude   001º 09’00” East

And then on a bearing of 270º True to a position

Latitude       51º 41’36” North                                        Longitude  000º 56’25” East (being a position East of Tillingham on the    Coast of the Dengie Peninsular)

7.  Boarding and Landing.

  • A ship for which pilotage is compulsory shall take on board or land a pilot beyond the seaward limit defined in paragraph 6 above in the vicinity of the Sunk Inner Light vessel when entering or leaving the port.
  • Vessels intending to embark or land a pilot must establish good VHF communications with the Pilot Cutter prior to undertaking the transfer. A good lee should be provided by adjusting course and speed so that the Pilot transfer can be accomplished safety.
  • Masters are reminded of their statutory obligations under the International Pilot Ladder Regulations.

8.    Adverse Weather Conditions.

In adverse weather conditions, the boarding or landing of an authorised pilot in the vicinity of the Sunk Inner Light vessel may be impracticable. In such circumstances a ship may board or land a pilot in more sheltered waters in accordance with advice notified at the time.

9.    Obtaining Pilots.

Any ship requiring a pilot shall inform the Harbour Authority at least 24 hours before its estimated time of arrival at the Pilot Station either directly or via Operator or Agent.

10.  Conduct of Pilots.

As stated in the Pilotage Act 1987 a duly authorised pilot shall have the conduct of the vessel in the compulsory area if not The Master shall be guilty of an offence. As in statue the authorised pilot has the right to limit their liability which also includes the Crouch Harbour Authority.

11.  Pilotage Exemption Certificates.

A ship which is navigated in the compulsory area and in circumstances in which pilotage is compulsory for it by virtue of the direction be:

1)  Under the pilotage of an authorised pilot, or

2)  Under the pilotage of the ‘bona fide’ Master or Chief Officer in possession of a current Pilotage Exemption Certificate in respect of that area and that ship.

Applications information and forms for Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PEC) in the River Crouch and the requirements to be satisfied for the granting of such certificates can be obtained on request from:

The Harbour Office,  The Quay,  Burnham-on-Crouch,  ESSEX – CM0 8AS                            

Telephone +44(0)1621 783602     email

12.  Regulations for the Issue of a PEC.

1) Applicants must be capable of communicating effectively using the English language by VHF Radio.

2) A Pilotage Exemption Certificate will be granted to a ‘bona fide’ Master or Chief Officer of any vessel after they have:

  • Completed the requisite number of trips for the area with an authorised CHA pilot prior to undertaking an assessment *Note Applicants MUST be present on the bridge of the vessel throughout the duration of any passage which is to be claimed as a qualifying trip.

8 inward bound trips (at least 2 of these via the Swallowtail Channel).

8 out bound trips (at least 2 of these via the Swallowtail Channel).

The above to include a minimum of 4 passages undertaken during the hours of darkness.

During the trip the Applicant must have understudied the CHA Pilot and had effective responsibility for conduct of the

vessel during the trip under the direct supervision of the Pilot.

All trips must be logged in the tripping log provided.

  • Satisfied the CHA in regard to skill, experience and local knowledge.
  • Provided the CHA with a valid STCW Certificate of Competency and Valid ENG1 or equivalent Medical Certificate.
  • Undertaken a practical and oral examination, this will take place on an inward passage only.
  • For full details and PEC pack please contact the Harbour Office

13.  Regulations for the Use of a PEC.

  • A PEC may only be used by an individual acting in the capacity of ‘bona fide’ Master or Chief Officer.
  • The Competent Harbour Authority has the right to stipulate the area of the PEC and decide if additional tripping and assessment are necessary above that required below for special areas of navigation in the district due to circumstances which warrant the need.
  • The PEC can only be used on a vessel to which the Certificate refers.
  • Holders of a PEC are to ensure that their STCW CoC and Medical Certificates are in date at all times and are to be made available on request to the CHA for inspection whilst navigation within the district.
  • Any ship whilst underway anywhere within the Pilotage Limits under control and command of a person holding a PEC must have that person on the bridge at all times unless relieved by another PEC holder.
  • That continuous VHF watch is maintained on Channel 11 whilst navigating within the district.
  • It is the responsibility of the PEC holder to inform the CHA of arrival and departure details if this is not done by operator or agent.
  • It is the responsibility of the PEC holder to notify the CHA as soon as practicable of any navigational incident whilst using their PEC in respect to grounding or collision with any other vessel, fixed or floating object and/or observation of unexpected shallowing of a depth and submit a written report tothe Harbour Master.
  • It is the responsibility of the PEC holder to maintain a current ‘Passage Plan’ and keep charts paper/electronic updated for the CHA pilotage district at all times. The CHA reserve the right to examine passage plans and charts at any time.
  • A PEC remains valid for one year from the date of issue or renewal. It is the responsibility of the Holder to ensure that their PEC remains valid.
  • The holder of a CHA PEC shall not allow any other person to have possession of their Pilotage Exemption Certificate for inappropriate use.

14.       Regulations for annual renewal of a PEC.

The following conditions must be met prior to the renewal of a CHA PEC:

  • A completed renewal application form must be submitted to the Harbour Master no later than 7 days before the expiry date of the PEC. Application to include a record of PEC trips during the previous 12 months.  A minimum of 4 inward passages and 4 out bound passages is required.
  • Application must include copies of Applicants ongoing competency and medical fitness.

15.  Reinstatement of an expired PEC.

Except in exceptional or extenuating circumstances, the criteria for reinstatement of an expired PEC will be as for a new application.

16.  Five Yearly Revalidation.

A PEC revalidation is needed in line with annual requirements, further the PEC holder is to satisfy the Authority that they have maintained the required qualifications and experience to hold the PEC and also undergo an interview and inward assessment trip.

17.  Suspension or Revocation of a CHA PEC.

Where the PEC holder has been involved in an incident in which safety of navigation may be compromised, in the interest of safety, the CHA may suspend the PEC after written notice setting out its reasons giving the PEC Holder reasonable opportunity of making representation pending formal investigation of the incident.

The CHA may further revoke a PEC if it is shown that the Holder has been guilty of incompetence or misconduct or of navigating whilst under the influence of alcohol. Before doing so, prior written warning of suspension will be given as with the right to representation.

18.  Contractual Agreement.

The Crouch Harbour Authority will seek a contractual agreement with the owner or operator of the vessel concerning the management of navigation on board the vessel and procedures relating to the use of Pilotage Exemptions Certificates within the CHA area.



THE CROUCH HARBOUR AUTHORITY (CHA) has the powers to exempt certain ships officers from their requirements to take an authorised pilot. In doing so the CHA will seek a contractual agreement with the ship’s owner or operator regarding the administration of navigation on board the vessel and procedures relating to use of PECs in the CHA Pilotage District.

  1. The Crouch Harbour Authority will grant a Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC) to applicants who are ‘bona fide’ Masters or Chief Officers of a vessel upon completion of tripping under the supervision of an authorised Crouch Harbour Authority Pilot and successful assessment of the applicant’s skill experience and local knowledge to pilot their ship safety within the Crouch Harbour Authority District and on board examination as laid down in the Crouch Harbour Authorities Pilotage Directions. This examination will be carried out by the Crouch Harbour Master or Pilot authorised by the Crouch Harbour Authority.
  2. Only a PEC holder actually signed on to the ship’s articles will be permitted to Pilot the ship to which the PEC applies within the Crouch Harbour Authority District.
  3. The Owner/Operator shall ensure that the applicants certificate of Competency is applicable to the type and size of ship being navigated.
  4. The Harbour Authority will not make qualifying for a PEC onerous but will require by the Pilotage Act as amended by the Marine Navigation Act, the applicant to have satisfactory and acceptable knowledge of English.
  5. A PEC will only be granted and renewed on condition that the Deck Officer has a valid Certificate of Competency and ENG 1 medical (or equivalent) certificate. While piloting their ship within the CHA district the operator must ensure that these certificates remain in date at all times.
  6. The Crouch Harbour Authorities PECs are valid for 12 calendar months from their date of issue. It is the responsibility of PEC Holder or vessel owner/operator to apply for revalidation no later than 7 days before due date.
  7. In instances where the renewal criteria as laid down in the CHA Pilotage Directions have not been met The Crouch Harbour Authority may require additional assessment trips or re-examination dependent on the circumstances.
  8. It is the responsibility of the operator to ensure that arrangements are in place whereby holders of PECs:
  • Will be properly rested and fit prior to commencing any Act of pilotage within the Crouch Harbour Authority District.
  • That there will be adequate bridge manning support for the PEC Holder.
  • That the PEC Holder will maintain an updated and relevant passage plan for The Crouch Harbour Authority District which is to be made available at all times for inspection by the Harbour Master.
  • That the PEC Holder ensures that all navigation charts on-board for the area are updated.
  • That the PEC Holder reports any defective navigational aids to the Agent together with any defects relating to their ship prior to arrival.

9.  Operators will notify the Crouch Harbour Authority without delay if any PEC Holder is directly involved in any navigational incident while using their PEC and accept that the use of such PEC may be considered for suspension until the matter has been investigated by the CHA and their report completed. The Crouch Harbour Authority undertake to such an investigation as soon after the event as soon as practicably possible.

10.  As part of the agreement the Crouch Harbour Authority will ensure the ready availability of all up to date Navigational and Regulatory Information regarding navigation within the Crouch Harbour Authority District on its web site  Hard copies may also be supplied on request.