Pilot Exemption (PEC)

The Pilotage Exemption Certificates have gone through many changes and revisions since the creation of the Pilotage Act in 1849. To view the history year by year in PDF format, you can download our History of PEC PDF (16k) byclicking here.

By virtue of the Pilotage Act 1987, ABP is the Competent Harbour Authority for the Humber. Many of the duties and responsibilities of ABP have been delegated to HES whose remit is to provide an efficient Pilotage service.

PEC holders are charged at the level set in the current Pilotage Directions ,section 4.2 (see below). The exam fees are available here.

4.2 With the exception of Class C vessels, the owner or operator of every ship whose bonafide Deck Officer holds a Pilotage Exemption Certificate for any part of the Pilotage Area shall, for each occasion on which such bonafide Deck Officer may navigate his ship within any part of the Pilotage Area to which the certificate applies, in circumstances in which the employment of a pilot would otherwise be compulsory, pay to ABP one-quarter of the pilotage dues (pilotage rates and boarding and landing rates) which would have been payable in respect of the ship if the Deck Officer had employed a Pilot but such payments shall be limited to the first eighty complete movements of the ship in the Pilotage Area in any one calendar year.

Pilotage rates and boarding and landing rates can be found on the Pilotage Charges page.

Much of the information available in this section is for the exclusive use of authorised ABP Pilots and holders of Pilotage Exemption Certificates, with PIN controlled access.


A system has been introduced to monitor the qualifying trips of PEC applicants on the River Humber. To this end, each new applicant, or those applicants wishing to add destinations to a current PEC, should apply to Humber Estuary Services for a "tripping number" prior to the commencement of their Qualifying Voyages. The "Tripping Number" is issued by VTS Humber during the visit to the Humber Marine Control Tower in Grimsby. During such voyages the pilot or PEC of the vessel on which he is qualifying should report to VTS Humber that the applicant is on the bridge and report his "tripping number" which will be prefixed with the letter "T".

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