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Pilotage licences and Pilotage Exemption Certificates

Maritime Safety Queensland regulates the provision of pilotage services in all Queensland ports.

All ships that are 50 metres or more proceeding within a Queensland compulsory pilotage area must either carry a licensed marine pilot or be under the command of a master who holds a Pilotage Exemption Certificate and Pilotage Area Endorsement for the pilotage area and a particular ship or class of ship.

Some pilotage areas have selected zones where ships less than 50 metres are required to engage the services of a licensed marine pilot.

Special conditions

Special conditions may apply in the pilotage areas of Southport, Mackay, Cairns, Cooktown, Port Douglas, Karumba and Thursday Island  for ships less than 50 metres in length. These conditions may be applied to ship movements in specific locations within these pilotage areas, namely marinas and channels with restrictive depths or widths. If applicable, they will be determined by the relevant regional harbour master and provided at the time of the initial notification of arrival. For further information contact Maritime Safety Queensland's Brisbane (for Southport pilotage area), Mackay or Cairns regional offices.

Maritime Safety Queensland may grant a master an exemption from pilotage within a Queensland compulsory pilotage area. A Pilotage Exemption Certificate will only be endorsed for the master for a particular ship or class of ship for, a particular compulsory pilotage area or part thereof. Exemptions are not available for offshore berths in Queensland.

Below are guidelines to assist applicants for a pilot licence or Pilotage Exemption Certificate and the application form that needs to be completed when seeking a marine pilotage qualification.

Further information about the award of pilot and exemption from pilotage licences is available from Maritime Safety Queensland regional offices.

Last updated
24 November 2020