Made Pursuant to Section 7 of the Pilotage Act 1987

As amended

(Revision 003)

Introduction & definitions

1) These Directions and Regulations come into force from 0001 hrs on the 01 December 2018 and supersede all previous editions.

2) All communications concerning pilotage matters should be directed to the Clerk to the Authority at the Harbour Office, Military Road, Ramsgate, Kent. CT11 9LQ.

3) For the purposes of the Pilotage Act, 1987, Thanet District Council is the Competent Harbour Authority and the Pilotage Authority for the Ramsgate Pilotage Areas.

4) An Authorised Pilot shall be a person duly authorised by the Thanet District Council to act as a Pilot for the Ramsgate Pilotage Areas.

5) “Ship” has the same meaning as defined in Section 57 of the Harbours Act 1964 and includes both British and Foreign Ships.

6) “Hazardous Cargo” includes any dangerous substance defined in Section 3 of the Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations 1987. S.I. 1987/37.

7) “Passenger” has the same meaning as defined in Section 26 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1949.

“Byelaws” means the Byelaws for the Regulations of Ramsgate Harbour made 20th June 1994 and confirmed on the 9th August 1994.

1.0 Pilotage Areas

1.1 The Ramsgate Compulsory Pilotage area is set down in the Port of Ramsgate (Pilotage) Harbour Revision Order 1988, Statutory Instrument 1988 No. 1499. This area is fully described in Appendix A to these directions.

2.0 Compulsory Pilotage


Pilotage is compulsory for :-


All ships of 50 meters or more in length navigating in the Royal Harbour and all other ships of 80 metres or more.


All ships carrying petroleum products (except as fuel or stores) or hazardous cargo, regardless of length.


Except as otherwise provided in these directions all ships of 20 metres or more in length certificated for the carriage of more than 12 passengers.


Tugs and tows with a total length, from the bow of the towing ship to the stern of the last ship towed, of 50 metres or more.


The following ships shall be exempt from pilotage unless they have received notice from the Harbour Master to the contrary :-


HM Warships and those of other nations.


Any ship whose Master or First Mate is in possession of a Certificate of Exemption issued by Thanet District Council, valid for that ship.


Fishing boats of which the registered length is less than 47.5 metres.


Ships under 50 metres in length carrying passengers when both the ship and passengers are engaged within the offshore energy industry and when the passengers on board have undergone survival training appropriate to their offshore employment.

3.0 Obtaining Pilots


Any ship requiring a pilot shall inform the Harbour Authority at least twelve hours before it’s estimated time of arrival, and again to the Ramsgate Port Control two hours before arrival.


Ships leaving the Port and requiring a pilot shall, on arrival, inform the Harbour Authority of their proposed time of sailing and confirm to the Ramsgate Port Control, two hours before the Pilot is required.


Ships, for whom Pilotage is compulsory, when waiting off the Port by reason of tide, weather or availability of berth may anchor within the Pilotage Area so long as they do not obstruct the movement of other ships entering or leaving the buoyed fairway, and have established and maintained communications with the Ramsgate Port Control prior to entering the Pilotage Area.


Ships, for whom Pilotage is compulsory, shall ship their Pilot at the limits of the Pilotage Area or as directed by the Harbour Master.

Pilotage regulations

4.0 Pilotage Exemption Certificates


A Pilotage Exemption Certificate will be granted to a person who is a bona fide Deck Officer of the ship, after he/she has satisfied the Ramsgate Pilotage Authority as to his/her experience and competence to handle such a ship in those parts or the areas for which he/she wishes to be certified.


A Pilotage Exemption Certificate may cover more than one ship, but the Certificate Holder must make application for each ship for which the Exemption Certificate is required.

Qualifying trips are at the discretion of the Pilotage Authority and shall not be more than those set our in 4.3 below.


The minimum requirement for qualification trips for the Exemption Certificate shall be :-

8 inward movements,
50% of which shall be in the hours of darkness.
8 outward movements,
50% of which shall be in the hours of darkness.
These trips to be completed on a ship of similar characteristics to the ship for which the application for exemption has been made within a 12 month period prior to making application for an Exemption Certificate examination or renewal, with at least 50% being completed in the 6 months before such application. Trips prior to examination shall be as Master or First Mate on the Navigation Bridge of the ship.


The Exemption Certificate will cover the Royal Harbour and/or Western Ferry Terminal of Ramsgate and the qualifying trips must be completed in the geographical area the Exemption Certificate requires.


A form of application for a certificate may be obtained from the Clerk to the Ramsgate Pilotage Authority, Harbour Office, Military Road, Ramsgate, Kent. CT11 9LQ. Tel: 01843 572100.

Every such application must be signed by the Officer applying and countersigned by or on behalf of the owner or manager of the ship(s).

The following supporting documents will also be required :

A valid International Maritime Organisation recognised nautical (Deck Officer) Certificate of Competency.
A valid Department of Transport approved Medical Certificate, or equivalent.
Application must be made at least one month prior to an agreed examination date.


The Ramsgate Pilotage Authority may require the Exemption Certificate Applicant to undertake a Pilotage Examination. The syllabus for this examination is in Appendix B of these regulations.

This examination will include satisfying the Authority that the Applicant for the Exemption Certificate has sufficient command of the English Language, as required by the Pilotage Act 1987, Section (8)(1)(b).

Applicants who have completed all their qualifying trips with an Exemption Holder may be required, in addition, to complete one inward and one outward trip with an authorised Ramsgate Pilot on board.


The panel for a Pilot Exemption Examination shall consist of:

The Harbour Master, or a deputy
An Authorised Pilot for the Ramsgate Area
A Shipowner Representative may attend the examination as an observer.
A representative of Thanet District Council may attend as an observer.

A Pilotage Exemption Certificate must be renewed annually on a date specified by the Authority, provided that the Authority is satisfied as to the holder’s continued experience in the area(s) for which the Certificate is Granted. Prior to renewal the holder must demonstrate, in writing, to the Authority that he/she has piloted a ship satisfactorily for at least the required number of qualifying trips, as specified in regulation 4.3, and that he/she holds a valid Department of Transport Approved Medical Certificate.


The Ramsgate Pilotage Authority may suspend or revoke a Pilotage Authorisation (under Section 3 (5) of the Pilotage Act 1987) or Pilotage Exemption Certificate (under Section 8 (6) of the Pilotage Act 1987), if it appears that the holder has been guilty of any incompetence or misconduct, which in view of the Authority affects his/her capability to pilot ships or, in the case of a Pilotage Exemption Certificate, the ship in which he is an Officer or any ships specified in the Exemption Certificate.

5.0 Charges


The charges for the examination, issue, renewal or alteration of a Pilot Exemption Certificate shall be as detailed in the Ramsgate Pilotage Charges.


The Owner or Operator of any ship navigating under a Pilotage Exemption Certificate shall be charged an additional fee per movement of ship, under Section 10(3) of the Pilotage Act 1987, as detailed in the Ramsgate Pilotage Charges.


The Pilotage Authority may levy a charge upon ships over 20 metres in length, and fishing ships over 47.5 metres in length, for whom pilotage is not compulsory, under section 10(3)(e) of the Pilotage Act 1987. Such charge shall be as set out in the Ramsgate Pilotage Charges.

6.0 Reporting of incidents


Reports shall be made under the circumstances mentioned in, and as required by, Byelaw 12 of the Byelaws.


For the purposes of this Regulation, the Pilot or Exemption Holder shall also make the same reports under the circumstances mentioned in and as required by Byelaw 12 of the Byelaws, except that if the exemption holder is also the Master, one report only will suffice for regulations 6.1. and 6.2


The Ramsgate Pilotage Authority may require a Pilot or Exemption Certificate Holder to attend an Inquiry into the circumstances of such an incident.

7.0 Conduct of Pilots


The Pilots, as authorised by the Ramsgate Pilotage Authority, shall be bound by the Local Government Terms of Conduct, as set out in the Thanet District Council’s Conditions of Employment and by Section 21 of the Pilotage Act 1987.


The holders of Pilotage exemption Certificates shall be bound by Section 21 of the Pilotage Act 1987.


Both Pilots and Pilotage Exemption Certificate Holders shall be answerable to the Ramsgate Pilotage Authority for any act of misconduct whilst performing their pilotage duties.


The holders of Pilot’s Authorisations or Pilotage Exemption Certificates will be expected to keep themselves up-dated on any changes affecting the navigation of the Port, including changes, in local Byelaws, Regulations and Notices to Mariners.

Appendix A The Compulsory Pilotage Area

Statutory Instrument 1988 No. 1499


The Port of Ramsgate (Pilotage)

Harbour Revision Order 1988

Made 18th August 1988

Coming into force 1st October 1988

Arrangement of articles

  1. Citation and Commencement
  2. Interpretation
  3. Extension of Limit of jurisdiction for purposes of Pilotage.

The Secretary of State for Transport in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 14 of the Harbours Act 1964(a) and now vested in him (b) and of all other powers enabling him in that behalf, and on the application of the Thanet District Council in accordance with Section 7(5) of the Pilotage Act 1987 (c), hereby makes the following Order :-

1. Citation and Commencement

This Order may be cited as the Port of Ramsgate (Pilotage) Revision Order 1987 and shall come into force on 1st October 1988.

2. Interpretation

In this Order, “the Authority” means the Thanet District Council; “the Port” shall mean the Port of Ramsgate .“signed plan” means the plan signed in triplicate by an Under Secretary in the Department of Transport, two copies of which have been deposited at that Department and one copy of which has been deposited at the offices of the Authority situated in Cecil Street, Margate, Kent. CT9 1XZ.

3. Extension of limits of jurisdiction for purpose of Pilotage

The limits within which the Authority shall have jurisdiction for the purpose of Pilotage under Part 1 of the Pilotage Act 1987 shall include (in addition to the Port) the area outlined in red on the signed plan, being so much of the area outside the Port as lies within a radius of 3 nautical miles from the Lighthouse on the West Pier (Latitude 51˚19’.63N. Longitude 01˚25’.40E) and to the East of a line bearing 065˚ true and to the North of a line bearing 145˚ from the Lighthouse).

Signed by authority of

The Secretary of State


18th August 1988

An Under Secretary in the Department of Transport

Explanatory note

(This note is not part of the Order)

By virtue of Section 7(b) of the Pilotage Act 1987, a direction given by a Harbour Authority for the purpose of making Pilotage compulsory for ships navigating in a specified area shall not apply to any area which is outside the Authority’s Harbour, unless the limits of jurisdiction of the Authority for Pilotage purposes have been extended to cover that area.

This Order accordingly extends the limits of jurisdiction of the Port of Ramsgate for Pilotage purposes under Part 1 of the Pilotage Act 1987, so as to include an area outside the port in respect of which the Authority considers that Pilotage should be compulsory.

The applicant for this Order is the Thanet District Council.

Plan of the compulsory pilotage area


Syllabus for the Pilot Exemption Examination

A detailed knowledge will be required of :-

(a) The names and characteristics of buoys, beacons, light vessels, other sea marks. The Position and use of radio and radar beacons, together with fog signals used to navigate in the area.

(b) The names of channels, reaches, headlands, points and shoals in the area.

(c) The approximate width of channels within the area.

(d) The bearing and distance from one buoy to another on each side of each channel in the area.

(e) Fairway courses and distances in the area.

(f) The depths of water throughout the area, particularly at the buoys and light vessels.

(g) The set, rate, rise and duration of tides and the use of Tide Tables.

(h) Clearing marks for shoals and points visually by day or night and by radar.

(i) Significant radar patterns of aids to navigation and the use of parallel indexing..

(j) The names of anchorages in the area, their positions, use and limitations.

(k) Ship handling characteristics of own vessel, squat and interaction with other vessels.

(l) Limitations and restriction of other vessels requiring special consideration.

(m) Operating with tugs; including communications and precautions.

(n) Special local signals, such as tidal and traffic signals.

(o) Local emergency plans and procedures.

(p) Dangerous goods in Harbour Area Regulations 2016 (DGHAR)

(q) Byelaws for the Regulation of RamsgateHarbour.

A candidate may be questioned on any other information appearing to the Examiners to be relevant.

Ramsgate Pilot Service Request Form

Complete form