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Preparation for the PEC exam

Navigators must take a Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC) exam in order to obtain a Class 1, 2 or 3 PEC.

Taking the PEC exam

Possession of a PEC ensures that the navigator has the necessary knowledge of the relevant waters to complete a safe voyage. For Classes 1 and 2, the exam must be carried out by a state pilot. For Class 3, shipping companies can use a PEC assessor instead of a state pilot.

Preparation for the PEC exam:

The Norwegian Coastal Administration sets representative exams for larger areas. The Norwegian Coastal Administration has established representative exams for the whole of Norway, including Svalbard; a total of nine. In addition, three approaches to offshore bases have been set as representative exams for the rest of the offshore base approaches.

The requirements relating to experience must be met in order to qualify for the defined areas in their entirety. If a navigator does not have experience from the entire area, approval will be given for a limited part of the area, even if a representative exam has been taken. However, the navigator’s PEC will be extended to new fairways in the same area based solely on the requirements for experience being met at a later date. This does not apply to Class 1, which requires an exam to be taken for each fairway.

The PEC exam must also be taken when extending the area of validity of the PEC. In this case, the Norwegian Coastal Administration may decide that the exam requirement can be waived in whole or in part for short fairways with a low risk, or if the applicant has significant sailing time on the Norwegian coast.

If an applicant fails an exam, there will be a 14-day waiting period before a new exam can be taken. If an applicant fails an exam due to an error in the practical aspects of the voyage, they must also document a minimum of two new voyages in the same fairway before a new exam can be taken.

On vessels where an ECDIS system calculates and displays the vessel’s position, the Norwegian Coastal Administration may require the screen to be dimmed or covered in order to check your navigation skills without support from the system, in a similar way to navigating using paper charts.

Representative exam

  • What is a representative exam?

    This is an exam that covers a specific area where the navigator’s sailing experience determines how much of this area is granted upon passing an exam. The exam only applies to Class 2 and 3 Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PECs).

  • What do I need to take into account?

    Navigators who apply for a PEC for a specific route can choose to take the exam in the fairway, but in the event of a subsequent application for extension, the candidate will have to sit further exams.

    Navigators who sit an exam that is representative of the entire area can extend the PEC to new waters within the same area as the requirements for experience imposed in the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations are met.

    Applicants can only apply for a PEC that covers all fairways in the area if they can document sailing experience in these in accordance with the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations.

    Fairways that are not considered to be covered by these exams are either areas that are excluded from the PEC scheme or that require a special exam to be taken to sail without a pilot due to the size (LOA) of the vessel.

    Excluded from the PEC scheme: for example, some sheltered shipping channels in Skagerrak (click on link, Red shaded area - No sailing with a PEC, Blue shaded area – Class 1 PEC fairway, Black shaded area - restriction on Class 2 PEC only, not Class 1 PEC fairway).

    Class 1 PEC, local restrictions: for example, Karmsundet, a holder of Class 2 can work on vessels up to 125 metres. If the vessel is between 125 and 150 metres, a Class 1 PEC will be required.

    In order to obtain a PEC for the Leirpollen fairway in Tanafjord, a special exam must be taken.

    In the chart display, each square corresponds to 5 x 5 nautical miles. In the application, these need to be marked side by side, not corner to corner. Also make sure that the entire fairway you are applying for is covered.

  • During the exam

    A candidate’s theoretical exam may cover fairways granted after the exam, even if the practical exam does not go through these fairways.

    The name indicates the fairway that is tested in the practical exam. The exam can be taken in the direction that suits the vessel’s plans.

  • After passing the exam

    On passing a representative exam, the candidate can be assigned all or part of the area covered by the representative exam if they have sailing experience in all fairways. For more information, see the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations

    If sailing experience is gained in the adjacent fairway at a later date, you can apply to have a new fairway included in the PEC. This can be granted without a new exam on the basis of a previously passed representative exam for the relevant area.

  • Areas covered by a representative exam

    Sailing experience at Svalbard, see Regulations relating to ports and fairways in Svalbard (in Norwegian only).

  • Representative exams offshore

    Upon application and following an assessment of experience by the Norwegian Coastal Administration, navigators who take an exam that is representative of the offshore bases will be able to extend their PEC to cover other offshore bases as they start to meet the requirements for experience in the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations.

    A candidate’s theoretical exam may cover fairways granted after the exam, even if the practical exam does not go through these fairways.

  • Representative offshore fairways

    • Feistein - Tananger - Dusavika
      • Covers the fairway Jæren shoal/Feistein-Tananger/Risavika-Skudefjorden - Dusavika.

      • * The exam can be taken to Stavanger if the candidate has documented sailing experience here.

    • Rekstafjorden - Florø offshorebase
      • Covers the fairway Rekstafjorden / Kvannhovden - Florø offshore base.

      • In order to be certified for both Rekstafjord and Kvannhovden, applicants need to document sailing experience in both fairways.

    • Åsvær - Sandnessjøen
      • Covers the fairway Åsvær-Sandnessjøen.

  • Offshore bases

    The following offshore bases can be applied for:

    • Risavika/Tananger
    • Dusavika
    • Ågotnes
    • Mongstad
    • Florø
    • Kristiansund
    • Sandnessjøen
    • Hammerfest
  • Chart display for representative exams

    The stretches indicated in the chart are for guidance only and should not be used in navigation. Practical exams may deviate slightly from this display.

Booking a pilot examiner for Class 1 and 2 exams

When you want to take an exam, you must book a pilot examiner. You do this by registering the planned voyage in SafeSeaNet Norway, clicking on the option ‘Register PEC exam candidate’ and entering the necessary information for the booking.

You will then receive information from the Norwegian Coastal Administration's pilotage service about the status of your booking. The pilotage service is very busy during some periods, so remember to book a pilot well in advance.


  • If you have booked an examiner for the PEC exam, but not for pilotage, there must be a navigator with a valid PEC present on the bridge in order to meet the pilotage requirement.

Pilotage Exemption Certificate fee

A Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC) fee needs to be paid after taking an exam, or renewing, amending or extending a PEC.

Read more about fees here

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