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Certificate of Local Knowledge



Certificates of Local Knowledge (COLK) are issued under the Marine Safety Act. The requirements for the issue of a Certificate of Local Knowledge are detailed in Marine Safety Regulation and NSW Marine Pilotage Code.

Certificates of Local Knowledge have a validity of five years with annual validation required.

Certificates of Local Knowledge are required for masters of commercial vessels between 30 metres and 80 metres LOA.

Certificates of Local Knowledge will only be valid for the type of vessel stated on the Certificate of Competency held by the Master at the time of issue.

A Certificate can be endorsed for any or all areas provided the Applicant satisfies the experience and examination requirements for the appropriate area(s).

 
  • Requirements for a Certificate of Local Knowledge

    Location Deck Service Bridge Service
    Whole Harbour Sydney 200 hours 100 hours
    Main Harbour – Manly to Gladesville Bridge 100 hours 50 hours
    Middle Harbour – West from Dobroyd Head 40 hours 20 hours
    Western Harbour – West of the Gladesville Bridge 60 hours 30 hours
    Port Botany 100 hours 50 hours
    The applicant must provide proof that;

    - They have been employed for a total of at least the required hours in the last year (substantiated by a Record of Service Book or a letter from their employer) in deck service on a ship of at least 15 and not more than 80 metres in length that operates within the applicable area and is the subject of a permit under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law.

    - This can be reduced to the required hours bridge service (substantiated by a statement to the effect that the applicant observed operations on the bridge of the vessel throughout the period from each Master)

    The Applicant must provide the following

    Application Form
    Please click here to download the application form

    Evidence of Qualifying Time or Experience

    - letter from employer or copy of record of service book
    (to be kept on file by PANSW)
    email to colkexams@portauthoritynsw.com.au or bring on the day of exam

    On the day of the exam bring the following original documents,

    - A valid Certificate of Competency issued under the Marine Safety Act.
    - A valid Certificate of Medical Fitness as required for the Certificate of Competency held by the applicant.
  • The examination will consist of the following


    The COLK exam is a computer based knowledge exam that will cover the following topics;

    - Names of bays, headlands, points, wharves, berths.

    - Navigational marks including leading marks with their descriptions, light characteristics and fog signals.

    - Five and ten metre depth contours

    - Berth numbers and their location

    - Position of submarine cables and pipelines.

    - Reporting points and speed zones.

    - Prohibited areas for anchoring, restricted areas and naval waters.

    - Heights under bridges.

    - Management of Waters and Waterside Lands Regulations.

    - Harbour Master's Directions.

    - Standard Marine Communication Phrases.

    - VHF practice on approach.

    - Reporting points within the port.

    - Information available from Vessel Traffic Service (Sydney Ports VTS)

    - Marine Safety Act

    - Marine Safety (General) Regulations

    - Relevant sections of the Boating handbook issued by RMS Maritime

    You have one hour to answer 50 questions and achieve a mark of 90% to pass.

  • Study Guides

    Acts and Regulations 
    Harbour Master's Directions
    Notice to Mariners
    Berths and Channels Information
    Navigation in Sydney Cove

    Aus Charts

    - Sydney Harbour AUS Charts 200, 201, 202, 203
    - Port Botany AUS 196 and 198

    from a reputable nautical supply shop
  • Fees


    - New application $63.00

    - Renew $32.00
    Payment will be processed on the day. We accept Visa/Master or cheque.
  • Taking the test

    Once you have studied, phone 9296 4502 or email colkexams@portauthoritynsw.com.au to book a time and date to do the exam
    At your booked time, you will need to attend the following location.

    Brotherson House,
    Gate B103 Penrhyn Road
    Port Botany NSW 2036


    You will need to provide a completed application form and supporting documents.
  • Maintaining Validity

    The Applicant must provide the following on 1 August each year:

    - Evidence that they have carried out navigation in command of a vessel of at least 15 metres in length in each port/area for which they hold Certificates within the preceding 12 months.

    - Letter from the Applicant's employer or record of service book.

    - Completed application form Please click here to download the application form
            
    These documents can be emailed colkexams@portauthoritynsw.com.au

    OR

    Port Authority of New South Wales
    Attention: Certificates of Local Knowledge
    PO BOX 25
    Millers Point NSW 2000
  • Renew

    The Pilotage Code requires that holders of Certificates of Local Knowledge are assessed when:

    - Five years has expired since the Certificate was issued

    The Applicant must provide the following:


    - Application Form Please click here to download the application form
            
    - A current Certificate of Local Knowledge

    - A valid Certificate of Competancy

    - A valid Certificate of Medical Fitness that is required by the Certificate of Competency above

    - Evidence of active employment in the preceding six months in command of a ship of at least 15 metres and not more than 80 metres in length that operates within the harbour area for which the Certificate of Local Knowledge is valid and is the subject of a permit under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law
            
    - The COLK renewal is a computer based exam. You have to answer 25 questions in 30 minutes with a pass mark of 22.

    The examination will consist of the following:

    - Harbour Masters Directions

    - Standard Marine Communication Phrases

    - Reporting points within the port

    - Information available from Sydney Vessel Traffic Service (VTS)

    - Marine Safety Act

    - Marine Safety (General) Regulations

    - Incident Reporting requirements

    - Usual shipping and ferry routes

    - Manoeuvring areas in Botany Bay

    - Restricted areas in relevant port

  • Do it online

    Studying for your COLK

    Everything you need to know to pass the COLK is included in the section above
    The examination will consist of the following
    There are no shortcuts to passing the test. If you don't study the AUS CHART, you are unlikely to pass.


    Once you've studied for the exam, you can take the free online practice COLK. It is designed to help you become familiar with the exam, and decide if you're ready to attempt the exam for real.
            
    Practice COLK
            
    The practice test looks and operates like the real exam. It consists of questions drawn from the COLK Question Bank. At the end of the practice test, you will be advised whether you passed or failed and you will be able to review your answers

    Take a practice COLK exam by clicking on the links below:

     
    Whole Harbour Sydney Main Harbour Sydney Middle Harbour Sydney Western Harbour Sydney
     
    Port Botany Whole Harbour Sydney (RENEW)Port Botany (RENEW)
    Feedback


    If you have any suggestions, comments, or feedback about the exam please email colkexams@portauthoritynsw.com.au