Local knowledge certificate changes FAQs

The Director, Transport Safety (Safety Director) published the Local Knowledge Certificate: Determination for Masters of Domestic Commercial Vessels (Determination) on 1 October 2020.

The Determination replaces the 2012 Local Knowledge Certificate Guide for Masters of Commercial Vessels and is available on our Local Knowledge Certificate (LKC) page.

See below for LKC frequently asked questions.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact TSVqualifications@transportsafety.vic.gov.au

General information

What are the vessel requirements when applying for an LKC?

The following types or classes of vessels require a master to hold an LKC to navigate the vessels in the declared waters.

Local knowledge declared aters

Local knowledge declared waters which are also pilot required waters

Local knowledge for vessel entering or leaving port waters via pilot required waters

Vessel type

Minimum vessel length

Maximum vessel length

Minimum vessel length

Maximum vessel length

Minimum vessel length

Maximum vessel length

Class 1 or Class 2 Domestic Commercial Vessel (DCV)

>12m

Unlimited

>12m

≤35m

Local knowledge required if operating a vessel up to and including 35m without any conditions on the LKC.

>12m

≤35m

>35m

If operating a vessel greater than 35m in length a LKC must have a condition imposed by the Safety Director as per clause 83 (3) of the MSA allowing the vessel to be operated within pilot required waters without a pilot.

>35m

Vessels greater than 35m require a licensed pilot or the vessel must be operated by a pilot exempt master.

Class 3 Domestic Commercial Vessel (DCV) that engages in fishing operations

>35m

Unlimited

>35m

If operating a vessel greater than 35m in length a LKC must have a condition imposed by the Safety Director as per clause 83 (3) of the MSA allowing the vessel to be operated within pilot required waters without a pilot.

>35m

Vessels greater than 35m require a licensed pilot or the vessel must be operated by a pilot exempt master.

Are LKCs a legal requirement for commercial operators only?

Yes, LKCs are issued to applicants holding a current Certificate of Competency operating vessels greater than 12m in length (greater than 35m if a fishing vessel) however, courses required for the issue of two LKCs are open for the recreational boaters to attend. Contact the registered training organisations for more information.

What is the LKC examination process for new applications?

The process for the issue of a new certificate now includes a port office visit and a separate exam or course as appropriate depending on the LKC area.

LKC process for renewals

The process for the issue of a renewal of a certificate now includes a port office visit

What is a port office visit?

When you make an application for a new issue or wish to renew an existing certificate a port office visit will be required. This visit is conducted by the harbour master or the assistant harbour master and is an induction to the port and its operations. It is also a discussion to ascertain your current knowledge of the relevant port and operations within that port but is separate from the LKC examination process.

When do I do a port office visit?

You will need a port office visit when you are applying for the issue of a new LKC and when you are renewing your existing LKC.

How do I arrange a port office visit?

You must contact the relevant port office, details below.

Is my current LKC still valid?

Yes, if you hold a current LKC then nothing has changed regarding its validity, however, under the new Determination you must apply to renew before it expires.

Do I need to apply for another LKC if the area I have has changed?

Changes to the prescribed area have impacted both Port Phillip Heads and Lakes Entrance Bar. The relevant changes will be managed at the time of renewal. Other areas are not significantly impacted by alterations to the area they will now cover. You can check the map details on the web site.

The LKC I currently hold no longer exists. Do I need to do anything?

No, you can continue to operate in this area, however, you will need to check that the area you currently have an LKC for has not been combined with another area. If the area no longer exists, then there is no need to renew on expiry of your current LKC. An example of this is the Port of Portland.

Can I get a refund for the LKC I hold for an area that no longer exists?

No

I Have a Current LKC for Queenscliff. This area is now part of LKC 16; do I need to do anything?

No, you do not need to do anything until renewal, whereby you will need to apply for LK 16 PPB South.

What if my LKC has recently expired?

If you have an LKC and it has expired, you will need to apply for a new LKC. This may mean you will need to re-sit any required exams or courses and resubmit any required sea time. You will also need to pay for a new application not a renewal.

Are there any medical or eyesight requirements?

Medical and eyesight requirements are covered by the requirements of your Certificate of Competency that you hold.

As a recreational boater, will attending an LK course help me?

Yes, attending a course for either crossing Lakes Entrance Bar or Operations through Port Phillip Heads covers important information on a range of topics which may be applicable for the recreational boater. These courses cover in depth topics including tide changes, localised hazards, navigation aids, and local weather conditions. By completing an LKC course you will gain a better understanding of vessel traffic and interaction between commercial shipping and recreational boating

I fish recreationally in Port Phillip Heads; how can I find more information about operating in that area?

This information is available on the relevant Port Authority websites, details below. Registered training organisations have course information which may be helpful, see contact details at the end of these questions

As a recreational operator are there any unaccredited courses for local areas?

If you operate recreationally there are courses that may be of benefit for those with little or no knowledge of operating through the Port Phillip Heads or over Lakes Entrance Bar Crossing:

Port Phillip Heads

Contact Vic Ports for information regarding LKC 15, 16, 18 and 19
Vic Ports

9644 9740
Office hours 8:00am to 4:00pm

Contact Marine Training Services for information regarding the course for LK 15
Marine Training Services

5229 5432

I have a current LKC for passenger operations through Port Phillip Heads (LKC15), this has now changed. Do I need to apply for the new Port Phillip Heads LKC15?

Not until your current LKC expires. When your current LKC is due to expire you should apply for LKC 15. A Port visit will be required to update you on changes to the area.

I currently hold a LKC for passenger operations through Port Phillip Heads. I see there is an additional area now included for that LKC, do I have to do the whole course again or can this be covered when I do my port office visit?

Not until your current LKC expires. When your current LKC is due to expire you should apply for LKC 15. A port visit will be required to update you on changes to the area.

Where do I go to get additional information regarding changes to this area?

General information will be in the Harbour Master Directions (HMD) as well as the Port Information Guide (PIG) on the VPCM website. The HMD and PIG are currently under revision and aim to be published in 2021.

Gippsland Ports

Contact Gippsland Ports for information regarding LKC 3, 4, 5 and 8
Gippsland Ports
Lakes Entrance Depot: 
Bullock Island Lakes Entrance
5155 6900

Contact SEAMEC for information regarding LK 8
SEAMEC

Bullock Island Rd, Lakes Entrance 3909
1300 133 717

Gippsland Lakes

The general LKC for Gippsland Lakes has been discontinued and Cunningham Arm, The Narrows & Reeves Channel have been consolidated with the LKC for Lakes Entrance and Approaches into a single LKC.

There is no requirement to make changes to your current LKC, however, you are still not permitted to cross Lakes Entrance Bar unless you also currently hold an LKC allowing you to cross the Lakes Entrance Bar.

Upon renewal:

  1. Intending to operate within Lakes Entrance inner channels a port office visit will be required to renew your LKC and your LKC will exclude Lakes Entrance Bar.
  2. Intending to continue to traverse Lakes Entrance with Passengers – a port office visit.
  3. Intending to continue to traverse Lakes Entrance without Passengers – a port office visit.

Corner Inlet

Has there been any changes to Corner Inlet with regards to local knowledge?

The only change to Corner Inlet is the specific information regarding the channel descriptors.

The new descriptors are as follows:

  • LK 3 includes Toora and Barry Beach Channels to Barry Beach, but it excludes Lewis Channel and Port Welshpool
  • LK 4 includes Lewis Channel and Port Welshpool, but excludes Toora and Barry Beach Channels to Barry Beach

Review process

Can a person that has applied for an LKC appeal a decision made by the Safety Director (or his authorised delegate) not to grant a certificate?

The Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) provides the following clauses outlining a process which outlines a process for review for decision making applications to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

289 Internal review

  • An eligible person in relation to a reviewable decision, may apply to the Safety Director for review of the decision within—
    (a) 28 days after the day on which the decision first came to the eligible person's notice; or
    (b) such longer period as the Safety Director allows.

290 Review by VCAT

  • A person may apply to VCAT for review of—
    (a) a reviewable decision; or
    (b) a decision made, or taken to have been made, by the Safety Director under section 289 in respect of a reviewable decision—
    if the person is an eligible person in relation to the reviewable decision.
  • An application for review must be made within 28 days after the later of—
    (a) the day on which the person is notified of the decision; or
    (b) if, under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, the person requests a statement of reasons
    for the decision, the day on which the statement of reasons is given to the person or the person is informed under section 46(5) of that Act that a statement of reasons will not be given.

Contacts

TSV Qualifications
TSVqualifications@transportsafety.vic.gov.au

Vic Ports
Port Office Visit

berthallocator@vicports.vic.gov.au
331 Lorimer St, Port Melbourne 3207  
9644 9740
Office manned 8:00am to 4:00pm

VRCA Geelong
Port Office Visit

Corio Quay Rd, North Geelong 3215
5225 3500, choose option for Harbour Master

VRCA Hastings
Port Office Visit

enquires@portofhastings.com
1d Stony Point Rd, Crib Point 3919
5979 5500

Gippsland Ports
Port Office Visit
Head Office:
97 Main St, Bairnsdale 3875
5150 0500
Lakes Entrance Depot: Bullock Island Lakes Entrance
5155 6900
Welshpool: 84 Lewis St, Port Welshpool
5688 1303

Marine Training Services
17 Swanston St Geelong 3220
5229 5432

SEAMEC
Bullock Island Rd, Lakes Entrance 3909
1300 133 717