Florida Harbor Pilot Exam - Chart Plot, Questions

I saw the blank charts from pilottestcharts.com
Are these able to be replicated if I brought them to a blueprint store?

More on the topic of the chart plot itself, what exactly is needed to be drawn? Meaning how in depth must you go during the exam. Is it more based on the amount of items you can draw on there correctly? I would assume all ATONs, Channels, buoys, piers, etc need to be on there. At what extent must soundings be present? Would it be every 2" or only a few? Any help would be appreciated.

Call the REC that administers that exam as each location is a bit different.

I don’t think this is for the USCG - it’s for the exam for Florida. And I’m pretty sure they have different requirements.

I have been able to make copies at kinkos fedex to save $.

But does the print come exactly the same or is it a hair off? I have heard it could be different when reprinting it at places like that.

You can of course take a chart from PilotTestCharts.com and then replicate it at Kinkos but you DO then run the risk of the charts being off and not lining up.
We at PilotTestCharts.con control the print process for all products we offer. What we mean by control is - we adjust for any errors inherent in the print process that would make the final printed chart dimensions differ from the original PDF chart file dimensions. We have been working on this problem for a while now and are familiar with the issue and how to solve it. Please feel free to reach out if you have any more questions.


I plan on buying a few of your charts regardless. at $32 a practice chart though it’s pretty steep if I have to practice it 10-20 times. I assume this problem varies from printer to printer?

I found a location near by that was exact. Took a few tries.

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From my experience, that’s a lot of drawings.

As long as you have the numbers memorized, 3 or 4 drawings is enough. The drawing is the easy part. The rest of it is the hard part.

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Yes. The problem varies from printer to printer so you may spend valuable time and energy just messing around with printing and copying charts.
And generally we see pilotage candidates from all over the country use between 3 - 6 Practice Charts ( white, non transparent paper) and 1 Test Chart (semi transparent vellum paper).
Hopefully this information is helpful.
If anybody has any questions about charts please reach out to us.


This is good to know!

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Don’t waste your time in those print centers(Kinko, Offfice Max). I wasted time and not much money but the results were a disaster. Did a little research and found PTC. They had everything I needed, invested heavily on their products and they are solid. The only thing that was expensive, in my case, the shipping. They are in Seal Beach, California and I’m in Puerto Rico. As for drawing get the lat and long, then develop from there. I’ve been doing it by sections, one buoy(“7”) fall on a latitud and from that one I can draw the rest that are in the bar channel. They will be asking from the Coast Pilot some local knowledge. I’m still practicing everyday and have 11 months left to test on my letter. If you want that endorsement you got to “pay to play”, no way around it.

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I saw the recent posting, but I find the timeline confusing. 70 days to memorize the chart(s), learn the local knowledge which includes:

  • US Coast Pilot
  • Tide and Tidal Current Tables
  • United States Coast Guard Light List Chart(s) for your Port
  • Port Authority Publications
  • Corps of Engineers Surveys
  • Captain of the Port Orders and/or Recommendations
  • Operational Standards and Navigation Guidelines as filed with the Board & practiced in the Port. - - Actual Practices Developed and followed in the Port Local Notices to Mariners (up to January 1, 2018)

As well as prep for a notoriously difficult exam that assumes you’ve read and memorized (in addition to the rules):

• Behavior and Handling of Ships
• Shiphandling with Tugs
• Shiphandling for the Mariner
• Ship Handling: Mooring, and Anchoring Ships: Principles and Practice
• Tug Use Offshore in Bays and Rivers: The Towmaster’s Manual.
• Modern Towing. 3rd ed

Seems like a hell of a lot in a short time span. I’ve seen that some of the other openings typically give a much larger prep time. Wonder what’s special about this post.


Oh, the timeline is terrible. I have a strong suspicion there will be a second, emergency opening come August when no one passes. Happened in Pensacola couple years ago. Ive been running full tilt for a long wile for next week’s exam, I thought I could just keep the pace up to test again in June/July, but there is no way I can turn and burn to be ready for May. Especialy after looking at the charts. If I already had Jax in my portfolio maybe, but not 0 to hero, and especially not for someone’s first attempt. Theres a couple folks testing in a week who have tested in Jax in the past, I hope they give it a shot.

Yeah 70 days is not realistic.

If you assume a successful candidate studies for >= 1000 hours (which I’ve read multiple times on this forum), and I started studying the moment the release went out, and studied every single day, I would have to study on average 14.3 hours per day. If I took one day a week off to play with my kids and stave off divorce I would have to average 16.7 hours per day.

I plan to test next year for any port that is available in Florida. My goal is to at least see the test and get a full feel for it. If I get it great if not I’ll be prepared for the next opening.

How exactly do they pick who they take? Is it based off of highest score? or do they select from all of the people that passed the test?

Highest score in order get chosen to fill however many openings need filled for that port.

This info is public information, you can start prepping whenever you want. A lot of guys just prep and hope their port gets posted that year or be prepared for multiple ports that interest you, or have insider information on what ports are being posted

Well, generally it becomes public ~ September for a March exam, this is a special opening, so for whatever reason Jacksonville discovered they needed a deputy outside the normal window and decided it couldn’t wait. Became public in February, but test date wasnt announced till 3/1 for a 5/10 test- a couple years ago the special opening for Tampa was Late February for June, a little more realistic time line.

This is certainly a plan, as long as you’re aware there is a 3 year cool down if you fail two consecutive tests.