CP1 – Chartwork & Pilotage 1

Chartwork & Pilotage 1

Let us begin by saying the following: “CP 1” is applicable only to two commercial Transport Canada licences which are the 150 GT Mate and the Over 60 GT Master. The Transport Canada syllabus also states that CP 2 may be substituted for CP 1 at the candidate’s request. We highly recommend that candidates advance directly to CP 2 and save themselves the examiner’s fees and the effort of studying for two consecutive exams. That being said, if one is in a rush to secure a 150GT Mate or 60GT Master (and CP 1 will require less study than CP 2) we offer the following:

This exam will test your theoretical knowledge and practical chartwork skills. Knowledge of “Chart 1” including the buoys and fog signals will be included as well as standard chart iconography. Be familiar with the use of parallel rules and dividers. Be able to convert “compass” bearings and course lines to “True” ones.

A number of government publications listed later in the section will be of use (know what they contain but unnecessary to memorize). Despite appearing on the syllabus, no questions pertaining to tide calculations have appeared on tests—so far.

Get a good set of your navigating tools (dividers, parallel rules) and get the practice charts recommended. The author of this post holds a 150GT Master CoC and has scored as high as 90% on some of his exams and has been complimented by his examiner as a “good student”. However, the author tried to cheap out on study aids when first tackling his Chartwork exams and subsequently failed–an entirely avoidable black mark on his record.

Exam Syllabus:

Chartwork and Pilotage Level 1 (Page 168; Section 12.3)

Recommended Reading:

How to Read a Nautical Chart: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Using Electronic and Paper Charts—Nigel Calder

What we like about this book for the beginning candidate: Nigel Calder is not only a competent navigator BUT also a really good writer. The book reads easy and uses many examples to illustrate and support the iconography involved in reading charts. Moreover, it includes all of the material covered in the publication “Chart 1” which means you get two books for the price of one. Finally, the book is excellently illustrated with excerpts from many different charts of varying nationalities as well as privately made publications. We recommend this book to study for the first two segments of the syllabus for CP 1 entitled “Knowledge of Principles of Construction of the Different Types of Charts and their Use” and “Thorough Knowledge of and Ability to Use Publications”.


Practical Navigation for Officers of the Watch—A. Frost

This is a book on navigation that was expressly written to help aspiring candidates work towards UK certification to become Officer of the Watch (OOW). As such, the text teaches the concepts and formulas required to solve varying problems in navigation but also includes practice questions which can be solved using admiralty practice charts (see below). Plotting a dead-reckoning (DR) position, three point positions, running-fixes, using a ship’s deviation card and chart variation to convert “compass” to “true” are all covered in detail in this book. The writer of this blog post did not have this aid available to him upon sitting his CP exams but certainly wishes he did. It comes with a big recommendation from the Nautical Mind. Many of the practice questions appeared similar to the Transport Canada exams for CP 1 and the text will put you in good stead when studying even for CP 2. Practice Charts for this book are “Lands End to Falmouth”  and “Falmouth to Plymouth”  (we carry these charts but do not have a link to them on our online catalogue, give us a call and we’ll order them for you).

To make sure you are familiar with Canadian publications you will need these:

Chart #1: This is the book that has all the chart symbols in it. All of them, and there are a lot. You should have a good idea of the many different symbols and what they mean, and if possible you should basically know this entire book. You will notice that there are consistent themes regarding different symbols and what they represent, this makes getting to know the symbols a lot easier.

Other Publications:

Notices to Shipping (NOTSHIP)

Notices to Mariners (NOTMAR)





Other Resources:

Parallel Rules Required for measuring and transferring bearings and course-lines. Many different sizes, we recommend 15″ or 18″ for most users.

Dividers We offer many different types of dividers. The one-handed style are not absolutely required, but once you’ve used them you’ll never go back to straight ones.


Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations