Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Obtaining your qualification

Certificate of Competency

You need to have a Certificate of Competency before you can work on any domestic commercial vessel in Australia.

What is a Certificate of Competency?

A Certificate of Competency shows a seafarer’s capability to master a vessel and its passengers.
You need to have a Certificate of Competency before you can work on a domestic commercial vessel in Australia.

If you wish to work on a vessel that operates internationally, the Navigation Act 2012 applies to you.

What do I need to do to be eligible for a Certificate of Competency?

Below is a list of the training (shown with a tick) that is needed for each type of Certificate of Competency.

 

Approved RTO Certificate or Diploma First Aid HLTAID003 Marine Radio Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency
General Purpose Hand NC

 

 

Coxswain Grade 2 NC

 

 

 

Coxswain Grade 1 NC

 

Master <24m NC

 

Master (Inland Waters)

   
Master <35m NC

 

Mate <80m NC

 

Master <80m NC

 

Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 NC

 

 

Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 NC

 

 

Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 NC

 

 

Engineer Class 3 NC

 

 

AMSA has a list of approved training providers.

Eyesight test

An eyesight test must be completed by a registered optometrist. Applications for General Purpose Hand and Marine Engine Driver Grades 3 and 2 require a vision test for first time issue, with no test required for renewal. Applications for Coxswain Grades 2 and 1, Master (Inland Waters) and Master <24m require a vision test and a colour-vision test for first time issue, with no test required for renewal. For all other certificates, a vision test and a colour-vision test is required for first time issue as well as renewal.

Medical test

A self-declaration of medical fitness must be completed for all first time and renewal applications for General Purpose Hand, Coxswain Grades 1 and 2, Master <24m, Master (Inland Waters) and Marine Engine Driver Grades 2 and 3.

A certificate of medical fitness must be completed by a doctor for first time and renewal of a Master <35m, Mate <80m, Master <80m, Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 and Engineer Class 3.

If you have a current AMSA medical, you can use this in place of one of the above requirements.

Sea service

You need to complete a specified amount of service time on a vessel, known as sea service. The amount and how it is obtained is different for each type of certificate. For more information see the Sea time and taskbooks page, or refer to the relevant guidance notice for the level of qualification you are applying for.

How do I apply for a Certificate of Competency?

You can apply for your certificate by submitting application forms, shown in the table below, along with supporting material to a marine safety agency who will process your application on AMSA’s behalf. Please note that all fees are set by the Marine Safety Agencies.

 

Application for a Certificate of Competency
(AMSA534)
Eyesight Test Certificate
(AMSA542)
Self Declaration of Medical Fitness Form
(AMSA558)
Certificate of Medical Fitness for a Marine Qualification
(AMSA559)
General Purpose Hand NC


(first time issue only)

 

Coxswain Grade 2 NC


(first time issue only)

 

Coxswain Grade 1 NC


(first time issue only)

 

Master <24m NC

 

Master (Inland Waters)

;  
Master <35m NC

 

Mate <80m NC

 

Master <80m NC

 

Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 NC

 

Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 NC

 

Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 NC

 

Engineer Class 3 NC

 

What about perpetual certificates?

A perpetual certificate issued by a state or territory is recognised as a National Law certificate. All conditions and restrictions must still be met.
An example of a restriction would be attempting to operate in a state or territory that does not recognise your perpetual certificate. For example, if you have been operating in Gladstone under your perpetual certificate and wanted to operate in Broome, you would need to obtain a National Law issued certificate, as WA does not recognise perpetual certificates from other states.
You do not need to surrender your perpetual certificate if you are issued with a National Law certificate.

Do I need a Certificate of Competency for low complexity duties?

Under Exemption 38, low complexity duties may be exempt from holding a Certificate of Competency, if you:

  • Operate during daylight hours only
  • With passengers only operate:
    • a vessel <12m long with a propulsion power for an inboard engine <100kW or outboard engine <250kW;
    • within a marina or inland waters
    • within 1nm from a parent vessel
  • Without carrying passengers, only operate:
    • a vessel <12m long with a propulsion power for an inboard engine <100kW or outboard engine <250kW;
    • within a marina, smooth or inland waters;
    • within 1nm from a parent vessel;
    • in any waters within 1nm from each point of departure and within 1nm of the coast;
    • in any waters of an aquaculture lease, and any approved waters used for the daily transit to and from the aquaculture lease for operation;
    • in any waters within 250 metres of a structure fixed to the shore;
    • in sheltered waters within 2nm from the coast.
  • Tow persons:
    • Within any waters that are approved waterski areas, with or without passengers; and
    • On a vessel that has propulsion power of <500kW.

To qualify for the exemption you will need to do a training course with an AMSA approved course provider and complete a final practical assessment record with an approved trainer assessor.

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