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Calculate sea service for an international certificate

How to calculate your sea service before you apply for a sea service assessment.

To obtain a certificate of competency you must have approved seagoing service, which is assessed in accordance with Marine Order 70 (Seafarer certification) 2014 and Marine Order 71 (Masters and deck officers) 2014.

Your sea service is calculated by recording days from different periods of sea service. You can take days of sea service which do not consecutively form a month and add them together. If you have served 30 days of sea service within the last 6 months, you can add these days together and we will consider this to be 1 month of sea service.

Documented training programs for international certificates 

There are various mandatory requirements of recording your experience on a vessel, they are: 

  • Training record book for STCW engineer watchkeeper 
  • Documented training programs for STCW deck watchkeeper that includes a training record book (STCW Watchkeeper Deck 18 and 24 month pathways only) 
  • Task and guided study books (TAGS books) for STCW rating  

Calculate sea service for an international deck certificate

If you perform Master or Deck officer duties or functions for:

  • At least 8 hours in a 24 hour period, the qualifying sea service is calculated as a whole day (and no more than a whole day).
  • Less than 8 hours in a 24 hour period, the qualifying sea service is calculated for the actual hours served plus 25 per cent of that time.

Qualifying sea service will count when you are doing duties or functions on a vessel and applies whether you live on board or not.

Qualifying sea service is calculated in Schedule 3.2 and 3.3 of Marine Order 71 (Masters and deck officers) 2014.

Read more about specific requirements for deck certificates.

Documented training programs for STCW Deck Watchkeeper 

The completion of one of following documented training programs that includes a training record book. This is mandatory requirement to obtain a STCW certificate of competency as Deck watchkeeper with qualifying sea service of 24 months duration or less: 

  • An AMSA approved pre‑sea course and an AMSA approved monitored onboard training program for trainee deck officers including at least 18 months documented qualifying seagoing service on vessels ≥500 gross tonnage; at least 12 months on vessels on voyages of at least 24 hours duration.
  • A pre‑sea course and an AMSA approved and monitored onboard training program for trainee deck officers including at least 24 months documented qualifying seagoing service on vessels ≥500 gross tonnage; at least 12 months on vessels on voyages of at least 24 hours duration.
  • An AMSA approved and monitored onboard training program for Integrated ratings including at least 24 months documented qualifying seagoing service on vessels ≥500 gross tonnage while holding a certificate of proficiency as Integrated rating; at least 12 months on vessels on voyages of at least 24 hours duration. 

In all the above three options at least 6 of the 12 months on vessels on voyages of at least 24 hours duration; as either: 

(A) understudy of the officer in charge of a navigation watch on a vessel; or 

(B) watchkeeping service, as an officer in charge of a navigation watch on a vessel, that AMSA considers equivalent to the service mentioned in sub‑subparagraph (A). 

Calculate sea service for an international engineering certificate

If the machinery is in use or immediately available for:

  • At least 8 hours in a 24 hour period and you are on duty or on call for that period, the qualifying sea service is calculated as a whole day (and no more than a whole day).
  • Less than 8 hours in a 24 hour period and you are on duty or on call for that period, the qualifying sea service is calculated for the actual hours served plus 25 per cent of that time.

Qualifying sea service will count when you are doing duties or functions on a vessel and applies whether you live on board or not.

Qualifying sea service is calculated in Schedule 3.2 and 3.3 of Marine Order 72 (Engineer officers) 2014.

Training record book requirements

The completion of a training record book is a mandatory requirement to obtain a STCW certificate of competency as Engineer watchkeeper as per marine order 72. 

The Engineer watchkeeper applicant must complete the training record book on board vessels ≥750 kW propulsion power, performing engineer watchkeeper duties or functions in an engine room and under the supervision of a person holding either an Engineer watchkeeper or Engineer class 2 or Engineer class 1 certificate of competency.  The training record book must be signed by the Chief engineer on each vessel. 

The training record book must be submitted for assessment by an engineer examiner or AMSA approved training organisation. If the training record book is assessed by the AMSA approved training organisation, it must be supported by a letter from this organisation indicating the applicant has completed all sections of the training record book. 

In all instances the training record book must be submitted to the engineer examiner who review it during or after the oral exam.  The Engineer watchkeeper certificate of competency cannot be issued without the training record book being signed off by the engineer examiner. 

If you are completing the Engineer experience training program, or the trainee engineer program and you have completed an Engineer class 3 near coastal task book, we will accept this in lieu of the training record book.

If you have not completed an Engineer class 3 near coastal task book, you must fulfill one of the following conditions to get your training record book authorised before sending it to us:

  • When there is a higher ranking Engineer on board other than the training record book holder, the training record book must be signed off by the higher ranking Engineer provided that they hold at least a certificate of competency as marine engine driver grade 1 and above.
  • Where the Engineer class 3 could be the highest ranking engineer or sole engineer on board, we will permit the master of the vessel or superintendent to authenticate the training record book. No sea service penalties will apply.

Read more about specific requirements for Engineering certificates.

How to apply for a STCW sea service assessment—Masters, deck officers and engineers officers only 

Once you have met the sea service requirements for your certificate you will need to lodge an application using Seafarers form 419 for a sea service assessment. If you are applying for a Master, Deck officer or Engineer officer certificate, you will need to complete an oral examination, as instructed in your AMSA assessment letter. 

Calculate sea service for an international Certificate of proficiency integrated or Chief integrated rating certificate

If you are doing Rating or Trainee duties or functions for:

  • At least 8 hours in a 24 hour period, the qualifying sea service is calculated as a whole day (and no more than a whole day).
  • Less than 8 hours in a 24 hour period, the qualifying sea service is calculated for the actual hours served plus 25 per cent of that time.

Qualifying sea service will count when you are doing duties or functions on a vessel and applies whether you live on board or not. 

Qualifying sea service (QSS) is calculated in Schedule 3.2 and 3.3 of Marine Order 73 (Ratings) 2014

Qualifying sea service must be confirmed by a letter issued by the company.  Letters issued on board a vessel by a master will not be accepted. 

Marine order 73 (Ratings) 2014 specifies that the sea service for issue of an Integrated rating certificate should be on an appropriate vessel. An appropriate vessel is greater than 24 metres in length or greater than 750 kilowatts propulsion power. 

Issue of a Certificate of proficiency—Navigational watch ratings, Engine room watch ratings and Integrated rating 

Integrated rating 

You must complete an AMSA approved training program for ratings qualifications that meets the requirements of STCW. The approved training program is based on the Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating), which consists of 21 units of competency, five task and guided study books (TAGS books) and qualifying sea service (QSS). 

The 21 units of competency have been divided in separate sections or courses, namely, pre-sea (Certificate of Safety training), deck rating requirements (A), engine rating requirements (B) and units of competency common to both deck and engine room ratings (C). The training comprises approximately 12 weeks off the job training at one of the approved training providers. 

Task and guided study books (TAGS books) for STCW Rating  

The approved task and guided study (TAGS) books consist of: 

  • TAGS book 1—Shipboard induction, shipboard procedures, engine room duties, work health and safety/occupational health and safety requirements 
  • TAGS book 2—Survival management, survival craft, firefighting and prevention 
  • TAGS book 3—Engine room, deck machinery 
  • TAGS book 4—Ships maintenance and marine rigging 
  • TAGS book 5—Dry cargo, liquid cargo, offshore vessels 

After completing at least four months qualifying sea service and completion of TAGS book 1, you may apply at a nominated AMSA regional office(i.e. Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle or Melbourne, Sydney) to have your TAGS book 1 endorsed as meeting the requirements of STCW Regulation II/4 – ratings assisting in keeping a navigation watch and STCW Regulation III/4 – ratings assisting in keeping in an engine room watch. 

Navigational watch ratings and Engine room watch ratings 

TAGS Book 1 is also available as two separate volumes, one for Navigational watch ratings (NWR) and the other for Engine room watch ratings (EWR).  These are suitable for trainees who wish to obtain a Navigational watch rating certificate or Engine watch rating certificate. 

Ratings pathways 

  1. Six months QSS pathway—Navigational watch ratings (NWR) and Engine room watch ratings (EWR) on the six months qualifying sea service pathway must hold an AMSA certificate of safety training (STCW Reg. VI/1) with a security awareness endorsement (STCW Reg. VI/6-1) and a valid certificate of medical fitness (form 303) before joining your vessel. Task and guided study book 1—NWR and task and guided study book 1—EWR must be completed while on board vessels and before the issue of the Certificate of proficiency as NWR or EWR.   A NWR also requires a steering certificate which can be obtained while serving on a vessel. To progress to the Integrated Rating STCW Regs. II/4 and III/4, NWR and EWR must complete all 21 units of the Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating) course and TAGS books 2 to 5 and 6 months qualifying sea service. 
  2. Two months QSS pathway—Navigational watch ratings (NWR) and Engine room watch ratings (EWR) on the two months qualifying sea service pathway must hold an AMSA certificate of safety training (STCW Reg. VI/1) with security awareness endorsement (STCW Reg. VI/6-1), a valid certificate of medical fitness (form 303) and must also complete AMSA approved shore based training for each respective discipline before joining your first ship.  Task and guided study book 1—NWR and Task and guided study book 1—EWR. must be completed while on board vessels and before the issue of a certificate of proficiency as NWR or EWR. The college will confirm by letter the successful completion of the training program which will include the five TAGS books. To progress to the integrated rating STCW Regs II/4 and III/4, NWR and EWR must complete all 21 units of the Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating) and TAGS books 2 to 5 and 6 months qualifying sea service. 
  3. Nine months QSS pathway—Integrated ratings (IR) on the nine months qualifying sea service pathway must hold an AMSA Certificate of Safety Training with Security Awareness endorsement (STCW Reg. VI/6-1) and a valid Certificate of Medical Fitness form 303 must also complete the 12/13 week shore based training program before joining your first ship. The Trainee integrated rating must also complete at least 9 months on the job qualifying sea service and during this time must complete TAGS 1 to 5.  The college will confirm by letter the successful completion of the training program which will include the five TAGS books.  This training program meets the requirement of STCW Regs. II/4 and III/4   An integrated rating also requires a steering certificate which can be obtained while serving on a vessel. 
  4. An Integrated rating holding a STCW Regs II/4 and III/4 certificate of proficiency may progress to an Integrated rating STCW Regs. II/5 and III/5 certificate of proficiency by completing an additional 7 months qualifying sea service.  There is no additional training requirement to obtain this certificate. 

Calculate sea service for issue of a Certificate of proficiency as chief integrated rating

Prior to the issue of a certificate as Chief integrated rating, you must hold a Certificate of proficiency as an integrated rating, have completed at least 24 months sea service as an Integrated rating (since obtaining an Integrated rating certificate), completed an advanced fire fighting course and have satisfactorily completed an AMSA approved Chief integrated rating course. 

Qualifying sea service must be confirmed by a letter issued by the company.  Letters issued on board a vessel by a master will not be accepted. 

Vessels not suitable as an appropriate vessel for ratings

For issue of a Certificate of proficiency as integrated rating, Able seafarer—deck, Able Seafarer—engine, Navigational watch rating and Engine watch rating, we will NOT accept service on jack up drill rigs and non-propelled barges engaged in port construction.

Subject to a determination by the Manager Seafarer Certification Service, we may accept up to a maximum of four months qualifying sea service on semi-submersible drill rigs and floating cranes. In making this determination the Manager will take into consideration the size of the vessel, if it operates with a normal shipboard management structure, is fitted with lifeboats and other SOLAS survival equipment and crew take part in emergency drills and training that meets the requirements of the relevant regulations in SOLAS Chapter III. Determinations will be made on a case by case basis.

Integrated rating—bridging requirements

Able seaman, Engine room ratings (greasers) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) equivalents can undertake bridging training to apply for an Integrated rating certificate of proficiency.

We will accept certificate of rating as able seaman, Deck rating, Engine room rating, (including greaser, oiler and so on) under marine order 70 equivalence arrangements.

Holders of a certificate of rating as Able seaman, Engine room rating or Deck rating listed in Marine Order 73 (Ratings) 2014 or persons holding RAN equivalents, may undertake relevant components of the approved off the job training towards becoming an Integrated Rating. The Australian Maritime College, South Metropolitan College of TAFE and Hunter TAFE have recognition of prior learning systems approved by us to assess an applicant's learning requirements in order to undertake the necessary bridging Integrated Rating training. 

On completion of the requirements – including an application form, medical fitness form, and payment of fees – a bridging Integrated Rating applying for their Certificate of Proficiency as Integrated Rating must provide evidence from the appropriate college and shipping company that the applicant has completed the necessary training and qualifying sea service as follows, depending on which is relevant to the trainee: 

  • Documentation from Australian Maritime College, Challenger TAFE (Fremantle) or Hunter TAFE (Newcastle) stating that the applicant has completed the course requirements for issue  of a Certificate III in marine operations (integrated rating) which consists of two components (off the job academic training and on the job TAGS training.
  • Evidence from their shipping company in the form of a copy of the letter detailing required qualifying sea service since completion of the college component which, for holders of an Able seaman certificate, must include at least 2 months documented sea service relevant to an engine room rating. For holders of an engine room rating, must include at least 2 months documented sea service relevant to an able seaman.

Transitional arrangements for deck officers and ratings certificates 

Transitional arrangements for deck officers and ratings certificates can be found in schedule 5, Marine Order 71 (Masters and deck officers) 2014, and schedule 5, Marine Order 73 (Ratings) 2014

Important disclaimer

This information is summary information only. We makes decisions about seafarer certificates under Marine Order 70 (Seafarer certification) 2014, Marine Order 71 (Masters and deck officers) 2014, Marine Order 72 (Engineer officers) 2014Marine Order 73 (Ratings) 2014 and Marine Order 74 (Masters and deck officers – yachts) 2015. Please refer to these marine orders for full details of eligibility and other requirements for certificate applications.

Last updated: 

Thursday 9 January 2020