AMSA mandated practical assessments

General and practical information about the AMSA mandated practical assessment (AMPA), including how to perform the assessment.

Under the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part D—Crew Competencies a seafarer must pass a final assessment before you can issue them a certificate of competency. The final assessment for low complexity certificates of competency will be an AMSA mandated practical assessment (AMPA). This must be conducted by a registered training organisation (RTO) approved by AMSA. 

The AMPA assesses the applicant's operational skills and knowledge, and their knowledge of Australian maritime legislation. An AMPA can be started: 

  • during practical assessments within the timetable of a course
  • at the very end of a course
  • when the previous AMPA has expired, or
  • at any other time when advised by AMSA.

The time it takes to complete an AMPA will be determined by the study period of the RTO delivering a MR Maritime Training Package course. 

The AMPA is valid for a period of 12 months after course completion (the date the assessor signs the AMPA cover page).

Applicants must complete the AMPA before being issued a certificate of competency for the following qualifications:

If the applicant hasn't applied for a certificate of competency before their AMPA expires, they need to complete a new AMPA before they can lodge an application. 

Completing an AMPA for the General Purpose Hand (GPH) certificate is not required. 

For high complexity certificates of competency, the final assessment will be an oral examination conducted by an AMSA examiner.

Sea service requirement

The AMPA assesses competency, so a seafarer does not have to have sea service to undertake their AMPA. They will need to accrue the required sea service within 12 months before applying for a certificate of competency, or complete another AMPA at additional cost. 

Credit for previously completed units

An RTO can complete the AMPA based on assessments that another RTO conducted. This must be recorded and dated in the 'Notes' sections for that unit on an AMPA form. 

An AMPA for a certificate of competency shows that a seafarer has completed all units for that certificate. 

An AMPA that records completion of a unit of competency can be used as credit towards another qualification. This applies to all units of competency. 

For example, if a seafarer has completed the AMPA for MARJ001 Follow environmental work practices as part of their Coxswain Grade 2, they needn't repeat the AMPA for this unit in another competency (eg Coxswain Grade 1, or Marine engine driver grades 3 or 2). 

The AMPA must show evidence that the seafarer completed these units by recording it in the 'Notes' section of each of the units concerned. On the cover of the AMPA they should list the: 

  • name of the certificate of competency
  • certificate of competency number
  • date of issue, and
  • issues authority and location.

For example:

Holds Coxswain Grade 2 NC #12345 issued on 6/7/17 by RMS/MSQ/AMSA/etc in Sydney/Brisbane/etc.

The RTO should keep a copy of the certificate of competency along with their copy of the AMPA.

If a seafarer completed units after AMPAs were introduced, and wants to transfer credit for prior learning, the RTO they are transferring credit to should conduct their assessment and complete their AMPA. 

If a person has done their course of study using a previous version of the maritime training package (either TDM or MAR), they can do their AMPA. There is no maximum time after course completion when a person may complete an AMPA. 


Tasks must be conducted by an individual or a group as specified in the AMPA. For example:

  • all vessel handling tasks are individual tasks. You can have more than one seafarer on the vessel during the assessment, but every seafarer must perform each task individually
  • ropework tasks can be assessed simultaneously, but every seafarer must tie each knot. 

Group tasks allow a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 5 seafarers in the group for the purpose of the assessment. 

Vessel requirements for conducting an AMPA


The AMPA will specify the minimum permitted vessel size. There is no specified maximum vessel size. 

The AMPA must be undertaken on a vessel that:

  • can carry the necessary equipment
  • allows the seafarer to perform all the required tasks 
  • is comparable to the vessel that the seafarer will operate when they receive their certificate of competency. 

For example, a coxswain AMPA must be completed on a vessel of greater than or equal to 5 metres. A larger vessel can be used if there is no appropriately equipped vessel of that size available. 

Engine requirements

The AMPA engineering components can be carried out on a vessel, or ashore or using an appropriate diesel engine (≥75 kW for MED3, ≥150 kW for MED2), propulsion plant, auxiliary systems and deck machinery. If using a workshop in addition to the engine, appropriate auxiliary systems must also be available such as fuel, steering, bilge, electrical etc.

If an appropriate vessel or workshop is not available, the RTO must advise AMSA why these components of the AMPA cannot be completed. AMSA will consider waiving this requirement. 

Recreational vessels

AMPAs for Coxswain Grade 2 and 1 can be conducted on a recreational vessel where the seafarer owns the vessel. 

Task completion

Only a final assessor can sign off each task and the AMPA cover page for the certificate of competency.

You must sign off tasks in the AMPA on the day they were performed. If you are signing off on previously conducted assessments, you must record this in the unit's 'Notes' section with the date of the original assessment. 

Tasks in the AMPA must be initialled and dated by the assessor who observed the task. Assessors must allow realistic time frames for completing tasks. For example, a seafarer cannot complete all 14 units for Master <24 m in a single day. We will not accept AMPAs that have been conducted in unreasonably short time frames. 

Where a number of tasks are assessed by a single assessor on the same day, these tasks may be bracketed together and signed off as a group. 

Where a task appears in more than one unit, the seafarer is not required to complete the task twice. For example, anchoring a vessels is a task within MARK002/MARK008 Manoeuvre a vessel up to 24 metres within near coastal waters and in MARN003/MARN009 Perform seamanship operations on board a vessel up to 24 metres. You only need to assess a seafarer performing the anchoring task once. 

Under NSCV part D, tasks in the AMPA can be assessed progressively, as long as final sign off is not done until the course is completed. 

A seafarer who is not assessed as competent can attempt the task again after additional training or time to practice their skills. If a seafarer's performance is well below the required standard, you should advise AMSA via email

Partial completion of the AMPA

Partial completion of an AMPA may occur in the following circumstances:

  • a seafarer completes only part of the qualification with an RTO
  • a seafarer completes only those units required for an endorsement to their certificate of competency. For example, a seafarer who wants a 500kW endorsement on their Coxswain Grade 2 would only complete the 3 engineering units in the Coxswain Grade 1 AMPA.

You should make a note of the reason for partial completion on the cover page of the AMPA. 

If a seafarer has a partially completed AMPA signed off by an assessor from another registered training organisation within the last 12 months, you should check the AMSA website or contact us to verify that the assessor is approved. 

Shipboard safety

The shipboard safety units are included in all AMPAs. You must be a certified final assessor with an RTO to be able to conduct AMPAs for the shipboard safety units. 

An AMPA is not required for the following units of competency if the unit was completed prior to 1 July 2018:

  • MARF001/MARF027 Apply basic survival skills in the event of vessel abandonment
  • MARF002/MARF028 Follow procedures to minimise and fight fires on board a vessel
  • MARF004/MARF029 Meet work health and safety requirements
  • MARF005/MARF030 Survive at sea using survival craft.

A seafarer who holds a current and valid certificate of competency or certificate of safety training is not required to complete an AMPA for the units listed above, regardless of when completed (pre or post 1 July 2018). In this case, the assessor should insert the name of the certificate held in the unit's 'Notes' section. In the 'Assessor comments' on the cover of the AMPA, they should insert the name of the certificate held, the certificate number, date of issue, issuing authority and location. 

For example:

Holds Coxswain Grade 2 NC #12345 issued on dd/mm/yy by RMS/MSQ/AMSA/etc in Sydney/Brisbane/etc.

The RTO should retain a copy of the certificate with their copy of the AMPA. 

If the seafarer does not hold a certificate, the asessor should mark in the unit's 'Notes' section that the units were completed before 1 July 2018, along with details of the evidence. 

For example:

Holds Statement of Attainment #67890 issued on dd/mm/yyyy by registered training organisation name; or

Transcript issued on dd/mm/yyyy by registered training organisation name.

The RTO should retain a copy of the evidence with their copy of the AMPA. The shipboard safety units can be assessed separately to a certificate of competency. An RTO that does not have the General Purpose Hand qualification on scope, can complete the shipboard safety units in any other AMPA they are approved to assess. 

AMPA bunkering requirements

The bunkering operation is designated as a group task for practical reasons, but under the MAR Maritime training package it must be assessed on an individual basis. The assessment includes a number of sub-tasks, such as accessing and using personal protective equipment (PPE), selecting tools and equipment, measuring tank levels, establishing a safety boundary, deploying fire and spill prevention systems, opening and closing of valves, providing instructions prior to and during refuelling, and refuelling itself. Each of these tasks can be performed by individuals, with other group members evaluating and providing feedback during performance of the task. The assessment may be repeated with the group members performing a different sub-task each time. 

The AMPA requirement for bunkering, if carried out on board a vessel, could pose a risk to safety and/or the environment. The supervising assessor can step in to prevent such a hazard, or can decide to assess the bunkering exercise without actual transfer of fuel. 

As per the Directions for RTOs, approved assessors shall ensure that: 

3.1.11 when an assessor or candidate is confronted with a dangerous situation, or exposed to a risk of accident or injury, the assessment is terminated and rescheduled.

Specific task information

MARF001 Apply basic survival skills in the event of vessel abandonment

  • The task Locate survivors in darkness must be completed by each individual in a pool or other safe water.

For this task, darkness may be simulated.

MARK001/MARK007 Handle a vessel up to 12 metres and MARK002/MARK008 Manoeuvre a vessel up to 24 metres within near coastal waters

  • The task Handle a disabled or partially disabled vessel must be performed as a practical exercise by the individual onboard a vessel operating in navigable waters.

The actual disability of the vessel may be simulated.

MARN003/MARN008 Perform seamanship operations on board a vessel up to 24 metres

The task anchor vessel according to depth and prevailing winds

  • This must be performed individually on board a vessel operating in navigable waters.

Last updated: 

Monday 24 October 2022