New South Wales—changes to domestic commercial vessel services

Most services for operators and crew of domestic commercial vessels are now provided by us instead of Transport for NSW Service.

To help you understand how these changes affect you, we’ve outlined them below.

Certificates of competency

Transport for NSW  AMSA—from 1 July 2018
  • Completed application forms can be lodged at any of the NSW Service Centre locations.
  • 50% of the application payment is made up front with the remaining 50% paid upon booking the oral examination.
  • Apply for sea time assessment.
  • Reminder notices sent 90 days before expiry.
  • Applications and proof of identity checks will be completed through participating Australia Post outlets.
  • Fees for the high complexity final assessment will be paid directly to AMSA when the booking the final assessment.
  • AMSA will issue reminder notices for certificate renewals.

Certificates of operation

Transport for NSW  AMSA—from 1 July 2018
  • Submit the application to TfNSW office of your choosing.
  • Certificates of operation and Certificates of survey are issued as one certificate.
  • All applications will be made through AMSA. Only completed applications will be accepted.
  • When the certificate expires you will be able to apply for a renewal rather than a new certificate.
  • A reminder will be issued 90 days before expiry of the existing certificate.

Certificates of survey

Transport for NSW AMSA—from 1 July 2018

Initial survey

  • Application to build is sent to the TfNSW office in Rozelle for processing

Initial survey

  • Vessel surveys will continue to be provided by private accredited marine surveyors.
  • Owners must supply the application to build to AMSA—this will cover the unique vessel identification.
  • Application fees for the certificate of survey are a separate charge which will be paid directly to AMSA at the time of application.

Periodic survey

  • Before the survey is due.
  • A reminder will be sent 90 days before the certificate expires.

Periodic survey and renewals

  • Reminder letters for periodic surveys will be sent 90 days before the survey is due.
  • Vessel owners will be responsible for ensuring the private accredited surveyor has all required documents and records for the assessment.
  • Certificates of survey will be valid for five years (unless advised otherwise).

Non-survey vessels

Transport for NSW AMSA—from 1 July 2018
  • TfNSW process non-survey applications with the Certificate of operation (or unique vessel identifier for vessels exempt from a Certificate of operation).
  • Applications are processed in the Rozelle office but can be lodged at any NSW service centre.
  • Completed applications will be submitted to AMSA.
  • Payment of fees can be made at the time of application via the online payment portal on AMSA's website, over the phone via AMSA Connect or in person at a participating Australia Post outlet.
  • On approval AMSA will issue the scheme non-survey vessel permit.

Exemption and equivalent means of compliance

Transport for NSW AMSA—from 1 July 2018
  • Applications for general exemptions are made through TfNSW.
  • TfNSW does not charge for exemptions 04, 07, 24, 40 if the application is part of the initial survey application.
  • If the applicant requires a specific exemption or equivalent means of compliance (EMOC) they must submit their application form directly to AMSA.
  • All applications will be submitted to AMSA.
  • Payment of fees can be made at the time of application via the online payment portal on AMSA's website, over the phone via AMSA Connect or in person at Australia Post.
  • In some cases, exemptions have been extended until 2020. Read the list of exemptions.

Transprt for NSW will continue to provide you with marine safety services for local waterways management, environmental management, pilotage, navigation aids, ports, harbours and mooring management as well as all recreational boating services.

From 1 July 2018, TfNSW still process coastal bar licences* for applicants with national certificates of competencies needing to cross a coastal bar in New South Wales.

*Coastal bar licences were previously known as bar endorsements.

Requesting records lodged in New South Wales

From 1 July 2018, the national system changes the way records related to domestic commercial vessels submitted to TfNSW are accessed. AMSA and TfNSW have agreed to the following process to assist with requests for records.

How to request records in New South Wales
How do I request records submitted to TfNSW after 1 July 2013?
  • Public requests for records should go to TfNSW. TfNSW will advise of any fees associated with document retrieval.
  • More information can be found on the TfNSW website, or by emailing
  • Please include 'records request' and the name of the vessel or application in the subject line. 
How do I request records submitted to TfNSW before 1 July 2013? As above.
What if my records span both before and after 1 July 2013?  As above.
Request records from NSW Maritime

NSW Maritime will provide seafarers with information available in their archives. If your request is for historical information (prior to July 2013) that is held in NSW Maritime archives, contact and a NSW Maritime officer will respond to the enquiry. This includes certificate of competency records from that period.

For any enquiries for certificates of competency after June 2018 you should contact AMSA at 1800 627 484.

Last updated: 

Thursday 8 July 2021