Transitional arrangements for General Purpose Hand

With the introduction of a new revised Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency) on 1 January 2023 following extensive industry consultation, a number of clarifications have been made to the supervisory definitions and duties of a General Purpose Hand.

People who hold a General Purpose Hand certificate of competency (GPH CoC) (or don’t hold one and have been working as a GPH under the assumption they don’t require it), and operators of domestic commercial vessels, should reassess how these clarifications might apply to their specific operations.

Supervisory definitions

Persons previously working without a GPH CoC may need to obtain one, but only if they are working under general supervision when undertaking deck and engine room duties.

A GPH CoC is not required when the person undertaking these duties is working under direct supervision when on deck or in the engine room.  Direct and general supervision are described as follows:

  • Direct supervision means that the person being supervised is frequently within sight and hearing of the supervisor.
  • General supervision means that the person being supervised receives instruction and direction on tasks, and recurrent personal contact from the supervisor, but is not frequently attended by the supervisor.

Two transitional pathways have been established to help persons who are currently working as a GPH to gain the CoC based on their experience in their role.

Experienced but uncertificated persons wishing to formally apply for a GPH CoC over the 12-month period from 1 January 2023 until 30 June 2024 do not need to hold the required  Certificate I in Maritime Operations if they have either:

  1. completed six months qualifying sea service in the last five years, or
  2. completed 30 days qualifying sea service and either an Elements of Ship Board Safety Unit (ESS) or a Certificate of Safety Training (CoST) in the last five years.

Duties of GPH have also been clarified in the new Marine Order 505:

  • Assist with deck work on a vessel <100 m long and <3000 GT <EEZ under general supervision of the master of the vessel or an appropriately certificated crew member to whom the master delegates the supervision.
  • Assist with engine work on a vessel with propulsion power <3000 kW <EEZ under general supervision of the chief engineer of the vessel or another appropriately certificated crew member to whom the chief engineer delegates the supervision.
  • This means that a person assisting with deck work or engine work under direct supervision rather than general supervision is not required to hold a CoC.

Persons holding certificates such as the Coxswain Grade 1, and deck certificates such as the Master <24m, Master (Inland Waters) NC, Master <45m and Master <100 will be able to perform duties of a General Purpose Hand from 1 January 2023 without holding a GPH CoC.

For more detailed information, read the guidelines (PDF 614.99 KB) document on the new revised Marine Order 505.

Last updated: 

Wednesday 24 August 2022