Understand the changes

AMSA has worked with industry to develop a nationally consistent and simplified qualifications framework for Australians working across the domestic commercial vessel industry. 

Following extensive consultations in 2019 and 2021, we have now finalised a revised Marine Order 505 (Certificates of Competency – National Law), which comes into force from 1 January 2023.

The resulting revised qualifications framework and guidelines aim to provide national consistency, improved qualification pathways, and better safety outcomes for Australian seafarers and domestic commercial vessel operators.

These revisions mean some changes to certificates of competency, commonly known as ‘tickets’.

Most National System (AMSA-issued) certificate of competency holders can continue to work as normal and will not be impacted by these changes. When it comes time to renew an expiring certificate or apply for a new certificate, your current certificate will transition to the new qualifications framework.

Medical fitness required for new applications

A Certificate of Medical Fitness – Domestic Seafarers will be required for all new and equivalent applications from 1 January 2023.

There is a new standard for the assessment of medical fitness.

For more details, see: Standards for medical examination of domestic seafarers (PDF 608.3 KB)

The new Marine Order 505:


  • Introduces 5 new certificates of competency:
    • Coxswain Grade 3 Near Coastal
    • Master <45m Near Coastal (replaces Master <35m, which will be phased out)
    • Master <100m Near Coastal (replaces Master <80m, which will be phased out)
    • Sailing Master Coastal; and
    • Sailing Master Offshore.
  • Phases out 3 old certificates of competency, which will no longer be issued:
    • Master <35m Near Coastal (replaced by the new Master <45m Near Coastal)
    • Master <80m Near Coastal (replaced by the new Master <100m Near Coastal)
    • Mate <80m Near Coastal (replaced by the existing Master <24m Near Coastal)
  • Makes some changes to supervisory definitions in order to clarify when a General Purpose Hand certificate of competency is required.
  • Introduces a new standard for the assessment of medical fitness for Masters and crew of domestic commercial vessels.
  • Incorporates some existing exemptions.
  • Introduces changes to sea  service for some certificates of competency.
  • Requires first aid and medical fitness certificates for all new certificate of competency applications.  
    • Requires existing holders of a Coxswain Grade 2 Near Coastal certificate of competency to also hold a first aid certificate —this is because the type of vessels that a Coxswain Grade 2 Near Coastal can operate has expanded and is no longer restricted to non-passenger.

Transitional arrangements apply to some of these changes.

For more details, see MO505 Guidelines on the changes to the certificates of competency and exemptions (PDF 1.12 MB)

Fishing Port Lincoln
    What do I need to do now?

    Take the time to understand how changes to the qualifications framework for people working on a domestic commercial vessel may affect you or your operation.

    From 1 January 2023, use the updated AMSA Form 426 to apply for all new certificates of competency.  You cannot apply for any of the 5 new certificates of competency before then. 

    Keep reading to find out what actions you may need to take. and when.

    Sign up to receive updates from AMSA.