The information on this page about transitional arrangements is specifically for existing workers – people who have been working as a general purpose hand or under an Exemption 38 (Low complexity duties) prior to the introduction of changes to Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency) on 1 January 2023.

General Purpose Hand (GPH) transitional arrangements

Are you working as a general purpose hand on a domestic commercial vessel? If you work unsupervised and you carry out deck and engineering tasks, you should hold a General Purpose Hand certificate of competency (sometimes referred to as a ‘ticket’).

Between now and 31 December 2023, transitional arrangements are in place for existing workers which provide two alternative options for demonstrating evidence of training/experience so they can qualify and be issued with a General Purpose Hand certificate. This makes gaining a General Purpose Hand certificate easier for existing workers – but these transitional arrangements won’t be around forever. Read more about these alternative options for demonstrating training/experience.

You’ll also need to meet medical fitness and first aid pre-requisites. If you don’t yet have a Certificate of Medical Fitness – Domestic Seafarers, or a valid first aid certificate, we have put in place additional transitional arrangements for existing workers which give you until 31 December 2023 to organise these.

In the meantime, you may continue in your day-to-day work without needing to hold a General Purpose Hand certificate of competency – but only until 31 December 2023.

Don’t wait until the deadline has elapsed, make the arrangements now.

Alternative options for demonstrating training/experience

Typically, to apply for a new GPH certificate you need to show evidence of completing a GPH training course at a registered training organisation. During the transitional period up until 31 December 2023 alternate options are in place to make this easier. 

This means that Australia Post Shop front teams can accept AMSA 426 applications for this certificate which don't strictly meet the specific prerequisites. Instead of a “General Purpose Hand course at the certificate 1 level”, Aus Post shop front teams can accept either of the following two alternative options:

Option 1 – If you have completed either Elements of shipboard safety (ESS) or a Certificate of safety training (CoST) course: 

Option 2 – If you have not completed any formal seafarer training (ESS, CoST or a GPH course):

  • At least 180 days of sea service, performing GPH duties onboard a domestic commercial vessel, recorded on an AMSA 771 record of sea service form.

These arrangements are only in place for 12 months, from 1 January 2023. Applications must be received before 31 December 2023.  

Note: if you are not able to complete a 771 form, a signed letter from the employer containing the same information required on a 771 form will also be accepted.

You can apply for a GPH certificate using AMSA form 426.

For more detailed information, read the guidelines on the new revised Marine Order 505 (PDF 1.12 MB).

For more details about the General Purpose Hand certificate, see:

If you already hold a General Purpose Hand certificate, the good news is that the length of vessels that you can work on deck or in the engine room of has increased from <80m to vessels that are <100m, <3000 GT, and <3000kW, within the EEZ.

Exemption 38 > Coxswain Grade 3 transitional arrangements

Have you been working under an Exemption 38 (Low complexity duties) on a domestic commercial vessel?

On 1 January 2023 this exemption was replaced by a new entry-level certificate of competency called a Coxswain Grade 3 which allows people who meet the pre-requisites to operate vessels <12m in smooth waters or close to shore. 

If you meet the pre-requisites, you can work as a Coxswain Grade 3. It’s as simple as that. Applying to AMSA to be issued with a Coxswain Grade 3 card is optional.

What are the pre-requisites?

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to speak and understand English, including written documents
  • Be medically fit for the duties, including eyesight
  • Gain any needed sea service
  • Complete any required on-water practical tasks
  • Hold a recreational boat license, issued by a State or Territory, or complete a training option listed under ‘new certificate’

Transitional arrangements are in place which make it easier for existing workers to comply with these pre-requisites, and in particular the new Certificate of Medical Fitness – Domestic Seafarers requirement, but these end on 31 December 2023.

If you’re an existing worker, you need to satisfy the pre-requisites for a Coxswain Grade 3 if you wish to continue working in your current role.

Check to make sure you meet these pre-requisites. Don’t wait until the deadline has elapsed.

Access the Certificate of Medical Fitness – Domestic Seafarers  application form. Familiarise yourself with the new standard which applies to medical fitness (PDF 608.3 KB).