Completing the declaration required for Coxswain Grade 3 for recreational boating licence holders

If Option (d) of the eligibility criteria for the Coxswain Grade 3 NC certificate is selected, the declaration form AMSA 1882 must be completed and lodged with AMSA.

Part B of the form must be completed by an ‘observer’, who must witness the applicant complete the practical on water tasks set out in the declaration form AMSA 1882. Guidance on the practical on water tasks to be witnessed by the observer is provided in the table below. The observer must also comply with the observational requirements set out below.

The observer must either:

  • hold a Coxswain Grade 2 or higher commercial dual or deck certificate of competency; or
  • when assessing a person who will be operating only in a marina or mooring area:
    • be eligible for a Coxswain Grade 3; and
    • have held a recreational boating licence for at least two years; and
    • have at least six months relevant experience operating similar kinds of vessels in a marina or mooring area.

Note that a person who will be operating only in a marina or mooring area may also be observed by a

person who holds a Coxswain Grade 2 or higher commercial dual or deck certificate of competency.

Observation requirements

When planning and conducting the observation, the observer must ensure that:

  • photo identification (e.g. passport, licence) is checked for the applicant, unless the applicant

is known to them;

  • this document and the declaration form (AMSA1882) is made available to the

applicant prior to the date of the observation;

  • the observation is performed on board a vessel in an operational environment (on water),

or in a simulated environment only where indicated;

  • the observation includes a minimum of 20 minutes* at the helm plus 30 minutes for other


  • where the observation is completed with a group of three or more applicants, the observation time includes a minimum of 20 minutes* at the helm per applicant plus 20 minutes per applicant for other tasks; and
  • the demonstration of tasks is supported with questioning to determine the applicant’s knowledge and understanding.

*The minimum time requirement is calculated on the amount of tasks to perform, and is ensuring that participants are given enough time to feel confident and be competent at the helm.

Guidance for on water tasks to be witnessed by the observer 

CriteriaGuidance for on water tasks

1. Vessel, crew and passenger


Pre-departure checks

  • Vessel seaworthiness: inspect the vessel to make sure it is maintained and in good condition. This could include:
    • Checking hull integrity (look for obvious signs of corrosion, hull damage or


    • Checking for watertightness (for example bungs are secure)
  • Check oil, cooling, fuel, batteries, steering, ropes and lines
  • Check tools and spares on board and that they are safely stowed
    • This could include spark plugs, spanner, spare battery
  • Locate and check all safety and fire-fighting equipment, ensuring all is in date

and operational. Must include:

    • Life jackets
    • Life buoys
    • EPIRB / distress signals
    • Communication systems – radio check Tx and Rx
    • On board alarm systems
    • First aid kit
    • Required fire-fighting equipment
  • Check maintenance logbook
    • Confirm that engine and other equipment are serviced and maintained in

accordance with manufacturer’s instructions

  • Check total load, number of passengers allowed and stability

Safe working practice awareness in relation to:

  • Situational awareness
  • Safety Management Systems
    • Confirm familiar with and follow organisation’s SMS
  • Domestic vessel legislation. For example, this could include familiarity with:
    • the duties of owners and masters
    • section 27 of the National Law Act – what is reasonably practicable to

ensure safety

  • Fuelling – sufficient quantity for voyage and/or safe re-fuelling opportunities
    • Consideration of appropriate quantity of fuel should allow for emergencies /

unforeseen circumstances

  • Pollution prevention – noise, wake, wash, waste, bilge water. This should


    • Knowledge of the local requirements for sewage, grey water and oil discharge, draining of bilge, garbage disposal
    • Understanding what a reportable incident is (for example, oil spills, sewage

discharges) who to report to and how to report it

    • Considering noise, sub-marine habitats (when anchoring) and marine life
    • Knowledge of environmental zoning charts related to area of operation

Ability to communicate:

  • Instructions to crew and passengers

- For example: crew inductions, passenger briefings, safety information, change of conditions, manoeuvring

  • Operational intentions to employer / relevant persons ashore (intended area

of operation and planned time of return)

  • This should include the use of correct terminology for parts of a vessel during

communications (e.g., bow, stern, port, starboard, helm, tiller, cleat)

2. Weather and tides
  • Check forecast for weather and sea conditions and plan voyage and operations accordingly. This should include:
    • accessing and applying weather and wind information and forecasts (sources can include Bureau of Meteorology website, radio, television, VHF marine radio services)
    • identifying risks in the area of intended operation (for example, wind strength, wave height)
    • knowledge of local weather conditions (for example, cyclones, mist, fog, rain, southerly blusters, squalls)
    • assessing the conditions on the water, including effect of wind, effect of tidal flow, effect of current, wash from other vessels, sea conditions
    • anticipating the impact on passenger safety and taking appropriate action (for example, avoid heavy weather conditions, monitor weather conditions and maintain situation awareness at all times)
  • Check current tides and plan voyage and operations accordingly. This should include:
    • correctly interpreting tide tables
    • knowledge of tides, depth of water at any given time, tidal streams and

currents in area of operation

    • passage planning relating to tides
3. Navigation

Comply with:

  • Navigation aids – marks, buoys, signage and shapes
  • Collision regulations and avoidance techniques, including:
    • Maintain a proper lookout at all times
    • Safe speed
    • Overtaking
    • Head-on situation
    • Crossing situation
    • Action by give-way vessel
    • Action by stand-on vessel
    • Responsibilities between vessels
    • Risk of collision and action to avoid collision
    • Restricted visibility
    • Sound signals: port, starboard, astern, unsure of intentions
  • Local regulations and signage: speed limits, restrictions etc
  • Safely use any on-board navigational equipment

- Compass, GPS, depth sounder, charts

4. Manoeuvring

Safely manoeuvre the vessel:

  • Should include recognising the features of the vessel that relate to its handling characteristics, including displacement and planning hulls, outboard and inboard propulsion units, rudders and propellers


  • Must carry out the following manoeuvres safely in normal conditions at:
    • ahead
    • astern
    • port
    • starboard
    • figure of 8
  • Operate the vessel at varying speeds and with consideration of other vessels
  • Manoeuvre vessel on and off the plane (if applicable)
  • Control the trim and tilt of the engine (if applicable)
  • Safely berth and un-berthing the vessel, including:
    • throwing, securing and casting off lines
    • maintenance of sufficient speed for control
    • use of forward, backward and sideways force of propeller
    • regard for tide, wind and sea state
    • considering the stability of the vessel and whether the ramp/jetty/pontoon is

slippery and equipment is stowed correctly

    • safely embarking and disembarking passengers. Ensuring passengers are seated with hands inboard
  • Control the speed of the vessel
  • Utilise wind/tidal stream/current when manoeuvring the vessel
  • Anchor and retrieve anchor, considering:
    • length of chain/line necessary
    • effect of wind and tide
    • position of other vessels
    • how anchor is lowered and set
    • anchor drift
    • engine power
    • use of deck equipment
  • Safely pick up and release a mooring, considering:
    • other vessels
    • downwind approach
    • boat hook handling
    • tidal flow
    • approach speed
    • motor to reduce strain on line
    • mooring line and fouling of propeller
    • use of deck equipment, including windlass, bollards, winches, cleats, bow


  • Perform an emergency stop
  • Examples of manoeuvres that would be completed to demonstrate competency:
    • Approach boat ramp with other vessels in vicinity
    • Drive into a headwind
    • Cross the wash of another vessel
    • Handle in a following or quartering sea
    • Safe approach to a floating object or pontoon
    • Safely retrieve a person overboard
5. Rope workCheck lines and ropes for deterioration and wear, and stow correctly
Handle lines/ropes safely and correctly

Ability to tie and use basic knots, including

  • Bowline
  • Round turn and two half hitches
  • Reef
  • Clove hitch
6. Emergencies

Identify potential hazards on board, such as:

  • Lack of safety equipment or out of date safety equipment
  • Weather conditions and forecast
  • Smoking
  • Faulty equipment
  • Medical issues
  • Dangerous goods
  • Engine spark
  • Loose lines
Identify the local rescue services, methods of contact, access points and timing
Identify the appropriate actions for fire, collision, grounding, flooding and person overboard. The appropriate action should be in accordance with the vessel’s Safety Management System.

For emergencies: (by simulation)

  • Ability to use firefighting equipment, including:
    • identifying location and class of fire
    • raising fire alarm
    • wearing appropriate PPE
    • using appropriate method/equipment/extinguisher for fire
    • communication with crew and passengers
    • prevention of further outbreak
  • Ability to communicate with, and given clear instructions to, passengers and

crew in the event of an emergency

    • For example, person overboard procedures, emergency lighting, use of pumping/baling equipment, EPIRB use
    • Correct use of marine radio in an emergency
  • Vessel abandonment procedures. This could include:
    • Preparing for rescue: respond to muster and abandon ship signals, organise survival equipment, operate EPIRB, radio distress calls, participate in drills
    • Vessel abandonment: don a lifejacket and check, assist others, muster

passengers and crew

    • In water survival: stay with vessel if partially afloat, stay together in a group, maintain morale and communication, lookout maintained for rescue craft, follow rescue instructions
  • Don a lifejacket and check
7. General

Emergency contact details

Inform someone prior to departure and on arrival

Know the operational limits of a Coxswain Grade 3 Near Coastal certificate
Meaning of terms
  • By simulation – acting out or mimicking an actual or probable real-life event or situation of
  • assumed circumstances or factors
  • Check – to verify, inspect condition or test performance
  • Comply – to be in accordance with demands, requirements, conditions
  • Identify – to recognise or determine
  • Inspect – to look carefully at or over and to view closely and critically
Suggested learning resources
  • BoatSafe Workbook: A practical guide to obtaining a recreational marine driver licence,
  • Maritime Safety Queensland
  • Boating safety handbooks from State/ Territory marine safety agencies
  • Chapman Practical Boat Handling: For Every Situation, Gregory O. Jones & Dave Kelley, 2006
  • Seamanship, John Kelsey, 2011
Last updated: 28 December 2022