General Purpose Hand near coastal
To be eligible for a General Purpose Hand near coastal certificate (GPH CoC) you must:
- be at least 16 years old on the certificate issue date
- be able to speak and understand English, including written documents
- be medically fit for the duties, including eyesight
- complete training
- gain any needed sea service.
Have you been working as a General Purpose Hand for a while but without a certificate?
On 1 January 2023 and following extensive industry consultation, supervisory definitions and the duties of a General Purpose Hand were clarified in a revised Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency).
You might be eligible for transitional arrangements which make it easier for experienced, existing (pre 1 January 2023) people to qualify and apply for the General Purpose Hand certificate. Find out if you're eligible.
When is a General Purpose Hand certificate required?
This certificate is required when an otherwise uncertified crew member is not under the direct supervision of a suitably qualified crew member and:
- doing deck work on a vessel <100m long and <3000GT within the EEZ under general supervision of the master or an appropriately certified crew member as delegated by the master
- doing engine work on a vessel with propulsion power <3000kW within the EEZ under general supervision of the chief engineer or another appropriately certified crew member as delegated by the chief engineer.
When is a General Purpose Hand certificate of competency not required?
Crew who are not undertaking deck or engine room tasks, or are directly supervised when undertaking such tasks, do not need to hold a General Purpose Hand certificate of competency.
Crew who already hold a certificate like the Coxswain Grade 1, and deck certificates such as the Master <24, Master (Inland Waters), Master <45m and Master <100m do not need to hold a General Purpose Hand certificate of competency.
General supervision is when the person being supervised:
- receives instruction and direction on tasks
- receives recurrent personal contact from the supervisor
- is not frequently attended by the supervisor.
To learn more about the differences between general supervision and direct supervision including examples, see Supervisory definitions.
Types of work a General Purpose Hand can undertake
Anyone can undertake the tasks of a General Purpose Hand provided they are directly supervised by an appropriately certified seafarer.
If a seafarer is not directly supervised and holds no other seafarer certificate of competency, then the General Purpose Hand certificate of competency means that the seafarer can undertake the following tasks whilst under general supervision.
This means operation or lookout tasks for any of the following:
This means tasks related to main or auxiliary machinery used for any of the following:
Note: If you don't perform these deck or engine tasks on a domestic commercial vessel (including fishing vessels) you may not need a GPH CoC.
These instructions are summary information only. We make decisions about seafarer certificates under Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency — national law) 2022. This document has full details of the eligibility and other requirements for certificate applications.