How to get a certificate of medical fitness for domestic seafarers

Find out what to do to get your certificate of medical fitness.

The certificate of medical fitness is important to:

  • ensure you are fit to perform your job at sea 
  • avoid health issues offshore 
  • avoid risk to you, your colleagues, passengers or emergency personnel.

Where to get a certificate of medical fitness

Medical practitioners, such as GPs, can issue certificates of medical fitness after an assessment. The assessment includes both medical and eyesight tests.  

The medical practitioner can be in Australia or overseas but they must: 

Before you book your assessment

Check that your medical practitioner:

  • is familiar with the Standards and able to do what's required 
  • can complete the eyesight tests. 

Note: You may need to see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for the eyesight tests. In this case, visit the optometrist first. Then give a copy of the eyesight test report to your medical practitioner at the assessment. 

It may also be helpful to find a medical practitioner who is familiar with the work of seafarers. But the Standards contain details to help medical practitioners complete these assessments.

If you disagree with the outcome of the assessment

If you disagree with the outcome of your medical assessment, you can seek a second opinion. 

You can ask a specialist to do further testing to assess if you are:

  • fit for your intended duties at sea
  • fit for restricted duties
  • unfit as per the Standards.



A seafarer has a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 kg/m² and after assessment, their GP thinks they are not fit for duty. 

The seafarer can:

  • choose to see another medical practitioner for a second opinion
  • request a functional assessment. 

A functional assessment tests abilities required on board, such as balance and strength. These tests may occur in a special facility or on board. See the Standard for more information on functional assessments.

Heart condition

A seafarer with a heart condition is seeing a cardiologist to manage the condition. 

The seafarer asks the cardiologist to:

  • review their results
  • do an assessment as per the Standards to determine their medical fitness for sea.

If you cannot obtain a certificate of medical fitness

We introduced certificates of medical fitness to increase safety in the industry. If you can't get a certificate of medical fitness, the Standards deem you unfit for sea. 

Under the Standards, medical practitioners can assess seafarers as temporarily or permanently unfit. If temporarily unfit, the practitioner should also state a minimum period before review. 

Pregnant seafarers

You can still get a certificate of medical fitness if you are pregnant. The Standards discuss risks associated with pregnancy. But practitioners can consider individual circumstances and balance risks with duty of care. 

The Standards also recommend a consultation with your obstetrician. This may help to work out:

  • what duties you can do safely 
  • how long you can do those duties
  • when to get another assessment. 

Your certificate of medical fitness does not become invalid when you become pregnant. But you should do a health assessment if your medical condition changes. 

Responsibilities for employers

Employers are responsible for creating a safe workplace. This includes considering fitness for work if there is a change in an employee’s health status. 

Employers should have a policy in place to manage the health and safety of pregnant crew. This should include: 

  • an ongoing process of risk assessment throughout the pregnancy 
  • consultation with the employee and their medical provider/s (e.g. obstetrician, midwife or GP) 
  • a plan for how the employee and employer will manage risks during the pregnancy. 

Find more information for employers with pregnant employees at the Australian Human Rights Commission. 

Last updated: 5 March 2024