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Obtaining your qualification

The steps you will need to complete to obtain a domestic certificate of competency.

You need to have a certificate of competency before you can work on a domestic commercial vessel in Australia. A certificate of competency proves your capability to master a vessel and its passengers. If you wish to work on a vessel that operates internationally, the Navigation Act 2012 applies to you.

What to do to be eligible for a certificate of competency

The training listed below is needed for each type of certificate of competency.

 

Approved registered training organisation certificate or diploma First aid HLTAID003 Marine radio operators VHF certificate of proficiency Marine radio operators certificate of proficiency
General purpose hand near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

 

Coxswain grade 2 near coastal

Yes

 

 

 

Coxswain grade 1 near coastal

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Master less than 24 metres near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Master (inland waters)

Yes

Yes

   
Master less than 35 metres near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Mate less than 80 metres near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Master less than 80 metres near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Marine engine driver grade 3 near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

 

Marine engine driver grade 2 near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

 

Marine engine driver grade 1 near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

 

Engineer class 3 near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

 

Eyesight test

An eyesight test must be completed by a registered optometrist. Applications for General purpose hand and Marine engine driver grades 3 and 2 require a vision test for first time issue, with no test required for renewal. Applications for Coxswain grades 2 and 1, Master (inland waters) and Master less than 24 metres require a vision test and a colour-vision test for first time issue, with no test required for renewal. For all other certificates, a vision test and a colour-vision test is required for first time issue as well as renewal.

Medical test

A self declaration of medical fitness must be completed for all first time and renewal applications for General purpose hand, Coxswain grades 1 and 2, Master less than 24 metres, Master (inland waters) and Marine engine driver grades 2 and 3.

A certificate of medical fitness must be completed by a doctor for first time and renewal of a Master less than 35 metres, Mate less than 80 metres, Master less than 80 metres, Marine engine driver grade 1 and Engineer class 3.

If you have a current AMSA medical (Certificate of medical fitness form 303), you can use this in place of one of the above requirements.

Sea service

You need to complete a specified amount of service time on a vessel, known as sea service. The amount and how it is obtained is different for each type of certificate. Read more about fulfilling your sea service requirements. You can also read the guidance notice for your qualification.

How to apply for a certificate of competency

You can apply for your certificate by submitting application forms, shown in the table below, along with supporting material to a marine safety agency who will process your application on our behalf. Please note that all fees are set by the marine safety agencies.

 

Application for a Certificate of Competency
(AMSA534)
Eyesight Test Certificate
(AMSA542)
Self Declaration of Medical Fitness Form
(AMSA558)
Certificate of Medical Fitness for a Marine Qualification
(AMSA559)
General purpose hand near coastal

Yes

Yes
(first time issue only)

Yes

 

Coxswain grade 2 near coastal

Yes

Yes
(first time issue only)

Yes

 

Coxswain grade 1 near coastal

Yes

Yes
(first time issue only)

Yes

 

Master less than 24 metres near coastal

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Master (inland waters)

Yes

Yes

Yes;  
Master less than 35 metres near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Mate less than 80 metres near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Master less than 80 metres near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Marine engine driver grade 3 near coastal

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Marine engine driver grade 2 near coastal

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Marine engine driver grade 1 near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Engineer class 3 near coastal

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Perpetual certificates

A perpetual certificate issued by a state or territory is recognised as a National Law certificate. All conditions and restrictions must still be met.

An example of a restriction would be attempting to operate in a state or territory that does not recognise your perpetual certificate. For example, if you have been operating in Gladstone under your perpetual certificate and wanted to operate in Broome, you would need to obtain a National Law issued certificate, as Western Australia does not recognise perpetual certificates from other states.

You do not need to surrender your perpetual certificate if you are issued with a National Law certificate.

Do I need a certificate of competency for low complexity duties?

Under Exemption 38, low complexity duties may be exempt from holding a certificate of competency, if you:

  • operate during daylight hours only
  • with passengers only operate:
    • a vessel less than 12 metres long with a propulsion power for an inboard engine less than 100 kilowatts or outboard engine less than 250 kilowatts
    • within a marina or inland waters
    • within 1 nautical mile from a parent vessel
  • without carrying passengers, only operate:
    • a vessel less than 12 metres long with a propulsion power for an inboard engine less than 100 kilowatts or outboard engine less than 250 kilowatts
    • within a marina, smooth or inland waters
    • within 1 nm from a parent vessel
    • in any waters within 1 nautical mile from each point of departure and within 1 nautical mile of the coast
    • in any waters of an aquaculture lease, and any approved waters used for the daily transit to and from the aquaculture lease for operation
    • in any waters within 250 metres of a structure fixed to the shore
    • in sheltered waters within 2 nautical miles from the coast
  • tow persons:
    • within any waters that are approved waterski areas, with or without passengers
    • on a vessel that has propulsion power of less than 500 kilowatts.

To qualify for the exemption you will need to do a training course with an approved training organisation and complete a final practical assessment record with an approved trainer assessor.

Last updated: 16 November 2017
Last reviewed: 16 November 2017