Steps to getting a certificate of competency

The steps you need to take to obtain your certificate depend on the type of work you want to do.

To work on a commercial vessel in Australian waters you must do some training and be qualified to perform the duties required by your job. We will issue you the certificate of competency after verifying your qualifications, medical fitness, sea service and after assessing your skills. 

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Eligibility to obtain a certificate of competency 

Medical and eyesight 

To be eligible for a certificate of competency you will have to meet medical fitness and eyesight requirements. This lets us know that you are medically fit, and that your eyesight meets the necessary standard, to work at sea.  

Find out about medical and eyesight requirements for domestic certificates

Certificate of competency exemptions 

You may be exempt from holding a certificate of competency. Check the list of exemptions for domestic qualifications

Complete training

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) deliver training courses for the job you want to perform. These courses vary in length and are available to complete online or in person.  

Find the list of RTOs for low complexity certificates.

Find the list of RTOs for high complexity certificates.

Types of certificates to work on a commercial vessel

There are different certificates that allow you to perform duties relating to navigating vessels, working with the machinery of vessels, and more. Find out about getting the right certificate to allow you to do your job on a vessel in Australian waters.

Low complexity certificates for near coastal (NC) operations

Practical assessment

For most low complexity certificates, you will need to do an AMSA mandated practical assessment (AMPA) at the end of the course. This lets us know that you have met the training requirements and practical skills to work at sea. 

Tip: Check if your course provider also offers the assessment or find an RTO on our website.

High complexity certificates for near coastal (NC) operations (pre-requisites apply) 

Oral Examination 

At the completion of your high complexity course you will need to attend an oral examination conducted by an AMSA examiner. This is to assess that your knowledge and skills are sufficient and you are competent to perform the duties and functions required for a certificate of competency. 

There is usually at least a two week wait for oral examinations. Due to examiner availability we can’t guarantee urgent bookings.

Qualifying sea service

Check the qualifying near coastal sea service information to find out more about sea service requirements for domestic qualifications, how to calculate and record your sea service for your certificate of competency, and check recognition of other types of sea service. 

Applying for a certificate

Once you have your qualification and proof of sea service and you are medically fit, you will need to fill out a certificate of competency application form 426. You will then need to lodge your completed application and provide 100 points of ID at a participating Australia Post outlet

Last updated: 19 January 2023