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Global maritime distress and safety systems radio operator's certificate

This is an international qualification for Australian registered vessels operating in international waters.
This international certificate allows you to work as a radio operator.

This certificate is issued under Marine Order 70 (Searfarer certification) 2014 and Marine Order 71 (Masters and deck officers) 2023, made under the Navigation Act 2012.

What will this certificate allow me to do?

This certificate allows you to perform radio operator duties and functions.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for a Global maritime distress and safety systems radio operator's certificate (GMDSS certificate) you must meet sea service and course requirements. The requirements depend on whether you are getting a certificate for the first time or revalidating an existing certificate. Each requirement and how to prove that you meet them is explained in these instructions.

Important disclaimer

These instructions are summary information only. We make decisions about seafarer certificates under Marine Order 70 (Seafarer certification) 2014, Marine Order 71 (Masters and deck officers) 2023, Marine Order 72 (Engineer officers) 2014, Marine Order 73 (Ratings) 2014 and Marine Order 74 (Masters and deck officers – yachts) 2015. Please refer to these marine orders for full details of eligibility and other requirements for certificate applications.

New certificate

What do I need to do?

To obtain this certificate, you need to:

Complete training courses

You will need to complete an approved course in radio communication (GMDSS) from an approved training organisation.

How to apply

You will need to lodge a formal application using the Seafarer form 419.

Lodge from within Australia

You will need to fill out the Seafarer form 419, attach all required supporting documents and lodge it at a participating Australia Post retail outlet.

You will need to pay the fees for your application at the post office at the time of lodgement.

Lodge from overseas

You will need to fill out Seafarer form 419, attach all required supporting documents including a colour passport-style photograph and send the paperwork to us by email to STCW.applications@amsa.gov.au. When we receive your email, we will let you know how to pay the fee for your application via AMSA online portal.

Revalidate certificate

What do I need to do?

To revalidate your certificate, you need to:

Provide evidence of sea service

You will need to provide evidence that you have completed one of the following:

  • Obtain a letter(s) from your employer(s) confirming you have performed radio service in a seagoing ship fully fitted with GMDSS equipment for sea area A3 of at least 12 months in total within the preceding five years, or three months in total during the preceding 6 months prior to revalidation.
    • Make sure the letter is written on company letterhead (see sample template letter)
    • Include ship particulars, including the name, IMO number, MMSI number, ship type(s), gross tonnage
    • Include the rank served on board
    • Include the dates served on board the ship
    • Include that the ship was fitted with a full GMDSS station for sea area A3
    • Include that the applicant operated the equipment on a regular basis.
  • Complete an approved revalidation course for your certificate at an approved college in the previous 5 years preceding the application for revalidation.
  • Perform duties and functions that we consider at least equivalent to sea service.

If your sea service has been carried out only on FPSOs, FSOs and dynamically positioned ship type OSIMUs as a deck officer/marine technician, it will not satisfy the 12 months sea service in the preceding 5 years requirement, or 3 months in total during the preceding 6 months prior to revalidation. If you wish to revalidate your GMDSS radio operator's certificate you will need to complete an approved GMDSS revalidation course of 3 days duration.

Specified service

The following technical positions will also be considered for revalidation:

  • Radio technicians working for a company regularly involved in the use, installation and testing of the full suite of GMDSS equipment
  • GMDSS lecturers in AMSA approved registered training organisations regularly conducting GMDSS courses
  • Dedicated radio operators in fully GMDSS equipped installations other than ships.

You need to include proof of being employed in the service specified in the five years immediately preceding application in a responsible radio communication/technical position in a non-seagoing sector of the maritime industry. The submission is to be written on company letterhead paper from your employer organisation. The letter must clearly demonstrate to us how you have maintained your professional competence and confirm that you can exercise the full capacity, function levels and limitations applying to your GMDSS radio operator’s certificate. A copy of the letter should be submitted with the application (you should keep the original).

How to apply

You will need to lodge a formal application using the Seafarer form 419.

Lodging from within Australia

You will need to fill out Seafarer form 419, attach all required supporting documents and lodge it at a participating Australia Post retail outlet.

You will need to pay the fees for your application at the post office at the time of lodgement.

Lodging from overseas

You will need to fill out Seafarer form 419, attach all required supporting documents including a colour passport-style photograph and send the paperwork to us by email to STCW.applications@amsa.gov.au. When we receive your email, we will let you know how to pay the fee for your application via AMSA online portal.

Last updated: 10 July 2024