A Certificate of medical fitness is a certificate which confirms your medical status. Marine Order 76 (Health – medical fitness) 2017 requires that you may only perform the duties on a relevant vessel if you are medically fit to perform the duties.
A Certificate of medical fitness is endorsed to indicate the duty or duties for which you are medically fit and is generally valid from the date of issue for a period of two years, except for those persons who are less than 18 years of age or 55 years of age or more. In these cases the certificate is valid from the date of issue for a period of up to one year. A Certificate of medical fitness may be issued for less than the full period if the medical inspector considers it appropriate.
What you can do with a certificate of medical fitness
This certificate will allow you to join a vessel. Prior to the issue in Australia of an initial Certificate of competency, Certificate of recognition and Certificate of proficiency, and prior to Revalidation, you must hold a valid Certificate of medical fitness.
If you hold a Certificate of medical fitness you must show the certificate on demand to the owner or master of a vessel on which you are serving, or intend to serve on, or to an inspector.
A seafarer or licensed pilot whose Certificate of medical fitness shows that an aid to vision or hearing was used for the purpose of being found medically fit must, at all times when on duty on a vessel, use the aids for hearing and vision and in the case of vision, keep a spare aid available.
How to obtain a Certificate of medical fitness in Australia
If you are living, working, or presently in Australia, you must obtain a valid Certificate of medical fitness issued in accordance with Marine Order 76 (Health – medical fitness) 2017. This marine order and Standards for the medical examination of seafarers and coastal pilots provide instructions for a medical inspector assessing an individual’s fitness to work at sea.
Examinations leading to the issue of a Certificate of medical fitness including the booking of an appointment, is administered by Sonic HealthPlus, on behalf of AMSA.
All medical examinations must be booked through the central booking system administered by Sonic HealthPlus. You are no longer able to make appointments directly with the Medical Inspector of Seamen (MIS).
Medical examinations booked directly with an MIS, rather than via the central booking system’s 1300 number, will be deemed invalid.
You should allow up to three hours to complete the medical and administrative requirements for the issue of a Certificate of medical fitness.
Sonic HealthPlus have limited availability over the holiday period. Please see their website for trading hours.
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How to obtain a Certificate of medical fitness overseas
A certificate of medical fitness for the issue of an INITIAL Certificate of competency must be obtained in Australia. However we may under extenuating circumstances, recognise a Certificate of medical fitness completed overseas under the following conditions:
- The extenuating circumstances is first agreed to by us and the applicant advises us of their nominated medical practitioner appointed by an Administration with which AMSA has an agreement.
- The Certificate of medical fitness is completed in the country with which we have an agreement to recognise their certificates under STCW regulation I/10.
- The nominated medical practitioner is approved by the flag state administration (of the above country) to conduct medicals for seafarers.
- The medical examination is completed in accordance with AMSA forms 232 and 303.
- The applicant is responsible for the cost of the medical examination.
- The applicant is responsible for the cost to AMSA to appoint the nominated medical practitioner and will incur a fee.
- The completed AMSA forms 232 and 303 must not be altered in any way after the medical examination is completed and if they are AMSA will take action against the applicant. The forms may be scanned and emailed to AMSA with the completed seafarer certificate application.
We will only accept a Certificate of medical fitness obtained overseas when you are revalidating (except for extenuating circumstances described above) your Certificate of competency or when upgrading to a higher certificate of competency. Where a certificate holder is living and/or working overseas and wishes to renew or upgrade their Certificate of competency, they must have a valid Certificate of medical fitness. To do so, they must comply with the requirements for medical fitness listed below.
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If you are declared unfit for the proposed duties at sea you may apply for a second examination. If, after a second examination, you are again declared unfit for the proposed duties at sea, you may arrange to be examined by an independent panel. We must approve the membership of this assessment panel. If you seek to be examined by an independent panel, you will be responsible for meeting all costs incurred. Details about further examinations and cancellations can be found in Marine Order 76 (Health – medical fitness) 2017.
The owner or master of a vessel or AMSA may, at any time, require a seafarer or a licensed coastal pilot who is the holder of a valid Certificate of medical fitness to apply for a new certificate. This may happen if, as a result of illness, injury or another cause, it is believed the seafarer may no longer meet the standards specified in Marine Order 76 (Health – medical fitness) 2017.
The Certificate of medical fitness form 303 complies with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, as amended and the Maritime Labour Convention.