Qualifying near coastal sea service

How to calculate, record and provide your sea service for your certificate of competency.

Sea service assessment

Your sea service will be assessed in accordance with the National Standard for Commercial Vessels Part D—Crew competencies (NSCV Part D).

You can find the sea service requirements for each certificate under Domestic certification. For each certificate the sea service you need is given for a new certificate, revalidating your certificate, adding an endorsement or removing a restriction.

Evidence of service

You must provide evidence supporting your claim for sea service at the time of application for all new certificates of competency other than a General purpose hand near coastal.

You must also provide evidence of sea service at the time of revalidating all high complexity certificates:

  • Master less than 35 metres near coastal
  • Mate less than 80 metres near coastal
  • Master less than 80 metres near coastal
  • Marine engine driver grade 1 near coastal
  • Engineer class 3 near coastal.

You need to submit at least one of the following as proof of qualifying sea service:

  • Record of sea service form 771
  • an approved sea service log book
  • the on board sea service record from your task book
  • a letter from the vessel operator, owner, master or chief engineer detailing your sea service.

Task books

The National Standard for Commercial Vessels Part D—Crew competencies provides for a reduction in the amount of qualifying sea service you require if you complete a task book. You must submit the completed and signed seafarer details page from your task book with your certificate of competency application to be eligible for the reduction in the sea service requirement.

You can get a task book from us or from some registered training organisations. To order a task book directly from us, use the AMSA chargeable publications order form 1057.

Calculation of qualifying sea service

1. Qualifying sea service is measured in days spent performing tasks appropriate to the class of certificate to which the sea service applies.

2. At least half of your sea service must be within the five years before your application.

3. For Coxswain grade 2 near coastal, Coxswain grade 1 near coastal and Marine engine driver grade 3 near coastal, you must be at least 14 years old when performing sea service. For all other certificates of competency you must be at least 16 years old.

4. A day is a minimum of 7.5 hours.

5. You can accumulate the hours for calculating one day over more than one day. If you work 3.5 hours on one day you can carry it over to the next day until you have a total of 7.5 hours to make one day of qualifying sea service.

6. If you work more than 7.5 hours in any 24-hour period you can claim one day of qualifying sea service and no more. You cannot carry the extra time over to the next day.

7. You may accrue sea service in the following circumstances:

  • While the vessel is underway. A vessel is underway when it is:
    • being manoeuvred to free it from being aground.
    • at anchor with a person on anchor watch
    • not tied to a jetty
    • operating.
  • For a deck certificate—up to 15 per cent, on a vessel that is not underway, while you are performing duties in a deck capacity, or refitting work.
  • For an engineering certificate—up to 33 per cent, on a vessel that is not underway, while you are performing engine related duties or refitting.

8. You will be credited an additional 10 days sea service for each full 20 days accrued on voyages of more than 24 hours duration:

  • that include periods underway where you perform duties in a watchkeeping capacity or undertake deck duties in both day and night
  • during which fatigue is managed in accordance with the STCW Convention.

9. If you are living on a vessel, sea service may be counted only while you are carrying out relevant navigational or engineering work such as carrying out normal commercial operations, taking passengers, navigating, at anchor during sight-seeing or charter.

10. Sea service accrued while performing dual certified roles on vessels with propulsion power up to 750 kilowatts can be counted towards both deck and engineering certificates of competency.

Calculating propulsion power

Propulsion power of a vessel less than 35 metres is equal to the maximum continuous rated power of the vessel’s largest propulsion unit as recorded on the vessel’s certificate of survey or certificate of operation.

For vessels longer than 35 metres the propulsion power is equal to the total of the combined maximum continuous rated output power of all the vessel’s main propulsion machinery as recorded on the vessel’s certificate of survey or certificate of operation.

Recording sea service

The following information outlines the requirements for providing evidence of your sea service.

When recording your sea service you need to be aware that you will be guilty of an offence under section 137.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 if you give false or misleading information.

Area of operation

You must record the primary operational area for each voyage. If a voyage includes transiting through an area of operation such as through sheltered waters to operate in open water, the area of operation is recorded as open water.

You must record areas of operation using the following operational area codes:

Code Meaning
IW Inland waters
SW Sheltered waters
SSW Seaward of sheltered waters
NUD Not underway deck or refit work
NUE Not underway engine or refit work

You will find definitions of inland waters and sheltered waters in the National Standard for Commercial Vessels Part B – General requirements.

Type of operation

You must record the type of operation using the following operation codes:

Code Meaning


Commercial (passenger, trading, fishing, rescue)





Propulsion type

You must record the type of propulsion using the following propulsion codes:

Code Meaning
I Inboard
O Outboard
S Steam

Duties performed

Some certificates of competency require that a portion of your qualifying sea service is obtained while performing specific duties. For this reason it is important you accurately record the duties you perform on board.

You must record the duties you performed using the following codes:

Code Meaning


Assistant to engineer or engine driver


Engineer or engine driver


Engineer watchkeeper


Engineer in charge


Assistant to engineer in charge




Deck and engineering


General purpose hand


In charge of navigational watch/officer of watch


Coxswain grade 1 or 2

Other details you must record

You must record the following details for each vessel you are claiming qualifying sea service on:

  • vessel name
  • vessel identification number
  • vessel length (in metres)
  • propulsion system—outboard or inboard engine/s
  • number of engines
  • propulsion power (kilowatts)
  • start and finish date of voyage. Entries may include multiple voyages if:
    • on the same vessel
    • in the same area of operation and undertaking the same duties.
      It is recommended that entries cover no longer than a three month time span.
  • number of days at sea
  • average hours worked each day
  • number of days on voyages longer than 24 hours
  • certificate/s of competency held.

Some certificates of competency have prerequisite requirements for qualifying sea service. For example, a Mate less than 80 metres near coastal or Master less than 24 metres near coastal is required before you can accrue sea service for a Master less than 35 metres near coastal. You can find the prerequisite requirements for your certificate under Domestic certification.

Sea service accrued on private luxury yachts

Privately owned luxury yachts are often referred to as 'white boats' or 'superyachts'. They can be described as non-commercial, professionally crewed motor or sailing yachts which are constructed, equipped and operated in a similar manner to commercial vessels. These vessels would typically be of a substantial size with complex systems and would often be in class survey and/or employ appropriately certified crew.

If you claim commercial sea service on a luxury yacht, you may be required to provide further evidence as proof of the commercial nature of the sea service and the period of time that you were employed. You may provide evidence such as:

  • a letter from the vessel owner or operator with details of the vessel confirming that you were in paid employment, and the nature and period of employment
  • an original or copy of your employment contract which clearly identifies the vessel/s, duties you undertook and the period of your contract
  • originals or copies of your pay slips.

Recognition of other types of service

We may recognise other qualifying sea service in capacities or trades not identified under National Standard for Commercial Vessels Part D—Crew competencies.

In such cases, your sea service will be recognised according to its equivalence to the National Standard for Commercial Vessels Part D—Crew competencies requirements including:

  • duration and frequency of voyages
  • type of duties performed and their duration and frequency
  • level of responsibility during the service
  • the relevance of the service to the certificate of competency applied for.

Rejecting service

If we consider that any of your sea service is not relevant to the certificate of competency being applied for, all or part of your service may not be accepted as qualifying sea service.

Related information

Important disclaimer

These instructions are summary information only. We make decisions about seafarer certificates under Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency — national law) 2013 and the National Standard for Commercial Vessels Part D—Crew competencies. These documents have full details of the eligibility and other requirements for certificate applications.

Last updated: 

Wednesday 8 May 2019