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Medical fitness for international certificates of competency

Find out more about how to get a certificate of medical fitness, and why you need one.

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.

How to obtain a Certificate of medical fitness overseas

All Certificates of medical fitness for new certificates must be obtained in Australia. We will accept a Certificate of medical fitness obtained overseas only when you are revalidating your Certificate of competency.

Where a certificate holder is living and/or working overseas and wishes to renew their Certificate of competency, they must also renew their Certificate of medical fitness. To do so, they must comply with the requirements for medical fitness listed below.

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.