Our approval for all STCW courses provided by Registered training organisations—MT05
This procedure includes the Registered training organisation (RTO) course approval process for the following:
- Certificate of competency
- Certificate of proficiency
- Certificate of safety training
- Global maritime distress and safety system radio operator’s certificate (GMDSS ROC)
- Short courses
- Distance education (e-learning, distance learning, blended learning).
Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW)
It is a requirement of the STCW Convention for a Flag State Authority (AMSA in Australia) to monitor all training, assessment of competence, certification, endorsement and revalidation activities carried out by non-governmental agencies or entities under its authority. A student undertaking an AMSA approved course and wishing to obtain an AMSA primary Certificate of competency, proficiency or Certificate of safety training must complete all the education (including short courses) and training delivered by an AMSA approved college.
Read STCW Training and assessment, quality standards and use of simulators—MT02.
- Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TESQA)
- Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011
- International Maritime Organization (IMO) Model Courses
- International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW)
- Marine Order 70 (Seafarer certification)
- Marine Order 71 (Master and deck officers)
- Marine Order 72 (Engineer officers)
- Marine Order 73 (Ratings)
- Marine Order 74 (Masters and Deck Officers - Yachts)
- Maritime Training Package MAR (MTP) published by Australian Industry Standards (AIS)
In the case of the Australian Maritime College (AMC), reference should be made to the accredited curriculum documents.
We have considered the following Standards:
- Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
- Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011
We consider these Standards are comprehensive and accepts these Standards for our approved Registered training organisations. Our approved Registered training organisations must incorporate STCW Regulations l/6, l/8 and l/12 in compliance with these
We will conduct evaluations of our approved Registered training organisations to ensure compliance with STCW Regulations.
E-learning (online), distance and blended methods of delivery are acceptable to us. We encourage you to use industry best practice in developing modern instructional techniques and consider STCW Code Section B-l/6 Guidance for training by e-learning, distance learning, blended learning, including guidance for assessing a trainee’s progress and achievements by using these methods of delivery.
If you have approval to deliver programs and would like to change the delivery or assessment practice should send a Variation of Delivery and Assessment to us for approval.
Read STCW Training and Assessment, Quality Standards and Use of Simulators and MT 03 AMSA Policy – STCW Recognition of Prior Learning on instructions for course delivery.
We require all STCW courses we have approved to be listed on the Registered training organisation scope of registration.
Application process for approval to provide seafarer training courses
To allow Registered training organisations to deliver Maritime training package and short courses for STCW certificates, you must:
1. Submit an application for approval
A Registered training organisation high managerial agent must submit an application for approval to conduct Maritime training package courses to us.
In accordance with Marine Order 70, a Registered training organisation High Managerial Agent must submit to AMSA an application for approval to conduct Maritime training package courses and short courses for the award of STCW certificates to candidates who successfully complete the program. The high managerial agent must also appoint a subject matter expert to correspond with the AMSA assigned officer.
The application should be sent in an electronic format:
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Manager, Seafarer Certification Service
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181
Canberra ACT 2601
Fees for applications to conduct courses
Read AMSA STCW course approval fees—MT06.
Our approval process
Following receipt by the Manager, of an application for certificate/course approval, the following process applies:
- The application is assigned to an officer for assessment.
- We will notify the Registered training organisation of the assessment fee
- The assigned officer will contact the College appointed subject matter expert within twenty eight days of receipt of the application if further information is required.
- Provided all the information or documents requested are received within a reasonable time, a recommendation is made to the Manager, and the College advised in writing of the decision within 56 days of receipt of the complete application.
The conditions applying to the approval are:
- AMSA will only recognise training provided by RTOs which are approved by AMSA Seafarer Certification Service to conduct STCW certificates courses and/or short courses.
- The assessment criteria must be in accordance with AMSA Seafarer Certification Service requirements.
- Recognition of Prior Learning must be in accordance with AMSA Seafarer Certification Service requirements (see MT 03 AMSA Policy – STCW Recognition of Prior Learning).
Rejection of application
Under Marine Order 70 (Seafarer certification), we may reject an application if the Registered training organisation if it:
- is not accredited with Australian Skills Quality Authority
- is near an existing provider approved by us of the proposed course in the same area with under-utilised facilities
- is unable to comply with either our course guidelines, STCW Code or IMO Model courses
- does not have appropriately qualified and experienced lecturers for delivery of the proposed course
- does not have the necessary equipment or facilities to conduct the proposed course
- does not have an audited and verified quality management system.
If a submission is rejected by us, feedback will be provided to the Registered training organisation within 56 days of receipt of the application, stating the reasons why the submission is unacceptable. We will not accept a further submission from the Registered training organisation for a period of 12 months from the date of rejection. If the Registered training organisation chooses to make a new submission after that period of 12 months, we will charge an appropriate approval assessment fee.
A Registered training organisation wishing to gain approval to deliver STCW certificate courses or short courses that lead to an issue of a STCW certificate must make a written submission to AMSA under the following headings:
1. Contact details
The full name and address of the Registered training organisation that is requesting approval to deliver the STCW certificate course or short course training and the campus location(s) where training is to be conducted or the administrative office for correspondence.
2. Registered training organisation
As being an approved Registered training organisation is a prerequisite, documentary evidence issued by the appropriate Australian authority (VET Regulator or TEQSA) should be included in the submission. All STCW courses to be approved must be listed on the Registered training organisation scope of registration
3. Full title of the course
The submission should align itself with the Marine training package, STCW Code and IMO Model courses.
4. Aim of the course
The aim of the course is to be specified indicating the STCW certificate for which the program is designed, including compliance with STCW and reference to the relevant Maritime training package units of competency. In all circumstances the STCW Code model courses take precedence in the event of any interpretation of course outcomes and content.
5. Objectives of the course
The Registered training organisation is to specify the intended objectives of the training.
6. Course curriculum
The course curriculum is to be based on the Maritime training package units of competency and where clarification is required, referenced to the appropriate IMO Model Course. Details are to also include a Lesson Plan that includes:
- Weekly hours - time spent on each subject/element
- Total course duration (if the proposed teaching hours differ greatly from the nominal hours given in the IMO Model Course, the methodology to achieve the objectives is also to be substantiated).
- The methodology of learning and teaching techniques employed to meet the learning outcomes.
7. Entry standards
The Registered training organisation is to specify the entry standards that the candidate must comply with before being accepted into the training program. The methodology of recognition of prior learning must be specified.
8. Conduct of the training
You must explain the following:
- Qualifications of teaching staff - training and assessment must be undertaken by persons qualified in accordance with the provisions of STCW Regulation l/6 and sections A-I/6 and B-I/6 of the STCW Code. Staff should as a minimum have completed TAE400110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or its successor. A list of lecturers together with their certificates and experience is to be provided. If simulator-based training is part of the Training and Assessment strategy, persons doing this task should be qualified in accordance with the provisions of STCW Regulation l/12 and sections A-l/12 and Bl/12 of the STCW Code.
- Course intake limitations—the Registered training organisation is to determine if the number of students enrolled on the program is to be limited by number. If appropriate, the number is to be specified.
- Course notes and reference documents—the submission is to include course notes, course delivery material and reference documents and must be of a suitable quality and substance to enable the student to complete the course. If e-learning, distance or blended delivery is proposed, Registered training organisations must provide access to these resources.
- Text books—if required, a comprehensive reading list is to be made available to the students at the commencement of the training program. When considering e-learning online options, an RTO should ensure that web links provided work effectively.
- Facilities and equipment - The submission documentation is to include information (including pictures) of all teaching aids, facilities and equipment that the students will utilise while undertaking the course.
- Simulators—Simulators used for training must comply with the requirements specified in STCW Regulation l/6 and Sections A-I/12 and B-I/12 of the STCW Code. In addition, lecturers using simulators must be trained to the requirements of IMO Model Course 6.10, Train the simulator trainer and assessor or equivalent as approved by us.
- Evidence that current quality management is utilised within the organisation.
9. Student assessment procedures
- The RTO is to comply with STCW Regulation l/6 and Sections A-I/6 and B-I/6 of the STCW Code.
- All candidates studying for STCW certificates will be required to present sufficient evidence of competence and meet all the performance criteria within the range of the subject matter.
- RTOs must devise appropriate instruments of assessment for consideration as part of the approval process and submit a copy of the assessment plan with the course application, together with the marking scheme.
- Supplementary methods of assessment must be specified.
- There is to be a final assessment. A candidate who fails the final assessment may re-sit it once. Failure to attain the required standard will require the candidate to repeat the components of the relevant competencies.
- The academic history of the candidate must record the results of all competent and not yet competent assessments. These are to be retained for subsequent verification by AMSA.
- A comprehensive system of monitoring students taking final exams is to be in place.
10. Quality standards
- The Registered training organisation is to comply with STCW Regulation l/8 and Sections A-I/8 and B-I/8 of the STCW Code.
- The arrangements for delivering training and assessing competences must be continuously controlled and monitored by the Registered training organisation through a quality standards system to ensure achievement of the defined objectives. Each Maritime and Marine Engineering Section should be subject to an internal evaluation at least once a year and each certificate skills set or short course should be evaluated at least once in a 3 year cycle.
- Registered training organisations are required to maintain a quality standard through documented procedures at the section level that will be evaluated by AMSA at regular intervals .
- The quality standards system and evaluation arrangements may be part of a Registered training organisation’s overall quality assurance system.
11. Course completion documentation
A course completion document, in a template approved by AMSA, is to be issued by the Registered training organisation to the candidate upon the satisfactory completion of the training course.
12. Time constraints
The student must complete the approved course within three years of the date they commence the course.
Conduct of the training
Specific requirements for AMSA approval of e-learning (online), distance learning and blended learning courses
See STCW Training and assessment, quality standards and use of simulators—MT02 for information before making a submission.
Additional detail should be provided for submissions seeking AMSA approval to deliver distance education courses as follows:
1. Access to lecturers
Students who enrol on a distance education program must have access to teaching staff throughout the specified period.
2. Student support
The submission is to include how the Registered training organisation will offer equivalent support to that of any other full time college based student.
3. Course intake limitations
The Registered training organisation is to determine if the number of students enrolled on the program is to be limited by number. If so, the number is to be specified.
4. Course notes and reference documents
Course notes and reference documents must be of a suitable quality and substance to enable the student to complete the course by e-learning, distance learning and blended learning. Copies of the complete course are to be submitted with the application or access to be provided for online courses. A Registered training organisation should ensure that web links provided work effectively.
5. Text books
If required a comprehensive reading list is to be made available to the students at the commencement of the e-learning, distance learning and blended learning program.
6. Facilities and equipment
If it is necessary for the candidate to be familiar with and/or use equipment, this must be made available to the student. The Registered training organisation is to specify how this is to be achieved.
7. Class attendance
The Registered training organisation should assess the competencies and identify which require college attendance. The Registered training organisation should give consideration to the student attending their training establishment for a given period to consolidate subject matter before attempting the final assessment. This is standard practice for e-learning, distance learning and blended learning programs.
Venues and invigilators for the final assessment must be arranged by the Registered training organisation. Educational institutions such as universities, colleges and schools should be used where possible and venues must be approved by AMSA prior to their use. All students will be required to provide photographic identification to the invigilator prior to undertaking the final assessment.
8. Time constraints
The student must complete the approved course within five years of the commencement date.
Specific requirements for AMSA approval of GMDSS ROC courses
The following detail should be provided for submissions seeking AMSA approval to deliver GMDSS ROC courses:
All GMDSS equipment used is to be SOLAS type approved. It is preferable that the type and make of equipment used is that which is commonly found on the majority of modern GMDSS equipped vessels.
The Registered training organisation is required to comply with the current performance standards for each type of equipment as detailed in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended (SOLAS) and marine order 27. Where the RTO has an item of equipment duplicated, only one of each type needs to comply with the current performance standard, with the other item of equipment permitted to comply with a previous performance standard. Where any equipment is replaced, the replacement equipment must comply with the current performance standard.
Where delays occur in the refitting of equipment to meet changes in performance standards, students are to be provided with brochures and material highlighting the major differences between the training provider's equipment and the equipment they are likely to encounter on a variety of vessels. Under such circumstances replacement equipment must be procured as soon as practicable.
2. Minimum equipment to be provided
1 x MF/HF transceiver
This is to be connected to an antenna, to enable 'on-air' testing. The antenna must be of a type normally found on GMDSS equipped ships, so that common faults and maintenance procedures may be demonstrated.
To prevent inadvertent transmission of distress messages to air, 'dummy' antenna facilities must be provided.
1 x complete operational MF/HF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) system, plus an additional DSC modem(s) able to be connected back/back to simulate DSC operations must also be provided.
This may be either a combined modem/watchkeeping receiver, or a stand-alone unit. The watchkeeping receiver must be a scanning MF/HF model.
The complete operational DSC system must be interfaced to the MF/HF transceiver. The installation must be able to generate the 'test' protocol on all DSC channels, and be capable of reliably exchanging 'test' protocol calls.
1 x Narrow Band Direct Printing (NBDP) system
This must be interfaced with the MF/HF transceiver and be capable of communication with New Zealand coastal radio stations.
1 x INMARSAT C system
This must be a complete system, with an approved message processor, printer, remote incoming message alarms and a remote distress initiation device.
Additional computers must be provided with INMARSAT C software, in order that more than one student may be instructed in operational procedures of the INMARSAT C system.
1 x VHF transceiver
1 x VHF DSC system with watch-keeping receiver
This may be incorporated in the VHF transceiver.
To prevent inadvertent transmission of distress messages to air, 'dummy' antenna facilities must be provided.
1 x NAVTEX receiver
1 x Search & Rescue Radio Transmitter (SART)
A dummy model to be provided for demonstration purposes only.
1 x AIS-Search and Rescue Transmitter (AIS-SART)
These devices are permitted to be carried in lieu of a radar SART from 1 January 2010.
1 x 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with float free bracket & hydrostatic release mechanism
Batteries must be removed, or the transmitter disabled from transmitting a 406 MHz data stream.
1 x survival craft portable VHF transceiver, and charger.
A sealed primary battery is to be provided for demonstration purposes. This battery may be a 'demonstration' unit (either expired or 'hollow'), however the seals must be in place.
1 x portable dummy VHF transceiver for on-scene communication for 121.5 and 123.1 MHz.
1 x Set of lead-acid wet-cell batteries, charger and DC power distribution arrangements (i.e.: circuit breaker panel as fitted to a GMDSS equipped ship).
It is desirable to leave one battery discharged, so that students may see the difference between specific gravity (SG) readings with a discharged and a charged battery. At least one hydrometer is to be provided.
If it is not possible to provide a safe lead-acid wet- cell battery/charger installation at the RTO for OH&S reasons, then the RTO shall provide sufficient dummy batteries or simulated batteries with a hydrometer for demonstration purposes.
Sealed lead-acid or other sealed batteries may be used with the charger and DC power distribution system.
3. Other equipment (optional)
In addition to the minimum equipment requirement details above, it is recommended the Registered training organisation considers supplying the following items of equipment for demonstration/ training purposes:
- Class-approved GMDSS simulator;
- An Inmarsat Fleet77 live terminal, or computer simulation, for demonstration purposes;
- A Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) or Simplified Voyage Data Recorder (S-VDR);
- Shipboard Automatic Identification System (AIS), or computer simulation, for demonstration purposes.
The Registered training organisation may also consider supplying material/information for the following items of equipment, which GMDSS ROC operators may come into contact with during their career:
- Global Position Indicating Radio Beacon (GPIRB). A beacon incorporating a GPS unit capable of using COSPAS/SARSAT satellites;
- Personal Locating Beacon (PLB) designed for marine use.
The prospective GMDSS ROC course lecturer are in accordance with the IMO Model Course (1.25), which states that 'instructors are required to have considerable experience in maritime radio communications, including GMDSS, and possess a good general knowledge of ships, maritime distress, urgency and safety as well as search and rescue matters'.
GMDSS instructors should be thoroughly trained and must comply with the following:
- STCW Reg 1/6 – Training and Assessment, STCW Code Section 1 – A-1/6, B-1/6;
- STCW Reg 1/8 – Quality Standards, STCW Code Section A – 1/8, B-1/8;
- STCW Reg 1/12 – Use of Simulators Guidance, STCW Code Section A-1/12, B-1/12.
For a Registered training organisation to gain AMSA approval to present a GMDSS ROC course, the lecturer(s) should:
- Hold either a valid:
- Australian GMDSS ROC
- Australian GMDSS ROC, Certificate of Recognition
- Equivalent or higher qualification.
- A Level IV Certificate for Assessment and Workplace Training.
- The prospective GMDSS ROC lecturer is to understudy (as an assistant lecturer to an already approved AMSA GMDSS ROC lecturer) at least one AMSA approved GMDSS ROC course before conducting a course themselves.
- Under supervision, have delivered at least one full approved GMDSS ROC course to the satisfaction of an already approved AMSA GMDSS ROC course lecturer.
- Complete training in accordance with ‘Train the simulator trainer and assessor’, IMO Model course 6.10
Student to lecturer ratio
AMSA requires that the student to lecturer ratio is limited to a maximum of 10:1. This will permit small group tuition in the practical training of operating the equipment and students to practice individually in operating the equipment.
AMSA requires that each student completes a feedback sheet at the conclusion of a course. The feedback should at least comment on:
- course content
The feedback must be used as a continuous improvement tool to ensure an effective course is delivered.
Syllabus and course duration
The course is to be structured on:
- Maritime Training Package - latest version
- The IMO Model Course (1.25)
- The Australian Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Handbook.
As recommended by the IMO Model Course, the course is to be conducted over an 8 to 10 day period and, in addition to the 66 nominal hours, involve additional practical periods as deemed necessary, theoretical tutorial time and assignment homework.
The assessment is to be conducted by the AMSA approved lecturer at the conclusion of the course, in a two-part assessment aligned with the recommendation of the IMO Model Course (1.25):
- A 50 question multiple choice examination (minimum pass mark is to be set at 70 per cent
- Each student is to individually complete a practical assessment in operating the GMDSS equipment.
The multiple-choice examination is to be created and verified by AMSA. The practical assessment is to be conducted in accordance with a standardised format and assessment regime.
Suitable resource material is to be provided, and must include, but is not limited to:
- At least one current copy of each of the publications required under marine order 27.
- A current Australian Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Handbook.
- Relevant IMO documentation.
- Operator Manuals for the GMDSS equipment provided by the training provider.