Coastal pilot continuing professional development (CPD) framework update—advisory note

This Pilot Advisory Note (PAN) updates AMSA-licensed coastal pilots and pilotage providers on the implementation of our revised requirements for continuing professional development (CPD) for the purposes of coastal pilot licence renewal.

This PAN sets out the AMSA-approved CPD framework for coastal pilots which commenced in February 2019.


Marine Order 54 (Coastal pilotage) 2014 (MO54) provides in section 61(1)(c) that one of the criteria for the renewal of a pilot licence is that the person holding the licence has “completed continuing professional development to the satisfaction of AMSA within the 4 years before applying for the renewal”.

A revised and enhanced CPD framework for coastal pilots was developed following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders including pilots, pilotage providers and training providers. The framework aligns with practices in other responsible professions and addresses community expectations associated with the performance of pilotage duties.


The AMSA-approved CPD framework described in this PAN meets AMSA’s satisfaction for the purposes of MO54 section 61(1)(c). 

This framework aims to improve professional standards, skills and knowledge deemed appropriate for the conduct of coastal pilotage operations, via attendance at contemporary training (including simulation training), peer-to-peer interaction and potential engagement with appropriate professional bodies.

The framework is points-based and requires the accumulation of a minimum number of CPD points (40) in the four year period prior to applying for the renewal of a coastal pilot licence. The four year rolling period for CPD points accrual accords with the CPD timeline outlined in MO54 section 61(1)(c). Further details of the CPD points accrual requirements in the context of pilot licence validity are provided below.

Points can be accrued via the completion of training and/or activities chosen from three main categories (Industry, Courses/Training and Vocational). The list of approved activities is shown at Annex A to this PAN.

The list of training and activities which can accrue CPD points will remain dynamic. Activities may be included/removed as proposed by pilots and/or providers, subject to AMSA’s approval (*see ‘Key points’ below).

Key points

Attention is drawn to the following key points:

  • A minimum of 40 CPD points are to be accrued in the four year period prior to applying for the renewal of a coastal pilot licence (in accordance with the CPD timeline requirements outlined in MO54 section 61(1)(c)). Of those 40 points, a minimum of 20 CPD points are to be accrued in the two year (licence cycle) period prior to applying for the renewal of a coastal pilot licence.
  • The cornerstone of the revised CPD framework is the mandatory completion of an AMSA-approved CPD Simulation Training Course for Coastal Pilots. The course entails the completion of two days (16 hours) of simulation time (as a member of a bridge team). A bridge team can comprise of a maximum of four pilots where, in addition to the roles of pilot, master, and helmsman, a fourth pilot can perform the role of ‘observer’. 
  • Pilots may rotate through the bridge team roles for each simulated scenario / evolution, as required. The two days of simulator training described herein may include briefings, simulated scenarios and debriefings.
  • Team-based debriefs (undertaken at the conclusion of each scenario) are to be led by AMSA-approved simulator educators / staff (i.e. those experienced in debrief facilitation).
  • The AMSA-approved CPD Simulation Training Course for Coastal Pilots is to be completed at least once every two year licence cycle period. Completion of the course accrues 16 CPD points.
  • In addition to completion of the simulation course outlined above, coastal pilots are required to obtain a minimum of four additional CPD points (per two year licence cycle) from the other approved training / activities listed in Annex A. 
  • The amount of CPD points attributable to any particular activity and the maximum number of points allowed to be accrued per CPD item, per licence cycle, are detailed in Annex A.
  • Coastal pilots were previously required to complete the Advance Marine Pilot Training Course (AMPTC), as an “approved training course within the 4 years before applying for the renewal”, as specified under MO54 section 61(1)(b). The obtainment of the minimum 20 CPD points per licence cycle in accordance with the approved CPD framework (described herein), will absolve the completion of the AMPTC for the purposes of coastal pilot licence renewal, however pilots are still able to complete the AMPTC if preferred, and accrue the number of CPD points indicated in Annex A below.
  • Completion of the AMPTC will remain an initial prerequisite for the issue of a trainee coastal pilot licence (other than completing an AMSA-approved ‘in-house’ training course for trainee pilot induction).
  • All other licence renewal criteria specified under MO54 section 61 remain unchanged. 
  • No CPD points are attributable for the conduct of Check Pilot Voyages (either as a Check Pilot or a pilot being checked), noting the completion of such voyages is already an existing licence renewal prerequisite under MO54 section 61.
  • *The list of approved CPD training / activities is not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive. The list is intended to be user-driven and can grow as pilotage provider / pilot-initiated CPD activity requests are submitted to AMSA for consideration and potential endorsement, and subsequently added to the list of CPD activities once approved.
  • As an overriding principle, each activity included in the AMSA Coastal Pilot CPD points framework, must result in a positive contribution to the core skills and/or knowledge of that specifically of a coastal pilot, which in a distilled sense, are:
    • navigational planning
    • the safe execution of a coastal pilotage, and 
    • ship handling of relevant vessels. 
  • AMSA remains flexible in terms of amending and updating the CPD points framework into the future, and encourages all pilotage providers to continue to provide input and suggestions for inclusion in the framework moving forward.
  • Coastal pilots who are members of the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute (AMPI) are not required to duplicate AMPI CPD requirements in order to also meet AMSA’s CPD requirements. AMPI members however, are still required to complete the mandatory two days (16 hours) of coastal pilotage specific simulator training every two year licence cycle period (as described above). AMSA will accept currency within the AMPI CPD framework, as an alternative means to address the remaining four CPD points requirement for coastal pilot licence renewal.

Implementation schedule:

The revised coastal pilotage CPD framework commenced in February 2019. Coastal pilots are required to undertake CPD activities to achieve the minimum CPD points required henceforth.

Essentially, coastal pilots will have a minimum of four years to achieve 40 points of approved CPD activity from 1 February 2019, however AMSA will apply the new CPD compliance requirements when processing licence renewal applications from 1 February 2021 onwards. 

This means that coastal pilots must accrue a minimum of 20 points of approved CPD activity from 1 February 2019 until each licence is due for renewal thereafter (in accordance with the prevailing two-year licence cycle period), including the completion of the approved coastal pilot CPD simulation training course at least once every two years.

Please also see the ‘Guidance notes’ below for further information about CPD points accrual requirements in the context of the timing of future licence renewals. 

Annex A and guidance notes (PDF 325 KB)

Last updated: 21 September 2020