A Certificate of Competency shows a seafarer’s capability to master a vessel and its passengers.
You need to have a Certificate of Competency before you can work on a domestic commercial vessel in Australia.
If you wish to work on a vessel that operates internationally, the Navigation Act 2012 applies to you.
How Do I Apply for a Certificate of Competency?
You can apply for your certificate of competency by submitting the relevant application forms from the AMSA website, along with supporting material to a marine safety agency who will process your application on AMSA’s behalf. Please note that all fees are set by the Marine Safety Agencies.
An eyesight test must be completed by a registered optometrist. Applications for General Purpose Hand and Marine Engine Driver Grades 3 and 2 require a vision test for first time issue, with no test required for renewal. Applications for Coxswain Grades 2 and 1, Master (Inland Waters) and Master <24m require a vision test and a colour-vision test for first time issue, with no test required for renewal. For all other certificates, a vision test and a colour-vision test is required for first time issue as well as renewal.
A self-declaration of medical fitness must be completed for all first time and renewal applications for General Purpose Hand, Coxswain Grades 1 and 2, Master <24m, Master (Inland Waters) and Marine Engine Driver Grades 2 and 3.
A certificate of medical fitness must be completed by a doctor for first time and renewal of a Master <35m, Mate <80m, Master <80m, Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 and Engineer Class 3.
If you have a current AMSA medical, you can use this in place of one of the above requirements.
You need to complete a specified amount of service time on a vessel, known as sea service. The amount and how it is obtained is different for each type of certificate. For more information see the AMSA website Sea time and taskbooks page, or refer to the relevant guidance notice for the level of qualification you are applying for.
A task book is a means of ensuring seafarers gain practical training and experience on board and make the best use of time on vessels. The completion of a task book is not mandatory for the issue of a certificate of competency (CoC), however, Part D of the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) provides for a reduction in the amount of qualifying sea service that is required when a task book is appropriately completed.
How Much Sea Service Do I Need?
The amount of sea service required will depend on the level of qualification you are applying for and whether or not you are completing a taskbook.
How Do I Calculate My Sea Service?
Sea service is measured in days spent performing the tasks appropriate to the level of qualification you are applying for. A day is a minimum of 7.5 hours. The hours for calculating one day can be accumulated over more than one physical day. For example, if you have performed 3.5 hours on one day, these can be carried over to another day until you have a total of 7.5 hours to make one day of sea service.
At least half of your required sea service must be accrued within the last five years before your application.
How Do I Record My Sea Service?
Accrued sea service can be entered on a Record of Sea Service which you can find on the Forms page on the AMSA website. You can also provide a statutory declaration or a letter from the operator, owner, master or chief engineer of a vessel detailing the amount of sea service you have accrued.