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AMSA Deck Certification Requirements for Seafarers on a Commercial Vessel in Australian Domestic Waters

amsa domestic qualifications

The National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety was introduced in Australia in 2013 under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 (National Law). The National Law applies to the domestic commercial vessel fleet operating in Australian waters across all States and Territories. Under the National Law, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is the National Regulator.

If you want to work on a commercial vessel in Australian waters, you must hold an appropriate certificate of competency issued under the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety. By law, any person working as a certified crew member on a commercial vessel in Australia must hold the relevant certificate of competency. This ensures that people operating commercial vessels are competent and medically fit for their assigned tasks and areas of operation. You must get a Certificate of Competency or revalidate your existing qualification to work in Australian domestic waters.

australia domestic license

If you want to work on a commercial vessel in Australian waters, you must hold an appropriate certificate of competency issued under the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety.

General Requirements - AMSA Domestic Deck Certificate of Competency


  • Age: Must be at least 16 years old on the certificate issue date
  • Medical: If you're applying for a high complexity certificate of competency, you are required to submit a Certificate of medical fitness for a near coastal qualification form 559.
  • Eyesight: If you're applying for a new certificate of competency, you'll need to submit a completed Eyesight test certificate form 542. There are two components of the eyesight test - vision (near and distance) and colour vision.
  • Sea Service: Record of sea service form 771, OR an approved sea service log book, OR the on board sea service record from your task book,OR a letter from the vessel operator, owner, master or chief engineer detailing your sea service. At least half the sea service must have been seaward of sheltered waters or the applicant may be issued with a certificate that is restricted to sheltered waters.
  • Course Requirements: You need to get training from an AMSA approved training organization.
  • After meeting all the other requirements for the certificate - pass a final assessment.

Master Less Than 24 Metres Near Coastal Requirements

  • Certification: This certificate will allow you to work as - Master on commercial vessels up to 24 metres long within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ); Chief mate or deck watchkeeper on vessels up to 35 metres long within the EEZ; and Chief mate or deck watchkeeper on vessels up to 80 metres long in inshore water.
  • The applicant must have completed a Master <24 m course at Certificate 3 level; and hold a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency; AND

Master <24 m NC Sea Service Requirements

  • Have at least 120 days of qualifying sea service in the 5 years before the application working on board commercial vessels ≥ 7.5 m long, and completed an approved task book; OR
  • Have 600 days of qualifying sea service, of which - at least half must be accrued on vessels ≥7.5m long; and at least half must be accrued on commercial vessels; and up to half may be accrued on recreational vessels ≥5 m long.
  • The applicant must have accrued the qualifying sea service while working in a deck, or deck and engineering, capacity on board.

Master (Inland Waters) Requirements

  • Certification: This qualification lets you command a vessel up to 24 metres long in inland waters.
  • Have completed a Master (Inland waters) course at Certificate 3 level; AND

Master (Inland Waters) Sea Service Requirements

  • Have at least: 60 days qualifying sea service on commercial vessels ≥7.5 m long and a completed approved task book while working in any deck capacity on board; OR 120 days qualifying sea service on vessels ≥7.5 m long while working on board in a deck, or deck and engineering, capacity on board (all the sea service may be on recreational vessels).

Master Less Than 35 Metres Near Coastal Requirements

  • Certification: With this certificate you can command a vessel less than 35 metres near coastal and allow you to work as - Master on commercial vessels up to 35 metres long within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ); Master on vessels up to 80 metres long in inshore waters; Chief mate or deck watchkeeper on vessels up to 80 metres long within the EEZ.
  • Have completed a Master <35 m course at Certificate 4 level; hold a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, or higher qualification, or an equivalent qualification approved by the National Regulator.

Master <35 m NC Sea Service Requirements

  • While holding a Master <24 NC or a Mate <80m NC certificate, or a certificate or equivalent to it -
  • Have 180 days qualifying sea service on commercial vessels ≥12 m long, including 120 days as person in charge of a navigational watch, and a completed approved task book; OR
  • Have 360 days qualifying sea service on commercial vessels ≥12 m long, including 240 days as person in charge of a navigational watch.

Mate Less Than 80 Metres Near Coastal Requirements

  • Certification: This certificate will allow you to be second in command of a commercial vessel up to 80 metres long operating within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • Have completed a Master <35 m course at Certificate 4 level; and hold a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency; AND

Mate < 80 m NC Sea Service Requirements

  • Have at least 300 days qualifying sea service working on board commercial vessels ≥12 m and a completed Master <35 m NC approved task book while working in any deck capacity on board; OR
  • 600 days qualifying sea service working on board commercial vessels ≥12 m while working in any deck capacity on board.

Master Less Than 80 Metres Near Coastal Requirements

  • Certification: This qualification lets you command a commercial vessel less than 80 metres long. The Master less than 80 metres near coastal will allow you to act as master, chief mate or deck watchkeeper on commercial vessels up to 80 metres long operating within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • Have completed a Master <80m course at Diploma level; and hold a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency, AND

Master <80 m NC Sea Service Requirements

  • Have at least - while holding a Master <35m NC certificate - 180 days qualifying sea service on commercial vessels ≥24 m long including 120 days as person in charge of a navigational watch, and a completed approved task book; OR
  • While holding a Master <35m NC certificate - 360 days qualifying sea service on commercial vessels ≥24 m long including 240 days as person in charge of a navigational watch; OR
  • While holding a Mate <80m NC or other non-command certificate - 360 days as officer of the watch on commercial vessels ≥24 m long and a completed approved task book; OR
  • While holding a Mate <80m NC or other non-command certificate - 720 days as officer of the watch on commercial vessels ≥24 m long.

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