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Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security (TCMSS) Master Requirements for Canadian Seafarers

canada ships master

Ship’s Master or popularly known as ship captain of a nautical vessel is in charge of a ship, its crew and any passengers or cargo it carries on the water or port of call. Captain is more common in modern usage and Master is more of a historic term. Although the term is interchangeable, the qualifications and the level of experience to become a master mariner are different at various levels. Also the involvement of vessel size (gross tonnage is the measurement) also needs to be considered.

A master as commander of his vessel, crew and cargo is also duty-bound to protect the marine environment, assist in Search and Rescue and is in overall charge of ship security and maritime safety. On tugs or pilot boats, ship's masters may guide or assist ships in and out of harbors or through difficult waterways. Master is also is responsible for compliance with all relevant requirements of maritime administrations and other regulatory organizations.

canadian ship1

You may also read: International Maritime Organization (IMO) STCW requirements for Master

Transport Canada Master Mariner Requirements


Competency Requirements

  • Hold a certificate of - Master Near Coastal, Master 3000 Gross Tonnage Near Coastal, Chief Mate, Watchkeeping Mate, or Watchkeeping Mate Near Coastal

Sea Service Requirements

  • After obtaining a Master 500 Gross Tonnage, Near Coastal certificate, Watchkeeping Mate certificate or Watchkeeping Mate, Near Coastal certificate, an applicant for a Master Mariner certificate shall acquire the following sea service on board one or more vessels of at least 500 gross tonnage while the vessels are engaged on unlimited voyages or on near coastal voyages, Class 1, which sea service shall include at least 12 months on voyages outside the Great Lakes Basin and where the distance between extreme ports called at during those voyages is more than 500 nautical miles:
    • (a) at least 36 months as officer in charge of the deck watch;
    • (b) at least 24 months as officer in charge of the deck watch if they have served at least 12 months as master or chief mate; or
    • (c) an equivalent prorated combination of the requirements set out in (a) and (b)

Examination Requirements

master mariner canada exams

Certificate Requirements 

  • (See below)

Transport Canada Master Near Coastal Requirements

Competency Requirements

  • Hold a certificate of - Master 3 000 Gross Tonnage Near Coastal, Chief Mate, Chief Mate Near Coastal, ) Watchkeeping Mate, or Watchkeeping Mate Near Coastal

Sea Service Requirements

  • After obtaining a Master 500 Gross Tonnage, Near Coastal certificate, Watchkeeping Mate certificate or Watchkeeping Mate, Near Coastal certificate, an applicant for a Master, Near Coastal certificate shall acquire the following sea service on board one or more vessels of at least 500 gross tonnage while the vessels are engaged on voyages other than sheltered waters voyages:
    • (a) at least 36 months as officer in charge of the deck watch;
    • (b) at least 24 months as officer in charge of the deck watch if they have served at least 12 months as master or chief mate; or
    • (c) an equivalent prorated combination of the requirements set out in (a) and (b)

Examination Requirements

master near coastal canada exams

Certificate Requirements

  • (See below)

Certificate Requirements for Master Mariner and Master Near Coastal

  • MED with respect to STCW basic safety
  • MED in advanced fire fighting
  • MED training with respect to proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats 
  • Restricted Operator’s Certificate (ROC-MC) issued under the Radio-communication Act
  • MED for senior officers
  • Electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS)
  • SEN Level II        
  • Marine advanced first aid

Transport Canada Master 3000 Gross Tonnage Near Coastal Requirements

Competency Requirements

  • Hold a certificate of - Master 500 Gross Tonnage Near Coastal, Chief Mate, Chief Mate Near Coastal, Watchkeeping Mate, or Watchkeeping Mate Near Coastal

Sea Service Requirements

  • After obtaining a Master 500 Gross Tonnage, Near Coastal certificate, Watchkeeping Mate certificate or Watchkeeping Mate, Near Coastal certificate, an applicant for a Master 3 000 Gross Tonnage, Near Coastal certificate shall acquire the following sea service on board one or more vessels of at least 500 gross tonnage while the vessels are engaged on voyages other than sheltered waters voyages:
    • (a) at least 36 months as officer in charge of the deck watch
    • (b) at least 24 months as officer in charge of the deck watch if they have served at least 12 months as master or chief mate or
    • (c) an equivalent prorated combination of the requirements set out in (a) and (b)

Examination Requirements

master 3000 gt nc canada exams

Certificate Requirements

  • (see below)

Transport Canada Master 500 Gross Tonnage Near Coastal Requirements

Competency Requirements

  • Hold a certificate of - Master 3000 Gross Tonnage Domestic, Master 500 Gross Tonnage Domestic, Watchkeeping Mate, or Watchkeeping Mate Near Coastal

Sea Service Requirements

  • At least 12 months of sea service as officer in charge of the deck watch, after obtaining a Master 150 Gross Tonnage, Domestic certificate, Watchkeeping Mate certificate, Watchkeeping Mate, Near Coastal certificate or Chief Mate 500 Gross Tonnage, Domestic certificate, on board one or more vessels of at least 25 gross tonnage while the vessels are engaged on voyages other than sheltered waters voyages.

Examination Requirements

master 500 gt nc canada exams

Certificate Requirements

  • (See below)

Transport Canada Master 3000 Gross Tonnage Domestic Requirements

Competency Requirements

  • Hold a certificate of - Master 500 Gross Tonnage Domestic, Master 150 Gross Tonnage Domestic, Watchkeeping Mate, Watchkeeping Mate Near Coastal, or Chief Mate 500 Gross Tonnage Domestic

Sea Service Requirements

  • At least 12 months of sea service performing watchkeeping duties, after obtaining one of the above certificates, on board one or more vessels of at least 100 gross tonnage while the vessels are engaged on voyages other than sheltered waters voyages

Examination Requirements

master 3000 gt domestic canada exams

Certificate Requirements

  • (See below)

Transport Canada Master 500 Gross Tonnage Domestic Requirements


Competency Requirements

  • Hold a certificate of - Master 150 Gross Tonnage Domestic, Watchkeeping Mate, Watchkeeping Mate Near Coastal, or Chief Mate 500 Gross Tonnage Domestic

Sea Service Requirements

  • At least 12 months of sea service performing watchkeeping duties, after obtaining one of the above certificates, on board one or more vessels of at least 25 gross tonnage.

Examination Requirements

master 500 gt domestic canada exams

Certificate Requirements

  • (See below)

Transport Canada Master 150 Gross Tonnage Domestic Requirements

Sea Service Requirements

  • Acquire the following sea service on board one or more vessels of at least 5 gross tonnage
  • If the applicant has successfully completed an approved training program - at least 12 months performing deck duties, or at least 6 months performing deck duties while holding a Chief Mate 150 Gross Tonnage Domestic certificate
  • If the vessels on which the service was acquired to have on board a chief mate, at least 6 months as chief mate while holding a Chief Mate 150 Gross Tonnage Domestic certificate or
  • In all other cases at least 24 months performing deck duties, at least 12 months performing deck duties while holding a Chief Mate 150 Gross Tonnage Domestic certificate, or an equivalent prorated combination of the requirements
  • An applicant for a Limited, Contiguous Waters Voyage endorsement to a Master 150 Gross Tonnage, Domestic certificate shall acquire the following amount of sea service on board one or more vessels of at least 5 gross tonnage while the vessels are engaged on voyages other than sheltered waters voyages, which service, in part or in whole, may have been counted toward meeting the requirement - at least 12 months; or at least 6 months if the applicant has successfully completed an approved training program

Examination Requirements

master 150 gt domestic canada exams

Certificate Requirements

  • (See below)

Certificates for Master 3000/500 NC, and Master 3000/500/150 Domestic

  • MED with respect to STCW basic safety
  • MED in advanced fire fighting
  • MED training with respect to proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats
  • Restricted Operator’s Certificate (ROC-MC) issued under the Radio-communication Act
  • MED for senior officers
  • SEN Level II
  • Marine advanced first aid

Transport Canada Master Limited 60 Gross Tonnage or More Requirements

Competency Requirements

  • Hold a certificate of - Master 150 Gross Tonnage Domestic, Watchkeeping Mate, Watchkeeping Mate Near Coastal, Chief Mate 500 Gross Tonnage Domestic, Chief Mate 150 Gross Tonnage Domestic, or Chief Mate, Limited certificate for a vessel of 60 gross tonnage or more, if the vessel is required to have on board a chief mate

Sea Service Requirements

  • Acquire the following sea service on board one or more vessels engaged on voyages that correspond to those that the vessel in respect of which the certificate is sought is permitted to engage on:
  • (a) in the case where the certificate is to be valid on board a vessel of 150 gross tonnage or more,
    • (i) if it does not require the vessels to have on board a chief mate and the vessels are of at least 25 gross tonnage, (A) at least 12 months performing deck duties, or B) at least 6 months from an approved program of on-board training, or
    • (ii) if Part 2 requires the vessels to have on board a chief mate and the vessels are of at least 60 gross tonnage, as chief mate while holding one of the certificates listed (A) at least 6 months, or (B) at least 3 months from an approved program of on-board training; or
  • (b) in the case where the certificate is to be valid on board a vessel of less than 150 gross tonnage,
    • (i) if the vessels are not required under Part 2 to have on board a chief mate, on one or more vessels of at least 25 gross tonnage, (A) at least 6 months performing deck duties, or (B) at least 3 months from an approved program of on-board training, or
    • ii) if the vessels are required to have on board a chief mate, on one or more vessels of at least 60 gross tonnage, as chief mate while holding one of the certificates listed (A) at least 3 months, or (B) at least 6 weeks from an approved program of on-board training

Certificate Requirements

master limited 60 gt more certificates

Examination Requirements

  • Examinations on subject-matter appropriate to the area of operation and the type and gross tonnage of the vessel to which the certificate relates

Transport Canada Master Limited Less Than 60 Gross Tonnage Requirements

Sea Service Requirements

Acquire, while performing deck duties on board one or more vessels of a gross tonnage at least equivalent to that of the vessel in respect of which the certificate is sought while the vessels are engaged on voyages that correspond to those that the vessel in respect of which the certificate is sought is permitted to engage on, (a) at least 2 months of sea service; or (b) at least 1 month of sea service from an approved program of on-board training

Certificate Requirements

master limited 60 gt less certificates

Examination Requirements

  • Examinations on subject-matter appropriate to the area of operation and the type and gross tonnage of the vessel to which the certificate relates

Disclaimer: For general information purpose - please check with Transport Canada for the latest requirements and accurate info

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