Marine Services - Qualifications Unit

Welcome to Marine Services - Qualifications Unit

Certificates of Competency

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is new National Regulator

On 1 July 2013, a new national system for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety was introduced.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) became the National Regulator for domestic commercial vessel safety and administrator of the national system.

All States and the Northern Territory marine safety agencies are still responsible for the effective day-to-day operations of the national system under delegation from AMSA, therefore we will continue to be the first point of call for all domestic seafarer enquiries.

With the national system came a new ‘Near Coastal’ Certificate of Competency structure.

Marine Services issue the following near coastal (NC) Certificates of Competency:

  • General Purpose Hand NC
  • Coxswain Grade 2 NC
  • Coxswain Grade 1 NC
  • Master (Inland Waters)
  • Master <24 m NC
  • Master <35 m NC
  • Mate <80 m NC
  • Master <80 m NC
  • Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 NC
  • Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 NC
  • Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 NC
  • Engineer Class 3 NC

Note: Applicants for near coastal certificates of competency may apply to a marine safety agency in any State or Territory.

State and Territory certificates issued before 1 July 2013 were mapped to the new structure as equivalent certificates to enable holders to move into the national system.

By law, persons crewing domestic commercial vessels in Australia must hold hold the appropriate Certificate of Competency. This ensures that persons responsible for crewing commercial vessels are competent and medically fit for their assigned tasks and areas of operation.


The Government of South Australia is still responsible for local waterways management issues, including pilotage.

In South Australia, a vessel 35 metres or more in length must not be navigated within a ‘prescribed area’ (compulsory pilotage area) unless:

  • the vessel is navigated under the control or at the direction of a licensed pilot; or
  • the master of the vessel holds a pilotage exemption certificate.

If a vessel is navigated in contravention of these requirements, the owner and the master are each guilty of an offence.

Note: Royal Australian Navy vessels are exempt.

Marine services issues the following pilotage qualifications:

  • Pilotage Exemption Certificates
  • Pilot Licence

Vessel survey enquiries

For domestic commercial vessel enquiries, please visit:

National system

For information on the National System, please visit AMSA's domestic commercial vessel safety website:

SA Government logo. Premiers’ website Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure SA Government logo. Premiers’ website