National code: MAR50320

Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master less than 500 GT)

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Overview About this course

Challenge yourself to become Master of international vessels as you develop the skills needed to work as a Master or Chief Mate on commercial vessels up to 500 GT in the Australian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and in international waters.

Outcomes What you'll gain

Learning outcomes

Through a mixture of theory and practical course work, learn to:

  • Develop skills in ship handling

  • Lead and manage a ship crew

  • Conduct safe navigational watches in a variety of conditions

  • Conduct fire-fighting as a team and manage emergency responses

  • Provide first aid onboard a vessel

Course outcomes

Gain practical experience and develop specialist skills that give you an advantage in the job market.

  • Experience in managing firefighting and fire prevention activities onboard a vessel

  • Exposure to conducting emergency response drills and man-overboard drills using life-saving equipment in simulated environments

  • Train on an AMSA-approved Ship's Bridge Simulator to analyse information from bridge equipment and conduct a safe navigational watch in a variety of conditions

  • Eligibility to apply for a Master less than 500 gross tonnage vessel Certificate of Competency through AMSA

  • First Aid certification

Suitability Is this course right for you?

Entry requirements

This course requires evidence of previous experience or study before you can enrol

  • Before your first day of class you must complete a Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) skills test and achieve a score of 4 across the Learning, Numeracy and Oral Communcation bands,a score of 3 across the Reading and Writing bands and 2 across one band of Digital Literacy. This helps us to determine that your skills match the demands of the course, to direct you to an alternative study option or to provide you with the appropriate support for your success. Your teacher will let you know when this must be completed.

Completion requirements

During your study you’ll need to provide your teacher with the following evidence:

  • The ability to attend practical assessment sessions on campus and/or at related facilities

  • The ability to bring suitable clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) for your assessments

Entry recommendations

To be prepared for this course, we recommend that you have:

  • A Master less than 35 Metres Near Coastal Certificate of Competency, a Master less than 80 Metres Near Coastal Certificate of Competency, or have equivalent experience

  • The ability to swim 50 metres and stay afloat for 5 minutes without a life jacket and in work attire

  • A resistance to acute ocean sickness

  • The ability to perform basic trigonometry at Year 10 level maths or equivalent

  • Comfort working safely in confined spaces on a vessel

  • The ability to supply or use your existing Personal Protective Equipment like safety shoes and protective clothing

  • The ability to supply navigation and plotting equipment like a scientific calculator, parallel rulers, compasses and dividers

TAFE NSW is committed to meeting the learning needs of every community. Meeting these needs can mean there are additional entry requirements at different campus locations. Check your preferred location for further requirements. If you need help preparing for study, contact us to find out how we can support you.

Pathways Future career and study options

Career pathways

Our graduates go onto roles like: master or chief mate on ships less than 500 gross tonnage in any operating area, watchkeeper deck officer on ships of any gross tonnage in any operating area, master and chief mate on ships less than 3000 gross tonnage in near coastal waters and able seafarer - on deck.


To work as a master on commercial vessels up to 500 gross tonnage, you need to attain the AMSA Certificate of Competency. To be eligible for this license, you need to meet the following requirements: be at least 16 years old; hold either a Master less than 35 metres near coastal or Mate less than 80 metres near coastal Certificate of Competency; meet medical, eyesight, sea service and course requirements as indicated on the AMSA website and successfully complete the Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master less than 500 GT). Please see the AMSA website for further information.

Study pathways

Take your study further with other courses offered at TAFE NSW:

Previous study 1 Course

Begin here to gain experience and confidence in this study area.

Further study 0 Courses

Advance your skills to take your career to the next level

The Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master less than 500 GT) does not have any post-graduate courses.

Related study 0 Courses

Strengthen your expertise and gain specialist skills to expand your employability.

The Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master less than 500 GT) does not have any related courses.

Your experience counts

At TAFE NSW, we recognise your previous study and work experience. You can apply for recognition of prior learning or a credit transfer with any of our courses. If you're successful you'll get your qualification faster.

Units Units taught in this course

Courses are made up of a combination of both core and specialty units. In the Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master less than 500 GT) qualification, you’ll need to successfully complete 26 units of competency, including 0 core and 26 speciality units.

Please note, not all specialty units are offered at every TAFE NSW location. It is highly recommended that you check with your preferred campus for information about the specialty units offered at that location.

Core units are central to the job outcomes of a particular industry or occupation. These are the units industry has agreed are essential to be capable and qualified at a particular study level.

  • Provide First Aid HLTAID011

  • Maintain seaworthiness of the ship (ship stability) MARA017

  • Monitor, loading, unloading, securing and stowage of cargo MARA025

  • Apply leadership and team working capability MARF031

  • ... 5

TAFE NSW services Facilities and support

TAFE NSW provides support services across all campus locations and online. Whatever your needs or circumstances, we have the people, resources, counselling and facilities to support you in focusing on your studies.

  • TAFE NSW Disability Support Service

  • TAFE NSW Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) support

  • TAFE NSW Aboriginal Support; Learner support (ABE)

  • TAFE NSW Careers, Counselling and Pathways Service

  • TAFE NSW Libraries

  • Scholarship programs – be supported as you explore your talents and fulfil your potential

  • Read&Write literacy and study support software is available free for all TAFE NSW students to use while studying on campus and at home

  • LinkedIn Learning – an online resource which offers innovative courses and tutorials to improve your personal and professional skills

  • Student associations – get social with our student community

Study options Find a location to enrol

Choose from the below study options and locations to discover what works with your lifestyle. Heart your favourites and compare courses.