Course Info

Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Master up to 35 metres Near Coastal)

National Course Code: MAR40618


The nationally accredited Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Master up to 35 metres Near Coastal) at TAFE NSW gives you the skills and training needed to apply for an AMSA certificate of capacity and work as a master on domestic vessels up to 35 m long, or chief mate on vessels up to 80m.


Through a mix of theory and practical coursework, learn to:

  • Monitor and manage vessel operations
  • Manage a small crew
  • Operate deck machinery and steering gear on a vessel up to 80 m
  • Manage the loading, discharging and stowing of cargo
  • Use wheelhouse equipment for safe navigation
  • Forecast weather and oceanographic conditions
  • Observe regulations to ensure the safe operation of a vessel


Develop the attributes to help you get ahead:

  • An enjoyment of being on the water
  • An excitement for commanding a vessel with coastal maritime
  • Strong leadership skills with the ability to manage a small crew
  • A commitment to the welfare and safety of their passengers and crew
  • The ability to work in various weather conditions in a moving environment
  • The ability to enjoy working varying times and hours


Completing this course provides you with:

  • A nationally recognised qualification at Certificate IV level
  • Eligibility to apply for a Master less than 35 metres near coastal certificate of competency through AMSA

Career opportunities:

  • Master on commercial vessels up to 35 m long within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
  • Master on vessels up to 80 m long in inshore waters
  • Chief mate or deck watchkeeper on vessels up to 80 m long within the EEZ


Take your career further with the:

  • Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master up to 500 GT)

This course is superseded. You can still enrol in this course, and you will be contacted if you need to transition into the next version when it is available.

Course details

People who are successful in this field:

  • Enjoy being on the water
  • Are excited to command a vessel with coastal maritime
  • Are strong leaders with the ability manage a small crew
  • Are committed to the welfare and safety of their passengers and crew
  • Are able to work in various weather conditions in a moving environment
  • Enjoy working varying times and hours

Assessments give you the opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned so far and to identify what knowledge or skills need further development. In this course you will undertake:

  • Knowledge assessments: short answer questions, assignment, closed book exam, multiple choice questions
  • Skills assessments: demonstration under observation with oral questioning on a vessel or simulated work environment

Assessments can also be offered flexibly, including online, to suit your work and study commitments.

Note: You need to bring work overalls, protective eyewear, closed work shoes and sun protection for your practical skills assessments. For wet drills, you also need clothes to get wet in (similar to work clothes, excluding wetsuits), a second set of clothes (to change into), a towel, and hat. AMSA does not recommend the use of swimwear with survival practicals. Your teacher will provide further details.

  • Begin your study with a Certificate I in Maritime Operations (General Purpose Hand Near Coastal) andgain the foundational skills and knowledge you need to work in the maritime industry
  • Expand your core capabilities and develop a broad knowledge base with a Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal), and learn to operate effectively as a ships master on vessels up to 12 m
  • Advance your existing skills and knowledge with the Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Master up to 24 metres Near Coastal), and learn to work as a master, chief mate or deck watch keeper
  • Refine your skills with a Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Master up to 35 metres Near Coastal) and learn to operate and manage larger vessels in the Australian EEZ
  • Master your studies with Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master up to 500 GT), and gain skills, experience and a qualification to become a master in Australian waters on ships with a gross tonnage less than 500

You will gain hands-on experience commanding a vessel up to 35 metres as well as:

  • Managing your crew
  • Managing procurement and maintenance budget
  • Forecasting needs for inventory like food, drinking water and fuel
  • Preventing and minimising fire risk, including fighting a fire onboard a vessel, how to use fire extinguishers and breathing apparatus, and how to control a crowd
  • Seamanship skills - identifying and applying the specific knot needed for the task, practising different types of knots and hitches to effectively tether a boat

TAFE NSW is known for delivering up-to-date theory along with relevant, in-demand skills to ensure you are job ready.

In this course you will work on real-world projects, in simulated TAFE NSW environments, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Handling strategies
  • Effectively managing the resources you have onboard, including crew members, spare parts, water and fuel
  • Survival techniques

TAFE NSW offers you a range of study environments to enhance your learning and employability, such as:

  • Swimming pool for survival practical
  • A boat (minimum of 7.5 m) to practice the skills needed to work as a ships master
  • Fire-fighting facility for situations relating to emergency procedures
  • Industry specific computer rooms
  • Simulated workplaces
  • Study and presentation areas

Student facilities, amenities and support services include:

  • 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
  • Smarthinking - online access to a tutor

According to the Australian Industry Standards maritime industry reference committee, 75% of maritime employers reported a skills shortage in the industry between 2017 and 2018. A review of the data showed this shortage was primarily for domestic commercial vessel roles including marine engine drivers, small vessel (<35m) masters, deckhands, managers and educators.

The marine workforce is ageing and Australia is experiencing a maritime skills shortage.

The majority of maritime employers report experiencing a skills shortage in the industry, primarily in domestic commercial vessel occupations. Among other specialised roles, the role of a skilled tug master is in high demand at ports.

Increasing shortages make now a great time to advance your maritime career with this qualification.

  • Nationally Recognised Training
  • Traineeship Allowed

This course is superseded

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