International Course Info

Course code:


Course fee:



1 Year


The Diploma of Maritime Operations (Watchkeeper Deck) is your passport to sea life on international waters as a watchkeeper deck officer. Take your sense of adventure, natural abilities in navigation and challenge yourself to take the next step in your career.

During this course you will participate in a range of different experiences, like fighting fires in simulated environments, practicing in-water survival skills and rescuing others in distress, as well as learning the knack of the seaman’s knots and hitches to ships in rough waters.

You will be challenged to develop your leadership capability to lead and manage a crew on any size vessel and you will gain the skills to instruct the ship's crew on watch keeping, wheelhouse operations, environmental management, routine maintenance, keeping records and logbooks, communications, stability and more.


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Through theory and practical course work, you will learn to:

  • Measure and interpret weather
  • Navigate international waters using radar and other equipment
  • Manage cargo handling, vessel stability and maneuvering, operational quality and safety
  • Communicate using visual signaling and other equipment
  • Manage and instruct your crew on watch keeping, operations, environmental management, routine maintenance, record keeping, communications, and stability


TAFE NSW is known for delivering training focused on developing your practical abilities. Strengthen your real-world maritime skills:

  • Forecast inventory needs, manage procurement and budget
  • Survival skills – life jacket techniques, jumping from heights, helping others in distress, abandon a vessel, onboard firefighting'
  • Handle a survival craft through rough sea conditions
  • Seamanship – identify and apply the knot needed for the task, practice different types of knots and hitches to tether a ship


Stand out in a global job market with a range of key professional skills that equip you with:

  • Establish your leadership style
  • Effective communication to create clarity in high pressure situations
  • Resilience to face the challenges of life on the sea


The global maritime industry is expected to grow 3.4% each year to 2024. This growth will be primarily driven by increased maritime trade including container, dry bulk and gas cargoes.

As technological capability advances, the maritime industry is also seeing a rise in the use of data analytics for driving operations. The increased use of sensors, network devices, and digital communication channels allows ships to use data in real-time.


When you study with TAFE NSW, we want you to succeed. Entry requirements allow us to make sure that you have the right pre-existing knowledgeand skills to achieve your chosen qualification. You will need to provide evidence that you meet the requirements listed in this section.

Academic Requirements:

English Language Requirements:

Additional Requirements:

  • Students must be assessed by the Head Teacher prior to being accepted into this course.
  • Certificates of Competency in Deck or Engineer Officers courses can only be achieved via a definite pathway. Certificates are issued by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as per the requirements laid down in Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) a convention of International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
  • These courses are only part of the prerequisites for AMSA. It is an AMSA requirement to have specific and necessary training and sea-service prior to final oral assessment and the issuing of the Certificates of Competency. Students need to apply for Qualifying Sea Service (QSS) approval from AMSA once they receive a letter of offer from TAFE NSW.
  • AMSA requirements and their contact details are obtainable from the AMSA website.

TAFE NSW makes every effort to ensure your Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) needs are met. The level of support you need may be assessed via a review of your LLN skills with written tasks and a one-on-one interview. If you need to strengthen your LLN skills, an individual training plan will be created with you.

To be prepared for this course, it is recommended that you:

  • Be fit at an intermediate level
  • Be able to swim 50m and stay afloat for 5 minutes without a life jacket
  • Undertake a prescribed learning, literacy and numeracy assessment to ensure you are prepared for the foundation skills requirements in each of the units of competency
  • Consider the AMSA certification requirements – Please see licensing requirements

If you need help preparing for study, contact us about your options.

The maritime industry is regulated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). AMSA sets specific requirements for each maritime qualification to ensure you are ready to join the industry. Once you graduate from your TAFE NSW course, you will be assessed against the relevant requirements through an AMSA examination process. Once you pass the exam and become certified, you will be able to apply for roles and work in the industry.

Graduating from this course only meets part of the AMSA exam criteria. You will need to meet other requirements through your professional experience and personal health status.

Make sure you review and meet the AMSA requirements before you enrol in this course. If you do not yet meet the AMSA criteria for certification at this qualification level, research lower level maritime qualifications to determine the best option for you.

Some AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) requirements include:

  • Minimum age requirements when applying for your AMSA certificate
  • Medical and eyesight requirements - Please Note: You will need to arrange your own medical and eyesight assessments
  • Minimum professional sea time hours

For more information please visit: AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority).


From mountains to oceans, from cities to country towns, international students can choose from a range of courses offered at multiple campus locations across the state. Experience our vibrant spaces such as libraries, cafes and gyms as well as places you can network and socialise.

Learn more about TAFE NSW study locations

LocationsStarting DatesCourse Fees
Newcastle (Tighes Hill) Feb A$20,260


Additional costs for uniforms, equipment, textbooks and materials (if applicable) range from A$300 - $1,000 per course.


Newcastle Maritime offers a range of training facilities such as Bridge Simulator, modern classrooms, campus library with maritime hard copy and e-resources as well as an Olympic-sized swimming pool for survival practical and firefighting facilities for situations relating to emergency procedures.

Student facilities, amenities and support services include:

  • TAFE NSW Disability Support Service
  • TAFE NSW Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) support 
  • TAFE NSW Careers, Counselling and Pathways Service
  • Smarthinking - online access to a tutor


To receive this course students must complete all core units and a range of Additional units. 

Note: Additional units may vary between each semester and campus, and will depend on a number of considerations including the packaging rules for the qualification and demand for the unit at that location. TAFE NSW does not guarantee that speciality units listed will be offered at each location and semester. You will receive your timetable from the teaching section on commencement and speciality units offered will be provided at that time.

  • Packaging Rules- Total number of units = 22
  • 19 core units plus all units from Group A
  • MARH022 Plan and conduct a passage and determine position
  • MARH023 Use of Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) to maintain the safety of navigation
  • MARH024 Use of radar and other bridge equipment to maintain safety of navigation
  • MARK011 Manoeuvre the ship
  • MARO009 Maintain a safe navigational watch
  • MARO012 Transmit and receive information by visual signalling
  • MARA025 Monitor, loading, unloading, securing and stowage of cargo
  • MARN011 Maintain seaworthiness of the ship (ship construction)
  • HLTAID011 Provide First Aid
  • MARA017 Maintain seaworthiness of the ship (ship stability)
  • MARF031 Apply leadership and team working capability
  • MARF035 Contribute to fire prevention and firefighting (basic firefighting)
  • MARF037 Follow vessel security procedures (security awareness training)
  • MARF041 Observe personal safety and social responsibility (PSSR)
  • MARF044 Prevent, control and fight fires on board a vessel (advanced firefighting)
  • MARF046 Survive at sea in the event of vessel abandonment and personal survival techniques (PST)
  • MARF047 Monitor compliance with legislative requirements
  • MARJ008 Ensure compliance with pollution prevention requirements
  • RIIWHS202E Enter and work in confined spaces
  • MARF032 Apply medical first aid on board ship
  • MARF043 Operate survival craft, rescue boats and lifesaving appliances (proficiency in survival craft)
  • MARO011 Transmit and receive information by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)


From certificates to diplomas, degrees to study packages, you can take your study further with us.


Whatever your career ambitions, we will help you get there with a range of courses to develop your skills, build your knowledge and prepare for work.

TAFE NSW is here to create exceptional learner experiences and provide quality, personalised services to make sure you achieve your goals.

Explore your study options across a range of disciplines and talk to your TAFE NSW Education agent or contact us.


Plan your study around your life with a TAFE NSW study package. Our study packages allow for multiple courses to be packaged together that can lead you to a TAFE NSW or an Australian University Bachelor Degree with credits. This gives you a one stop shop by completing your applications for the whole package through TAFE NSW allowing you to apply for one student Visa for the full duration of the package.