International Course Info

Course code:


Course fee:

A$17,490 - A$18,190


1 Year


The Diploma of Marine Engineering (Engineer Watchkeeper) equips you with the skills to join the international maritime industry. You will strengthen your technical skills to work on large ocean going ships as well as develop your leadership and communication capabilities to work with and manage your crew.

This 9 month, intensive program has been developed in consultation with industry.

A highly practical course, you will gain basic knowledge of low pressure steam boilers, control systems and ship automation, naval architecture, marine electrical systems, marine mechanics, and thermodynamics principles. You will also be equipped with a broad range of skills to identify and fix complex machinery issues and operate and maintain equipment in large ships in the industry.

Choose a diesel engine or steam engine pathway and learn how to maintain internal combustion engines, propulsion plants and auxiliary systems, and undertake basic maintenance of electrical systems and/or steam machinery.


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

  • Maintain a safe engineering watch
  • Adjust marine automations
  • Check shipboard plant and equipment, maintenance, fabrication and repairs
  • Operate alternators, low pressure steam boiler, generator and control systems to supply shipboard electrical power, pumping systems, main and auxiliary machinery and associated control systems
  • Using a state-of-the-art Kongsberg simulator for real time fault finding


Build your experience and get practical skills in:

  • Identify and fix advanced engine problems on a diesel inboard engine
  • Survival skills – life jacket techniques, jumping from heights, helping others in distress, abandoning a vessel, onboard firefighting.
  • Handle a survival craft through rough sea conditions
  • Trace electrical diagram to find faults


Develop the qualities you need to get ahead in this industry:

  • Love of the open water
  • Resilience to meet the challenges of life at sea
  • Strong communication and leadership skills
  • An investigative approach to problem solving


This qualification could help you prepare for roles like:

  • Engineer Watchkeeper Officer - on ships of any propulsion power in any operating area
  • Coastal Engineer
  • Shipboard Engineer
  • Marine Engineer
  • Watchkeeper

With AMSA certification, you can also perform:

  • Second engineer duties on ships less than 3000 kilowatts in any operating area, not limited to Australian coastal
  • Chief engineer duties on ships less than 3000 kilowatts near coastal waters


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:

  • Academic IELTS 6.0 (with no individual band less than 5.5) or equivalent

Location Requirements:

  • Students must be assessed by the Head Teacher prior to being accepted into this course.

Additional Requirements:

  • 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 requirements laid down in Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), a convention of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
  • These courses are only part of the prerequisites for AMSA. It is an AMSA requirement to have the 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.

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

  • Be fit at an intermediate level
  • Be able to swim 50 metres and stay afloat for 5 minutes without a life jacket and in work attire
  • 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.

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

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 sea service and medical 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$17,490
LocationsStarting DatesCourse Fees
Newcastle (Tighes Hill) Feb A$18,190


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


TAFE NSW provides support services across all campus locations. Whatever your needs or circumstances, we have the resources, counselling and facilities to support you while you are studying.

You will work in a workshop with a steam boiler, live electrical working panels, automation controllers, hydraulic and pneumatic controllers and tuning and a Kongsberg state-of-the-art oil tanker simulator.

You will also learn in simulated environments, including Olympic sized swimming pool for survival practical and firefighting facilities for situations relating to emergency procedures. Firefighting facility.

We offer a range of support services including: 

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


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 - 28 units
  • Engineer Watchkeeper 28 units:19 core units, plus all units from Group A
  • Core Units
  • HLTAID011 - Provide first aid
  • 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)
  • MARF043 - Operate survival craft, rescue boats and lifesaving appliances (proficiency in survival craft)
  • 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
  • MARL045 - Apply basic principles of naval architecture
  • MARL061 - Perform basic marine engineering calculations
  • MARL054 - Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine auxiliary boilers
  • MARL055 - Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine auxiliary machinery and equipment
  • MARL057 - Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine diesel engines and systems
  • MARL056 - Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine control systems and automation
  • MARL058 - Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine electrical systems
  • MARL060 - Demonstrate knowledge of ships and ship routines
  • MARL043 - Apply basic principles of marine engineering thermodynamics
  • MARL044 - Apply basic principles of marine mechanics
  • MARL059 - Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine steam turbines and main boilers
  • MARB038 - Maintain and repair marine electrical and electronic equipment
  • MARB044 - Operate and maintain ship power systems exceeding 1,000 volts
  • MARL042 - Apply basic principles of marine electrotechnology
  • MARA012 - Contribute to basic cargo operations on liquefied gas tankers
  • MARA013 - Contribute to basic cargo operations on oil and chemical tankers (basic oil and chemical)
  • MARF032 - Apply medical first aid on board ship


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


Strengthen your expertise with a TAFE NSW Maritime study pathway:


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.