Offering Info

Diploma of Maritime Operations (Engineer Watchkeeper)

  • National Course Code: MAR50115
  • TAFE NSW code: MAR50115R1-01V01-21NEW-581

Location – Newcastle


Full Time



Course Start Date

Enquire Now

Study Commitment

41 Hours per week


20 Weeks

  • Nationally Recognised Training
  • Apprenticeship Allowed
  • VET Student Loans Available

Course Details

The nationally accredited Diploma of Maritime Operations (Engineer Watchkeeper) equips you with the skills to join the international maritime industry. You will strengthen your technical skills and develop your leadership and communication capabilities to work with and manage your crew.


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

  • Maintain a safe engineering watch
  • Check shipboard plant and equipment, maintenance, fabrication and repairs
  • Operate alternators, generators to supply shipboard electrical power, pumping systems, main and auxiliary machinery
  • Use a state-of-the-art Kongsberg simulator to get a real time fault finding experience
  • Safety and survival at sea, extinguish fires, First Aid


Develop the personal attributes that will help you get ahead:

  • Effective communication and leadership skills
  • An investigative approach to problem solving


Completing this course will provide you with:

  • Eligibility to apply for an engineer watchkeeper certification through AMSA
  • The minimum requirement to join the international maritime industry

Career opportunities:

  • Engineer watchkeeper officer
  • Coastal, shipboard and marine engineer
  • Watchkeeper

With an engineer watchkeeper 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 in near coastal waters


Go further with the Advanced Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Engineering Class 2).


The marine workforce is ageing and Australia is experiencing a maritime skills shortage. Over 75% of maritime employers report experiencing a skills shortage in the industry, primarily in international commercial vessel occupations.

This course is superseded.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.

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 knowledge and skills to achieve your chosen qualification. You will need to provide evidence that you meet the requirements listed in this section.


To enter this qualification you must be pre-approved by AMSA and are able to provide evidence by way of letter.

Some pathways include:

  • Engineer cadets (for overseas cadets, contact AMSA and get the recognition) also requires a minimum sea time requirements.
  • Trainee engineers who has AMSA approved trade qualifications and sea time.
  • Class 3 NC engineers - who requires an upgrade to work with international ships
  • TAFE qualified tradesperson who AMSA has approved an exemption
  • Any person with an AMSA approval letter


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

  • 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 - speak to our team for more information
  • Consider the AMSA certification requirements - see licensing

Visit AMSA website for more information.

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


The maritime industry is regulated by the Australian Marine 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 sea service and medical assessments. 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 requirements include:

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

Visit AMSA website for more information


With 130 locations across the state, TAFE NSW tailors qualifications to meet the needs of the local community and specific student groups (like apprentices, fast-tracked and online students). To make sure this course is the right fit for you, we will need you to demonstrate that you can meet the additional requirements below.

To be enrolled in this course, you need to:

  • Undertake on your first day an R U Ready quiz which establishes literacy and numeracy requirements of every individual. Once the results are obtained, we implement learner support mechanisms for any identified issues, so that the participant will be able to maximize the learning experience during their program.
  • Students are required to complete 7 weeks of online study prior to face to face delivery.

To be able to successfully complete this course, you will need to:

  • Achieve competence in all units of study, inclusive of theory and practical activities.


There are no information sessions currently scheduled for this course.


This is a full time course. You will need to attend approximately 33 hours of class, over 5 days a week, for 20 weeks. As well as the in-class component, you will need to complete approximately 8 hours of other study per week.

You may also be required to complete approximately 48.8 hours of additional study each week outside of class hours, including private study, research, assignment preparation and qualifying sea time on board ships, a minimum of 9 months on-the-job training (@ 7.5 hrs/day x 20 days/month) sea time as required by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

Students must complete seven weeks online study, prior to face-to-face delivery.


This course is designed for people who:

  • want to work as an Engineer Watchkeeper in the Maritime Industry on ships powered by main propulsion machinery of any propulsion power in any operating area.

This qualification forms some of the requirements for certification by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as an Engineer Watchkeeper as described in Marine Order 72 (2014) under the Navigation Act 2012.

Students are reminded that this qualification meets some of the requirements for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Engineer Watchkeeper Certificate of Competency. Students are encouraged to contact AMSA regarding qualifying sea service (QSS) and refer to Marine Order 72 for further details.

People seeking certification should check requirements with AMSA.

There is a new version of this course coming soon. If it is available before you complete your studies, you will be notified of your options and may be transferred to the new course.


  • Library for access to online resources and information, learning resources and help
  • Counselling and Career development for free professional educational, personal and career counselling
  • Aboriginal and Torres Islander support recognises the importance of identity and connection to Country
  • Multicultural services - Support tailored to best serve people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds is available.

We offer student services and study support to ensure you can achieve your goals. Learn about TAFE NSW Student Services

As a TAFE NSW student in this course, you will have access to:

  • LinkedIn Learning (formerly
  • Smarthinking - after hours online study support service
  • Easy computing online short courses
  • Access to local TAFE libraries
  • Accessibility and Disability Support Services
  • Access to Read&Write learning support software at TAFE and at home

The way you learn may change during your enrolment to ensure the best learning experience or to keep you safe as COVID-19 restrictions change, and some of our face to face classes may change to online or virtual classroom learning. Also, to ensure that we keep you safe while studying, we may modify our face to face classes to meet physical distancing requirements and increased cleaning on campus. If work placement and the demonstration of practical skills are requirements of your course, there may be a modification or delay in the planned timeframe due to COVID-19 impacts. Be assured, we'll keep you informed every step of the way.

This course is currently scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8.00am to 5.00pm. This timetable may change and will be confirmed by your teacher.


This course is approved for a Commonwealth VET Student Loan (VSL). If you meet the VSL eligibility and academic suitability requirements, you are able to apply to the Commonwealth for a loan to cover all or part of your course fee. We will ask you whether you would like to apply for a VET Student Loan when you enrol and advise you of the process.

Find out more about VET Student Loans

Direct payment by Unit of Study instalments is available for this course.

The Units of Study and associated fees for this course are detailed below. Fees are charged on the census day for each Unit of Study. To secure a loan for part or all of your course, you must be eligible and submit a valid application to the Commonwealth for a VET Student Loan. You may withdraw prior to the census date without incurring a fee.

Should you be required to complete commercial units that are mandatory to the Engineer Watchkeeper Certificate of Competency, additional charges will apply. All commercial units and applicable fees are referenced on your Individual Learning Plan (ILP). Enrolled students must sign their ILP as acknowledgement of the relevant course and delivery requirements.

To complete your VET Student Loan application, you will need to provide:

  • Your Tax File Number (TFN). If you dont have a TFN, click here for information on how to apply for one. You can complete your loan application with a Certificate of Application for a TFN, but must provide your TFN as soon as it is issued. If you dont provide your TFN before your first census day, you will need to pay the tuition fees for that unit of study.
  • Your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) ). If you have previously accessed a loan via the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), either at TAFE or university, you will already have a CHESSN. You must use the same CHESSN whenever you access a student loan. If you dont have CHESSN, we will allocate one on your behalf.
To be eligible for a VET Student Loan, you will need to be assessed as academically suitable to undertake high level VET study. You will need to provide:
  • A copy of your Australian Year 12 Certificate; OR
  • A copy of a certificate showing that you have been awarded a qualification at level 4 or above in the Australian Qualifications Framework (where the language of instruction was English). If you previously completed a Certificate IV or higher qualification at TAFE NSW, just let us know where and when you studied in your application; OR
  • Display competence at Exit Level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework in both reading and numeracy through an approved Language, Literacy and Numeracy test. We will let you know if this is required once you apply.
If you intend to apply for a VET Student Loan, its important you know your student obligations.


Learn about TAFE NSW Fees

Learn about TAFE NSW Payment/Funding


Recognition is a process of acknowledging previously completed qualifications, skills, knowledge or experience relevant to your course. This may reduce the amount of learning required, reduce your course fees and allow you to achieve your qualification faster.

Learn about Recognition at TAFE NSW Recognition

Enrolments for this course have now closed.

Enquire now and we will contact you when enrolments open. Visit our Online Courses to view our range of study options that you can start anytime.

Core Units
Number Title
HLTAID003 Provide first aid
MARE001 Communicate effectively when performing engineering duties
MARF003 Follow vessel security procedures
MARF008 Prevent and fight fires on board a vessel
MARF010 Work safely in confined spaces on a vessel
MARF022 Apply maritime resource management principles
MARG004 Provide leadership to crew
MARJ003 Ensure compliance with environmental management legislation
MARL002 Apply basic principles of naval architecture
MARL003 Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine auxiliary boilers
MARL004 Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine auxiliary machinery and equipment
MARL005 Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine control systems and automation
MARL007 Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine electrical systems
MARL009 Perform basic marine engineering calculations
MARL010 Apply basic principles of marine electrotechnology
MARL011 Apply basic principles of marine engineering thermodynamics
MARL012 Apply basic principles of marine mechanics
MARL037 Demonstrate knowledge of ships and ship routines
Elective Units
Number Title
MARA001 Contribute to safe cargo operations on liquefied gas tankers
MARA002 Contribute to safe cargo operations on oil and chemical tankers
MARL006 Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine diesel engines and systems
MARL013 Demonstrate basic knowledge of marine steam turbines and main boilers

Note: Not all elective units listed may be available to study, please enquire for more information.

Whether you're a school leaver, an aspiring apprentice, looking to kickstart a career, or you're upskilling, reskilling, or re-training, there's a TAFE NSW course to give you the skills you need for the job you want.

Course Location

266 Maitland Road, Tighes Hill
Phone 131 601

Fees information

We understand that many students are confused by different fees for similar courses, and want to reassure you that studying with TAFE NSW won't damage your hip pocket.

Learn more about Fees information.

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