Offering Info

Diploma of Maritime Operations (Watchkeeper Deck)

  • National Course Code: MAR50315
  • TAFE NSW code: MAR50315-01V01-21NEW-037

Location – Newcastle

Study Type

Full Time

Course Start Date

Enquire Now

Study Commitment

28.3 Hours per week


37 Weeks

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

Course Details

The nationally accredited Diploma of Maritime Operations (Watchkeeper Deckhand) is your passport to life on international waters as a 2nd or 3rd Deck Officer. Use your sense of adventure and natural navigation ability to challenge yourself and take the next step in your maritime career.


Through theory and practical course work, you will strengthen your abilities:

  • Manage on-ship needs including inventory, budgets and procurement
  • Lead your crew in watchkeeping, ship operations and maintaining equipment
  • Manage vessel, navigation, cargo and safety in international waters using radar and other equipment


Develop the personal attributes that will help you get ahead:

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


Completing this course will provide you with:

  • Eligibility to apply for a Watchkeeper Deck Certificate through AMSA
  • Strong pathway to a degree and an Master Unlimited AMSA certificate

Career opportunities:

  • Watchkeeper deck officer on ships of any gross tonnage in any operating area
  • Junior officer
  • 3rd and 2nd Deck Officer


Complete this course and gain your AMSA Watchkeeper Deck Certificate to access a degree pathway with University of Tasmania Australian Maritime College.

TAFE NSW Newcastle has an articulation partnership agreement with the UTAS AMC to deliver the third year of a Bachelor of Applied Studies (Nautical Science). This pathway provides eligibility for a Master Unlimited Certificate issued by AMSA.


Maritime employers report skills shortages in the industry, which makes now a great time to advance your maritime career with this qualification.

This course is superseded.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.


There are no entry requirements for this qualification. You can enrol in this course now.


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
  • 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 - contact us to discuss your requirements
  • Consider the AMSA certification requirements - see licensing

If you need support to prepare for study, contact us about your options.


You will need to hold the following valid certificates before applying for your AMSA certification:

  • GMDSS radio operators certificate
  • GMDSS certificate of recognition
  • ECDIS endorsement - if you are serving on an ECDIS equipped ship

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 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 requirements for this qualification 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
  • At least 12 months sea service on voyages of 24 hours duration with at least 6 months as either understudy of the officer in charge of a navigation watch, or equivalent
  • A prerequisite of either a Master <35m Certificate of Competency or Integrated Rating (IR) qualification

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 be able to provide evidence that you:

  • hold an Integrated Rating or Master <35m qualification
  • contact the Head Teacher Maritime to see if you meet the entry requirements for this course.

To successfully complete this course, you will need:

  • To complete all 25 core units of competency

On completion of this course, an AMSA Orals examination and required sea-time the student is issued by AMSA the relevant CoC.

To register for an information session, head to Students who cannot attend the Information Session please make an online enquiry or contact us on 131 601 for more information about the course!

There are no information sessions currently scheduled for this course.

This is a full time course. You will need to attend approximately 19.7 hours of class, over 5 days a week, for 37 weeks. As well as the in-class component, you will need to complete approximately 8.5 hours of other study per week.

You may also be required to complete approximately 1.7 hours of additional study each week outside of class hours private study, research and assignment preparation.


This course offering is designed for people who:

  • existing workers who wish to work in the Maritime Industry as a Watchkeeper Deck in any operating area.
  • are students who seek work in the Marine Industry.
  • are nternational students wishing to obtain an AMSA issued STCW qualification.


There are additional learning and study tools available for this course:

  • Students who require assistance with Language Literacy and Numeracy can access Maths Support classes at the start of each semester.

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

To keep you safe while studying, some of our face to face classes may be replaced with online or connected learning. We have also modified our face to face classes to meet physical distancing requirements and increased cleaning on campus. As restrictions ease, the way you attend your class may change again. If work placement and the demonstration of practical skills are requirements of your course, due to the impacts of COVID-19 there may be a delay or modification in being able to undertake these aspects of your course in the planned timeframe. Be assured, we'll keep you informed every step of the way.

This course is currently scheduled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9.00am to 4.00pm. 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.

The loan cap for this course is $16,077.00. This means the maximum amount you can borrow for each Unit of Study is $4,920.00, and you will need to directly pay the remaining $900.00 for 3 x Units of Study, and $903.00 for 1 x Unit of Study.

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.

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
MARF022 Apply maritime resource management principles
MARF012 Control safe access to and on vessel
MARJ003 Ensure compliance with environmental management legislation
MARF003 Follow vessel security procedures
MARJ004 Inspect and report defects and damage to vessel
MARO002 Maintain a safe navigational watch
MARN005 Maintain seaworthiness of a vessel
MARA005 Maintain vessel stability
MARF011 Manage firefighting and fire prevention activities on board a vessel
MARA010 Manage loading, unloading and stowage of cargo
MARF006 Observe personal safety and social responsibility
MARF007 Operate survival craft and other lifesaving appliances
MARK004 Perform basic vessel manoeuvres
MARH008 Plan and conduct a passage
MARF008 Prevent and fight fires on board a vessel
HLTAID003 Provide first aid
MARG004 Provide leadership to crew
MARF013 Provide medical first aid on board a vessel
MARF014 Respond to emergencies
MARF009 Survive at sea in the event of vessel abandonment
MARO003 Transmit and receive information by the global maritime distress and safety system
MARO004 Transmit and receive information by visual signalling
MARH009 Use an electronic chart display and information system to navigate safely
MARH010 Use bridge equipment to determine vessel position
MARF010 Work safely in confined spaces on a vessel

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.

Payment options and assistance

Explore payment methods, pay by instalment, scholarships and VET Student Loans.

Learn more about Payment options and assistance.


Unsave Course

Download Course Brochure

Enter your details to make an enquiry and receive the course brochure