Commercial marine

Marine qualifications

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is the national regulator of the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety. You can learn about proposed changes and subscribe to monthly updates by visiting their website.

State and territory marine safety agencies are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the national system under delegation from AMSA. In South Australia Marine Services are the first point of call for domestic seafarer enquiries.

National System Update from AMSA

From August to October 2016 AMSA consulted with industry on proposed methods of cost recovery under the National System (to take effect once AMSA assumes service delivery).

The consultation report on the proposed methods of cost recovery under the National System outlines the response of industry members towards the proposed levy models and the fees for services.

Feedback from industry clearly indicated that it is supportive of a National System but is not receptive to the levy proposals put forward. As a result of this feedback, the Transport and Infrastructure Council extended the timeline for AMSA assuming service delivery of the National System until 1 July 2018.

AMSA is committed to working with industry partners on a way forward, and will provide regular updates as information becomes available.

Certificates of competency

Anyone crewing domestic commercial vessels in Australia must hold the appropriate certificate of competency, which ensures that they are competent and medically fit for their assigned tasks and areas of operation.

South Australian Marine Services issues the following 'Near Coastal' (NC) Certificates of Competency:

  • General Purpose Hand NC
  • Coxswain Grade 2 NC
  • Coxswain Grade 1 NC
  • Master (Inland Waters)
  • Master <24 m NC
  • Master <35 m NC
  • Mate <80 m NC
  • Master <80 m NC
  • Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 NC
  • Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 NC
  • Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 NC
  • Engineer Class 3 NC

You can apply for a certificate from a marine safety agency in any state or territory. State and territory certificates issued before 1 July 2013 were mapped as equivalent certificates under the Near Coastal Certificate structure to bring holders into the national system.


Effective 1 July 2016

Certificate Issue Resit oral Renew Revalidate Replace
General Purpose Hand NC $137.00 No Fee $86.00 N/A $71.00
Coxswain Grade 2 NC $330.00 $50.00 $86.00 N/A $71.00
Coxswain Grade 1 NC $511.00 $153.00 $86.00 N/A $71.00
Master (Inland Waters) $638.00 $253.00 $86.00 N/A $71.00
Master <24 m NC $764.00 $253.00 $86.00  N/A $71.00
Master <35 m NC $871.00 $332.00 N/A $137.00 $71.00
Mate <80 m NC $871.00 $332.00 N/A $137.00 $71.00
Master <80 m NC $887.00 $388.00 N/A $137.00 $71.00
Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 NC $358.00 $106.00 $86.00 N/A $71.00
Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 NC $590.00 $132.00 $86.00 N/A $71.00
Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 NC $662.00 $203.00 N/A $137.00 $71.00
Engineer Class 3 NC $781.00 $332.00 N/A $137.00 $71.00


The Government of South Australia is responsible for managing local waterways, including pilotage.

In South Australia, a vessel 35 metres or more in length must not be navigated within a 'prescribed area' (compulsory pilotage area) unless:

  • the vessel is navigated under the control or at the direction of a licensed pilot
  • the master of the vessel holds a Pilotage Exemption Certificate
  • the vessel is a Royal Australian Navy vessel.

If a vessel is navigated in contravention of these requirements, the owner and the master are each guilty of an offence.

South Australian Marine Services issues:

  • Pilotage Exemption Certificates
  • Pilot Licence.


Effective 1 July 2016

Qualification Issue Renew Replace
Pilotage Exemption Certificate $607.00 $302.00 $58.00
Pilot Licence No fee N/A No fee

Contact details

Marine Services
13 Kateena Street
Regency Park SA 5010
Office hours - 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday

PO Box 2526
Regency Park SA 5942

Phone - 1300 885 793
Fax - 8115 5536
Email -

Vessel survey enquiries

For domestic commercial vessel enquiries, see Certificates of survey and operation.

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Page last updated 29 November 2016

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Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
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