Marine qualifications

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is the national regulator of the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety, you can get the latest news about proposed changes from their website and subscribe for monthly updates. 

All states and the Northern Territory marine safety agencies are still responsible for the day-to-day operations of the national system under delegation from AMSA, therefore South Australia's Marine Services will still be the first point of call for all domestic seafarer enquiries.

Certificates of Competency

With the national system came a new 'Near Coastal' Certificate of Competency structure. South Australia's Marine Services issue 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

Applicants for near coastal certificates of competency may apply to a marine safety agency in any state or territory.

State and territory certificates issued before 1 July 2013 were mapped to the new structure as equivalent certificates to enable holders to move into the national system.

By law, persons crewing domestic commercial vessels in Australia must hold hold the appropriate certificate of competency. This ensures that persons responsible for crewing commercial vessels are competent and medically fit for their assigned tasks and areas of operation.


Effective 1 July 2015

Certificate Issue Re-site Oral Renew Revalidate Replace
General Purpose Hand NC 135.00 No Fee 35.00 N/A 135.00
Coxswain Grade 2 NC 324.00 49.00 35.00 N/A 135.00
Coxswain Grade 1 NC 502.00 150.00 35.00 N/A 135.00
Master (Inland Waters) 627.00 249.00 35.00 N/A 135.00
Master <24 m NC 751.00 249.00 35.00 N/A 135.00
Master <35 m NC 856.00 326.00 N/A 135.00 135.00
Mate <80 m NC 856.00 326.00 N/A 135.00 135.00
Master <80 m NC 872.00 382.00 N/A 135.00 135.00
Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 NC 352.00 104.00 35.00 N/A 135.00
Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 NC 580.00 130.00 35.00 N/A 135.00
Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 NC 651.00 200.00 N/A 135.00 135.00
Engineer Class 3 NC 768.00 326.00 N/A 135.00 135.00


The Government of South Australia is still responsible for local waterways management issues, 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; or
  • the master of the vessel holds a pilotage exemption certificate.

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

Royal Australian Navy vessels are exempt.

Marine services issues the following pilotage qualifications:

  • Pilotage Exemption Certificates
  • Pilot Licence


Effective 1 July 2015

Qualification Issue Renew Replace
Pilotage Exemption Certificate 597.00 297.00 57.00
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 - (08) 8164 1275
Email -

Vessel survey enquiries

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

2015 Christmas office hours

Please be advised that the Marine Unit will close for the holidays on Thursday 24 December 2015 and will re-open on Monday 4 January 2016.

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Page last updated: 18 December 2015