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Training and knowledge required to become a Coxswain

In accordance with the National Law 2013 regulations, and the National Standards for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part D (Crew Competencies), there are 2 grades of Coxswain Certificates of Competency. These grades are known as Coxswain (Grade 2 NC) and Coxswain (Grade 1 NC)
(NC = Near Coastal).

The Coxswain (Grade 1 NC) course is for all persons who wish to be command a commercial vessel (Fishing Charter vessel - Water Taxi - Passenger Ferry/Cruise Boat etc) up to 12 metres in length, operating 15 nautical miles to sea, with a diesel engine capacity of <500 kW (670hp) and carrying passengers.

The grade of Coxswain which has been newly established is known as Coxswain (Grade 2 NC) Certificate and will allow you to:

  • Be in command of a vessel under 12 metres in length, which does NOT carry passengers and has a diesel engine capacity of <100 kW (135hp) or unlimited outboard engine capacity in smooth or sheltered waters, or within 3nm of a parent vessel in the EEZ or within 3nm from the shore base or aquaculture lease. (Examples may be Survey or Research vessels, vessels conducting mooring servicing, Pilot vessel, Lines Boats, vessels operated by Maritime authorities such as Boating Service Officer (BSO) vessels, Police vessels, Customs and Fisheries patrol vessels, commercial divers, Surf Club and/or Sailing club vessels etc

If you wish to work as a GPH, or General Purpose Hand, as the position is officially known, and be part of the competent crew on board a commercial vessel under 80 metres in length you need to enrol in the GPH Course so please click Here

To understand the depth of knowledge required of a Coxswain (Grade 2 NC) and Coxswain (Grade 1 NC) please download this document.

Regardless of which certificate you intend applying for there are basically 4 requirements to obtaining a Coxswain Certificate:

  • Completing a compulsory Coxswain training course
  • Providing evidence of sea service (this can include boating sea service of up to 100% of recreational activity)
  • Completion of a task book (optional)(To be used if you wish to claim a reduction of sea service hours - See right hand side link) and
  • Pass a final assessment by the regulator

The establishment of the regulations includes one of the most important conditions and that is that evidence of boating experience CAN include ONLY recreational boating sea service. The amount of sea service varies depending on whether a task book is completed or not.

For example for a Coxswain (Grade 2 NC) instead of sixty (60) daysof sea service this can be reduced to seven (7) days (approx 52.5 hrs) of sea service with a completed task book.

For a Coxswain (Grade I NC) Certificate two hundred and forty (240) days without a task book on commercial and/or recreational vessels is reduced to thirty (30) days sea service on commercial vessels with a completed task book. Sea Service can be recorded on AMSA Form 771 Record of Sea Service.

If you wish to obtain an AMSA Coxswain Task Book please click here

If you are interested in obtaining a Coxswain Certificate then we believe there has never been a better opportunity and these are certainly exciting times for the maritime industry as a whole. Please call our Senior Trainer on P:0434 803 687 if you have any questions about sea service requirements.

When training has been successfully completed candidates are issued with a Nationally Recognised 'Coxswain Grade I or II' NC certificate.

The areas of knowledge required of a Coxswain include:

  • Vessel Survey Categories and areas of operation
  • Safety Management Systems
  • Manoeuvering a vessel
  • Anchoring
  • Fight & Extinguish Fires
  • Survival at Sea
  • Splicing, Knots, Hitches and Seamanship Skills
  • Marine Radio operation
  • Basic Meteorology and Tidal knowledge
  • Basic Vessel Stability
  • Coastal Navigation
  • International Collision Regulations including IALA Buoyage systems
  • Operating Deck Equipment (Lifting Gear and Anchor winches)
  • Environmental Regulations
  • Knowledge of Marine Engines
  • Fuel, Cooling, Fire, Bilge and Deck Wash Pumping Systems
  • Knowledge of Engine Start Up & Shut Down procedures
  • Knowledge of Low Voltage Electrical systems

Our courses are designed for candidates who wish to complete the course in a reasonable time frame suited to individual work and personal situations rather than taking months of part time college attendance. We use the internet for initial training and in addition we have our own training vessel, in commercial 2C survey for up to 30 nautical miles to sea, and therefore we conduct the Coxswain Course in 2 parts:

  1. The Initial Enrolment - this involves receiving a hard copy of the Australian Boating Manual and completing a number of online assignments. We estimate about 35 hours of self study. The hours of study can vary and is dependent on your current individual level of knowledge of the maritime environment. No face to face attendance is required at this time however our trainers are available 7 days a week for assistance and questions.

    In addition, if you have limited or no experience with Coastal Navigation (this component is required for an NC1 Certificte) then we have available our Coastal Navigation Training CD with Chart, Dividers, Parallel Rules etc for those that wish to master this knowledge. We Guarantee you will pass any examination by using the Coastal Navigation program or we will refund your money!

    To commence the Initial Coxswain Enrolment please click here

  2. The Final Practical Session (Practical Sessions are held every 4 weeks all year round)

    The Coxswain course is completed by attending for 5 days of practial training at our training vessel. These training days are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to minimise the time required to be away from work.

    If you have already completed the Fire, Survival, W H &S, and Seamanship (Anchoring, Splicing, Knots, Hitches etc) components from the General Purpose Hand (GPH) course then the practical course may be reduced by 2 days.

    During the Coxswain Practical Session we also conduct the examination to obtain a Marine Radio Licence. A coxswain must be in possession of a Marine Radio licence

  3. The General Purpose Hand and Coxswain Practical sessions are held back to back so that both components can be completed at the same and in a block period which is ideal for those candidates you are travelling from interstate.

  4. We have many candidates who attend the course from interstate locations such Darwin, Thursday Island, Cairns, Gladstone, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Geelong, Melbourne, as well as many locations up and down the NSW Coast. If accommodation and flight information is required please download this document

Prior Skills & Experience

Prior to attending the final 'assessment' with a state regulatory body such as NSW Maritime, Maritime Safety Queensland or Marine Safety Victoria candidates will need to present evidence of boating experience. This CAN include recreational and yachting boat experience and will be assessed on an individual basis depending on where the experience was obtained and on what size of vessel. Sea Service should be recorded on AMSA Form 771 Record of Sea Service.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

If you have prior commercial boating experience or certificates/qualifications you may be eligible for a reduction in costs and/or training. To download an application form please Click Here or

Complete our Skills Recognition Form. To download the form please Click Here

1st Aid Certificate

Candidates must be in possession of a current 1st Aid Certificate. It is not necessary to have a 1st Aid Certificate prior to commencing the course however a copy must be provided as soon as possible after the completion of the course before the Coxswain Course Certificate can be issued.

More Coxswain Course Information

If you would like more information regarding the Coxswain course please click on the link below

Click Here to Request More Coxswain Information

Pre-Examination Coaching

Usually there is a time delay between finsihing a Coxswain or Master V course and then arranging a time for the final AMSA assessment. It is during this time that many candidates become unsure on their level of knowledge and study. If this sounds like you then we can help with either some online revision or a combination of online revision and face to face coaching. Please call us on 0434803687 if you would like more information or to discuss one-on-one coaching.

Coxswain Online Exam Questions Information

All Hands on Deck Maritime Training have been conducting Coxswain courses since 2004. In that time we have achieved a very successful record of candidates obtaining their Coxswain Certificate on the 1st attempt. One of the reasons for this is that we provide unlimited access to our bank of over 650 examination questions so that candidates can stay fresh with their knowledge and be well prepared for the final AMSA assessment.

We do realise, however, that not everyone can get to our courses so we have made the examination questions available online to everyone.

The questions are in 2 seperate catergories:
Category 1 includes the following:

  • Seamanship and rope handling
  • Splicing, knots and hitches
  • Vessel handling
  • Fire Fighting
  • Survival at Sea
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Meteorology
  • Tides & Currents
  • Collision and Domestic Regulations and more!

Category 2 includes the following:

  • How Marine Diesel Engines work
  • Operating Diesel Engines
  • Operating Outboard Engines
  • Gearboxes and shaftings
  • Refuelling and Fuel Storage
  • Hydraulic systems & Steerage gear
  • Bilge pumping and Deck wash systems
  • DC Batteries & AC Generators
  • Slipway work and maintenance
  • Deck Machinery and more!

Both categories can be purchased together for only $99.00. It is important to remember that Coxswain positions are a dual role position (Skipper and Engineer) therefore you should possess engineering knowledge as well as seamanship knowledge.

In addition to accessing over 650 examination questions you will also receive the following:

  • Unlimited access to the examination questions
  • All Training manuals in a download format
  • Unlimited access to our Senior Trainer via email or phone with any questions you may have

Click here to purchase unlimited access to over 650 exam questions, with Trainer assistance, on our secure payment site for only $99.00

Testimonials. (Copies available in our office)

Stewert - Hobart: "Just wanted to let you know I got my Coxswain's ticket renewed. I'm 52 and MAST wanted me to do some more study and I'm not a good learner in a classroom. This really helped a lot"

Michael - Port Hedland: "Just wanted to say thanks for all your help Peter. I'm on a boat in Port Hedland and really needed to get my Master V Certificate. The questions really helped me stay up to date while I was waiting to do the exam. I will definately recommend you to the other guys on the boat who are studying as well."

Andrew - Gladstone: "Thanks again Peter. It's hard getting to TAFE every week when I am working. These questions really helped me a lot and is really good value"

Obtaining a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency

The Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency is required to operate VHF & MF/HF radios and is issued by the Office of Maritime Communications (The regulatory authority):

The level of knowledge required to pass the exam (70% pass mark required) includes the following subjects:

  • Knowledge of MF/HF and VHF marine radios
  • Identify the difference between Ship Stations, Coast Radio Stations and Limited Coast Stations
  • Understand and use the 'Phonetic Alphabet'
  • Use correct operating procedures and channels when operating a marine radio
  • Understand Distress, Urgency and Safety Communications
  • Understand Digital Selective Calling (DSC) Communications
  • Understand the use of 406 MHz EPIRBS
  • Understand the use of SART's
  • Understand Search and Rescue in Australia
  • Identify the different types of radio equipment, their application and limitations
  • Identify the components of a marine radio and the care and maintenance required with radio equipment and power sources

Click Here to Request More Marine Radio Information