Coxswain Grade 1

MAR20321 - Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal)

The Coxswain Grade 1 is all 13 of the below units. The first 8 units are the Coxswain Grade 2 and then add 4 more units (plus First Aid and VHF radio Licence) to get the Coxswain Grade 1.

This qualification applies to people working in the maritime industry seeking an Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) certificate of competency to command and operate the engines of a vessel:

  • <12 m in length
  • <500 kW for an inboard engine
  • Yes, both
  • Colour blindness will mean you are restricted to daylight hours only

    You can check colour vision here and also here

  • Inshore waters (which means 15nm) there is a technical answer, but this is the rule of thumb simple answer.
  • Also as a tender or aux vessel inside 3nm from mother ship in the EEZ.
    NOTE: this can change, check the latest on AMSA website

How it works

This is a Correspondence Course to cover the Theory and parts of the Practical that can be completed where and when you choose (ropes, knots, splicing, whipping). 

You must be able to access the internet and be able to work by yourself to find information online through researching etc. We provide you with information about which video to watch, which chapter to read etc. and then you answer questions in the workbook as you progress.
This is NOT an academic course, it is made by boat crews, for boat crews and is based on reality, meeting compliance specifications of regulators and providing you with skills that employers want you to have.

You will be required to get a copy of the Australian Boating Manual (Dick Gandy) which you can get as a digital or hard copy. We find that digital is good because you can easily search for the information you need to learn in order to answer questions in the Correspondence Course. 

Some people do prefer a hard copy, so it is your choice which version you get for yourself.


  1. Read through this course information page to make sure that you understand the course process along with our policies and procedures. If you have any questions, please contact our team so that we can provide you with clarity by guiding you through the process.
  2. Submit your Enrolment Application and complete payment using the Make a Booking button (top right).
  3. On acceptance of your Enrolment, You will receive a notification that your boxed kit is ready for collection within 1-2 business days, or you can request it be mailed to you.
  4. First you read the Kit Study Notes, watch the videos and answer the questions in the written workbooks in the Kit (30 hours approx is what many say it takes them, however it is technically a lot more for some people).
    Next you will study the theory in preparation of the final assessment (as you need to know it well). We give you practice tests before the end.
    Every thing you need to know by the end is what you are ‘supposed to’ do on a commercial vessel, so it is all REAL life learning with a purpose.
  5. Once you have completed the Theory, written the answers to all the questions we send you, and studied what we tell you to study, you will meet the trainer/assessor at an agreed location.
  6. When you meet with the trainer / assessor, your Theory written work is checked and discussed. You will then sit and you must pass a Theory written closed book test.
    You will then get in the boat (your boat if you have a boat over 5m with all the relevant items) for the practical training and practical assessment.
    We walk you through the process, but you must be competent in www and self disciplined enough to do self paced study.
  7. Once you have demonstrated competency in all the units and meet all course requirements, you will be issued with a Certificate (some call it the RTO Certificate), which you add to the additional forms and paperwork which you need to give AMSA to apply to them for the Coxswain Grade 1.
    We guide you through this, provide all the forms, everything you need – you just follow the instructions to make it happen).
  8. If you are wanting to apply to AMSA for a Certificate of Competency you will need to pass a Final AMSA Mandated Practical Assessment (which replaced what used to be ‘the orals’. You can do this as a part of your Final Assessment day with us, or you can choose to do this at a later date.
  9. Once you receive your RTO certificate you will then complete the online AMSA Application and take copies of everything to an AMSA agent post office and send it all to AMSA for processing.
  10. If you need your Coxswain qualification as soon as possible for work, we can issue an Interim Certificate (cost of $110) once you have all the requirements for your AMSA application. If you aren’t in a hurry, you can wait for your paperwork to go to Canberra, get processed and for your card to come to you.

Skippers Tickets

To do the Coxswain Grade 1 certificate course with us, you need to have your Recreational Skippers Ticket. You can do it at the same time as the Coxswain Grade 2 course if you dont have it. If you already have it, then that part of the course is removed from the Coxswain course.


Theory part is Correspondence and online Study at Home. You can take up to 6 months if you need, average students take about 4 weeks, plus 1 -2 days Exams and Practical face to face.
We allow you the flexibility to do it as fast or as slow as you need, up to a maximum of 6 months. If you are an experienced boater, you can do it as fast as you want. It is self paced study, so no time is wasted learning the theory knowledge if you are one of our students that already know boats. If you need more time to go over information a few times and ask questions to clarify your understanding, you can do that too. Or you can do it all fairly quickly – do it at your own speed, as fast or as slow as you want.
If you already know all the theory and can prove it by filling in the workbooks, you can do it in a week if you would like.

The final AMPA exam is the same assessment for everyone, so whether you have a lifetime of knowledge, done a few weeks in a classroom, or spent 6 months doing our course bit by bit – everyone must pass the same final theory and practical assessment. Thats the flexibility industry needs.


We operate 7 days a week. Some days are fully booked, but FIFO students change and so gaps appear all the time. We have vessels available at Woodman Point / Jervoise Bay, which is the main location we train commercial courses from. However we can send trainers everywhere in Australia* (you must just arrange and pay for transport and accommodation of a trainer to come to you – no other costs).

*Alternative location must be able to supply the required equipment/vessel for the practical . Contact us to discuss prior to booking.

VESSEL for Practical

This can ONLY be done on a legal commercial vessel. There are commercial vessels available to hire in Fremantle if a student does not have access to their own surveyed vessel. Vessel hire is generally $600 per day, however for students we keep the max cost per student down to $250 (click this to see the main coxswain website) for all costs and a proper Coxswain Quote). If your own vessel is illegal or unregistered etc, it cannot be used. It must be absolutely compliant with the newest AMSA regulations. ie Certificate of Operation, SMS etc.

Guidelines for the medical assessment of near coastal seafarers.

The Certificate of medical fitness for domestic seafarers form 1850 lets AMSA know that you are medically fit for working at sea. If you are colour blind, you will be restricted to working in daylight hours only.

Provide the medical practitioner with the Guidelines for the medical assessment of near coastal seafarers.

If you have a current AMSA medical (Certificate of medical fitness form 303) you can use this instead.

You must submit your completed form with your Certificate of competency application form 426.

Within the Certificate of competency application there is a declaration of medical fitness that you must complete. This lets us know that you are medically fit to work at sea.

You need to show you have experience working at sea in a deck, or a deck and engineering capacity, on vessels greater than or equal to five metres long. You must have completed either:

  • 30 days on commercial vessels with a completed AMSA task book
  • 150 days on commercial or recreational vessels without an AMSA task book.

If you have completed a task book you must attach a copy of the seafarer details page to your application.

If at least half of your sea service is not to seaward of sheltered waters, your certificate will be restricted to sheltered waters.

You need to submit at least one of the following as proof of qualifying sea service:

  • Record of sea service form 771
  • an approved sea service log book
  • the on board sea service record from your task book
  • a letter from the vessel operator, owner, master or chief engineer detailing your sea service.

Read more about qualifying sea service.

If you want a task book

You can get a Coxswain Grade 1 task book from us or from some registered training organisations. To order a task book directly from us, use the AMSA chargeable publications order form.

Read more about task books.

In order to be issued with the MAR20321 – Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal) Qualification, participants must meet all course requirements and demonstrate competency in all units listed below.

MARN008 – Seamanship skills aboard a vessel up to 12 metres
MARK007 – Handle a vessel up to 12 metres
MARI003 – Comply with regulations … a vessel up to 12 metres
MARJ006 – Environmental work practices
MARF028 – Follow procedures to minimise and fight fires
MARF029 – Meet work Health and Safety requirements
MARC037 – Operate inboard and outboard motors
MARF027 – Survival skills in the event of vessel abandonment
MARB027 – Servicing and maintenance of main propulsion unit and auxiliary systems
MARC038 – Operate main propulsion unit and auxiliary systems
MARF030 – Survive at sea using survival craft
MARH013 – Plan and navigate a passage for a vessel up to 12 metres

You must also provide evidence of having completed:1The unit of competency HLTAID011 Provide first aid, or equivalent.

  • If you do not hold this unit, please contact a registered training organisation that offers this course.
  • VHF Radio Licence / Short range operator certificate of proficiency (SROCP), or equivalent.
    You can choose to do this with us, either before, during or after you do the Coxswain Units. Tick this in the booking form to add it, if you don’t already have it.

You may complete these after starting our course, but you must provide evidence of having completed these before being issued with certification.

This qualification is is a part of what you will submit in order to obtain an AMSA certificate of competency as a Coxswain Grade 1 NC as defined in the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part D.

If you are wanting to apply to AMSA for a Certificate of Competency you will need to pass a Final AMSA Mandated Practical Assessment (which replaced what used to be ‘the orals’. You can do this as a part of your Final Assessment day with us, or you can choose to do this at a later date.

You can complete a Certificate of competency application form 426 online or download a pdf version and then complete it.

You need to complete all sections of the form. You must:

  • respond yes or no to all questions and statements in the application form
  • complete all boxes (if the information requested is unknown or not applicable insert N/A)
  • download apdf version of the form to generate your barcode
  • print the form
  • attach copies of all required documents
  • sign the declaration
  • submit your application and pay a fee at an AMSA-contracted Australia post outlet
  • provide proof of identity when you lodge your application.

Read more about completing and submitting your application for a domestic certificate.

Relevant Downloads


We have experienced that each person will have different requirements, so we now give you the flexibility to customise your order. You can add or remove items so you get the
BEST CHEAPEST price possible for your specific needs.

You will also need to pay ±$90 Australian Boaters Manual (you can get this yourself at a book shop, or order online) but many of our clients already have this, so we reduce our course cost by not including this, so you can get it yourself or borrow one or some people even use one from a library.

External Commercial Vessel hire if needed (vessel hire costs $600 per day, however our students pay $250 each maximum for the day). If you want to be trained and assessed on your own vessel, it must be legal Commercially registered.

We can come to you – anywhere in Australia* (you just organise and pay for travel and accomodation costs).

Other costs that you don’t pay to us will be the Medical tests and Govt fees, which change from time to time. (CLICK this to see AMSA website COSTS page).

*Alternative location must be able to supply the required equipment/vessel for the practical . Contact us to discuss prior to booking.

Fine Print

All courses provided by Australian Boat Schools have been developed with extensive input from employers to ensure that all participants have the best chance of providing value the moment they start work. Employers are wanting people who have relevant skills and knowledge, along with contingency management skills to find the information that they need for the job at hand. You will need to do research yourself and find the necessary information that a Coxswain should be able to find in the workplace.

We have trained thousands of Coxswains all around Australia, and know what it takes. This is not a tick and flick, its a real course. You WILL learn something. Please note that this is a Coxswain course and is not a course for computer skills nor reading and writing (you will need these skills before doing this course).

We look forward to supporting you through this journey

Australian Boat Schools – RTO 51850