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MAR50320 Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master less than 500 GT)

National ID: MAR50320 State ID: AC53
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This certificate enables you to work as a Master of a commercial vessel less than 500 gross tonnage in any operating area.

Study in specialist facilities

Situated in the port city of Fremantle, SM TAFE’s Fremantle campus includes some of the most comprehensive facilities for maritime training in the country, with advanced training equipment and highly experienced and qualified lecturing staff. SM TAFE’s maritime training integrates simulator technology, a fleet of three vessels, biological and computing laboratories, along with engineering, seamanship and aquaculture workshops.

You can learn real-world skills in the ship, bridge and engineering simulator training suite and become job ready for your role. The technology used features the most advanced mathematical modelling and shipping databases in the world and the hardware replicates the current equipment installed on seagoing ships.


  • maintain seaworthiness of the ship (ship stability)
  • monitor, loading, unloading, securing and stowage of cargo
  • apply leadership and team working capability
  • contribute to fire prevention and firefighting (basic firefighting)
  • follow vessel security procedures (security awareness training)
  • observe personal safety and social responsibility (PSSR)
  • prevent, control and fight fires on board a vessel (advanced firefighting)
  • survive at sea in the event of vessel abandonment and personal survival techniques (PST)
  • plan and conduct a passage and determine position
  • use of electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) to maintain the safety of navigation
  • ensure compliance with pollution prevention requirements
  • maintain seaworthiness of the ship (ship construction)
Free in 2023

This course is FREE from 1 January 2023. The course fees are 100 per cent subsidised by the WA State Government for WA residents.

Some eligibility conditions apply for the free training, and other fees may apply for some courses. Please see the FAQs on our Skills Ready page for further information.

VET Student Loans (VSL)

This course is a VET Student Loan eligible course. A VET Student Loan creates a debt that must be repaid to the Commonwealth and is only available to students who are eligible.

To find out if you are eligible or to see the list of eligible courses visit our Student Loans page.

School Leaver Non-School Leaver AQF
Completion of WACE General or ATAR (Minimum C Grades) or equivalent Completion of WACE General or ATAR or equivalent (minimum C Grades) Certificate III

Prospective students should hold one of the following:

  • A Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Master up to 35 metres Near Coastal) or
  • A Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating) with TAGS books and sea time or
  • An AMSA approved equivalent trade certificate.

In addition to successful completion of the Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master up to 500GT), the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) requires students to successfully complete each of the following to be issued with a new certificate of competency:

  • Meet medical test and eyesight requirements
  • Hold of the following: unrestricted Master less than 24 meter Near coastal Certificate of competency, watchkeeper deck less than 500 GT or unrestricted Master less than 35 meters near coastal. 
  • Completed qualifying sea service time as an officer in charge on a navigation watch. Please refer to AMSA website below for further information
  • Pass an Orals Examination

People seeking certification should contact the marine regulators, Australian Maritime Safety Authority. Phone: (02) 6279 5000 (8.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday EST) or visit the website(opens in a new tab)

Attendance in class

This course is 5 days per week when studied full time across 37 weeks. 

At-home study

As well as the in-class component, you will need to complete approximately 2 hours of additional study each week outside of class hours, including private study, assignment preparation, and research.

You will need to have the basic technical requirements for at-home study. If you don’t have access to a computer and WiFi at home, we recommend using our library computers during library hours.

Work placement

Work placement is not a requirement of this course.

What you need

On your first day you should bring your SM TAFE confirmation enrolment receipt, your student ID, stationery (pen, pencil, exercise book, eraser, folder for notebooks and handouts) and wear enclosed footwear.

Components of some units are delivered at ERGT and ECU, so attendance at their facility may require additional PPE. Details will be provided by your lecturer.

Minimum dress standards apply to campus and ERGT attendance:

  • Safety steel-capped work boots must be worn during engineering classes. Heavy leather uppers and heavy duty soles.
  • No sand shoe volley type of footwear allowed (even with steel caps)
  • Overalls during engineering classes
  • Water, food, hat and sunscreen for boat days

Fremantle Campus does not have a cafeteria but has basic kitchen facilities (kettle, microwave, fridge).

Parking is available but please ensure apprentices arrive early on the first day to organise parking permit at the Customer Service counter.

Please note this list should be used as a guide only as job titles and qualification requirements may vary between organisations.

To access free career planning and job search assistance, visit the Jobs and Skills Centres page.

With this certificate you can perform the duties or functions of:

  • Master or chief mate on ships less than 500 gross tonnage in any operating area.
  • Watchkeeper deck officer on ships of any gross tonnage in any operating area.
  • Master and chief mate on ships less than 3000 gross tonnage in near coastal waters.
  • Able seafarer—deck.

Become a specialist in your field with university study

The information about university credit points and tuition costs provides a general guide only. SM TAFE recommends students discuss credit points with the university or college of their choice at the time of graduation.

Select your preferred campus and apply

Click on your preferred campus and study mode below to get started with your application.

Semester 1, 2023

Fremantle - Full time - On Campus

Duration 2 Semesters
When Semester 1, 2023
Where Fremantle
How On Campus

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