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Traineeship Year 10 Preferred First Aid Medical Exams

Coxswains manage the operation of small commercial marine vessels, such as fishing boats, ferries, water taxis, jet boats, yachts, catamarans and tourist craft.

Coxswains may operate vessels up to 12 metres in length in sheltered waters.

Those who wish to operate larger vessels further from the coast will need to gain additional qualifications.


    Coxswains may perform the following tasks:

  • manoeuvre and navigate small vessels
  • consult weather authorities before planning a voyage
  • give instructions to the crew
  • communicate with passengers
  • update vessel logbooks
  • assist with mooring and unmooring vessels
  • monitor condition and seaworthiness of vessels
  • transmit and receive information by marine radio or telephone
  • respond to emergency situations
  • use navigational information and techniques to conduct a safe passage
  • service propulsion systems, low-voltage electrical systems and auxiliary systems
  • operate pumping systems, and outboard and inboard diesel engines


  • willing to spend time at sea
  • able to lead and manage a crew
  • commitment to safety
  • pass an eye test and have normal colour vision
  • good health and able to pass a medical examination

Interest Area

Manual/Practical Technical/Engineering Outdoor


Fishing Charter Operator - manages a fishing charter business, which may include work as a coxswain.


Traineeship Year 10 Preferred First Aid Medical Exams

To become a coxswain you usually have to complete a traineeship in Maritime Operations (Coxswain).

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

    To work as a coxswain you will need to obtain a Certificate of Competency from the Australian Maritime Authority (AMSA). To be eligible, you must be at least 16 years of age, complete minimum sea service requirements, hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate and meet specific medical and eyesight standards. You must also hold a Marine Radio Operator's VHF Certificate of Proficiency. Visit the AMSA website for more information.

    Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Maritime Training Package that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.


Coxswains usually start their careers in the maritime industry as deckhands before gaining enough experience to sit the Coxswain Certificate of Competency test. Possible employers include fishing charters, tourism operators, government organisations and offshore mining companies. With further training and experience, coxswains may work in the deck or engineering department of near coastal or blue water vessels.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Coxswain Australian Maritime Authority Maritime Industry Australia Limited Careers at Sea Logistics Information and Navigation Centre

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