Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2020: <5,000
Median weekly earnings: < $950
Australian Government Department of Employment projections to 2020
A coxswain navigates and steers a small commercial vessel under 12 metres in length, operating within the limits of sheltered and inshore waters, that is, in waters within 15 nautical miles of the coast.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Coxswain

Accredited (Award)

  • As master of a small fishing or trading vessel, they are responsible for supervising other crew and passengers. They are also expected to lead a crew and make decisions under pressure, such as taking actions in an emergency.

  • To become a coxswain, you must obtain a Certificate of Competency (Coxswain) from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). This involves completion of the AMSA approved qualification and specified sea time.

    TAFE SA offers a course relevant to this occupation - Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal.

    Still unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA - check the website for short courses available.

  • 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.

  • Coxswains 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.

  • Coxswains need to be at least 18 years of age, physically fit and have good colour vision, an aptitude for mechanics and enjoy working on the water.

  • A coxswain will be expected to apply their seamanship skills when manoeuvring the small vessel they command. These skills include using ropes and chains, rigging gear and loads, operating winches and windlasses, stowing and securing anchors at sea, securing a vessel in rough weather, maintaining water tight integrity, lashing and securing equipment, towing and being towed. You can be expected to work irregular hours, including shift work and be expected to remain on duty for long periods. Conditions on board may be uncomfortable and dangerous in rough weather. Living in close quarters with the crew, coxswain needs good communication and team working skills to assist in maintaining morale.