New AMSA medical fitness requirements for Skippers/Engineers tickets

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has recently made changes to Marine Order 505 (MO505) which now includes a new requirement to demonstrate medical fitness for skippers and engineering tickets.

Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency – national law 2022) is administered by AMSA and provides for the issue of competency tickets to operate vessels.

Why is fitness important?

Employers have a legislative duty of care to provide a safe work environment and protect the health, safety and welfare of all people on a vessel – including the skipper and engineer. Medical assessment of fitness for those in charge of the vessel is one aspect of meeting this duty of care. A medical issue may reduce or prevent an individual from performing the job effectively either for routine duties or emergency situations (e.g. loss of mobility and dexterity making skippering or engine room work and other operational tasks difficult).

Many vessels operate remote from full medical facilities and it may be difficult to evacuate and then replace individuals who become injured or ill. Many vessels have only the minimal number of persons on board necessary to operate the vessel – thus the incapacitation of even one crew, especially a skipper or engineer, may place a substantial additional burden on other crew members.

The primary objectives of a medical assessment of fitness for duty at sea are:

  • to ensure that individuals are fit to perform the essential tasks of their job at sea effectively; and,
  • to anticipate and, where possible, prevent the avoidable occurrence of ill-health offshore which could place individuals, their colleagues, passengers and emergency personnel at risk.

 At the time of renewal of existing low complexity certificates of competency, AMSA will accept a self-declaration of medical fitness for the following tickets:

  • General Purpose Hand NC
  • Coxswain Grade 3 NC
  • Coxswain Grade 2 NC
  • Coxswain Grade 1 NC
  • Master (Inland waters) NC
  • Master < 24 NC
  • MED 3 NC and MED 2 NC.

At the time of issue by AMSA of initial/new of the above tickets (+ MED 1 NC and Engineer Class 3) AMSA will require a medical fitness certificate from a medical practitioner.

You can find or more information on MO505 medical fitness requirements here.

You can also  access medical fitness self-declaration forms here.