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To see current General Purpose Hand (Deckhand) course vacancies and course dates please Click Here

Role of a General Purpose Hand

The position of General Purpose Hand, as the position is officially known, forms part of the competent crew on board a Commercial vessel. The role is a vital position that works closely with the Master and/or Engineer to ensure the safety of the vessel, the passengers and the crew on board a commercial vessel.

The position of General Purpose Hand is also the starting point for career progression to being a Coxswain, Master and/or Engineer. The training course provides skills and knowledge known as Basic Safety Training and is a requirement for all commercial crew.

Career opportunities are extensive with employment available nationwide on a wide range of vessels including:

  • Ferries
  • Tugs
  • Whale Watch Boats
  • Dinner Cruise Boats
  • Tourist Excursion Boats
  • Landing Craft/Barges
  • Mooring Barges
  • Fishing Charter Boats
  • Dive Boats
  • Trawlers
  • Workboats
  • Fuel Barges
  • Dredgers
  • Marinas
  • Dolphin Watch Boats
  • Survey vessels
  • Customs Patrol Vessels
  • Pilot vessels
  • Fisheries Patrol Boats etc.

Training required to become a General Purpose Hand

Mandatory training is required to obtain a General Purpose Hand Certificate.

Training involves learning skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Knots and Splicing
  • Seamanship skills during mooring and anchoring
  • Knowledge of vessel Safety Management Systems
  • Nautical Terminology
  • Survival at Sea
  • Collision Regulations
  • Watchkeeping and Lookout Duties
  • Buoyage System - Lateral & Cardinal Marks
  • Fighting & Preventing Fires
  • Understanding Survey Categories and areas of operation
  • Responding to Emergencies such as Person Overboard
  • Following Safe Work Practices

When training has been successfully completed candidates are issued with a Nationally Recognised 'Certificate 1 in Maritime Operations (General Purpose Hand) MAR13.

The General Purpose Hand Course is conducted in 2 parts:

  1. The Initial Enrolment - involves downloading training material from our website and completing online assignments. We estimate about 15 hours of self study.
  2. The Practical Enrolment - completion of the course requires 2 days of practial 'on board' training at our training vessel.

Prior Skills & Experience

The General Purpose Hand course is an entry level course into the maritime industry and no prior experience or qualifications are required.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

If you have prior commercial boating experience or certificates/qualificates you may be eligible for a reduction in costs. To download an application form please Click Here

Testimonials. (Copies available in our office)

Thanks for a great course Peter. I'm now looking forward to getting a job on a boat. As I told you when I enrolled I'm not a good classroom learner so going to TAFE didn't appeal to me. The way you do the training on a proper commercial vessel is brilliant. And in 2 days as well. I can't believe I learnt so much. All I can say is don't change a thing.
Matthew L.

"Thanks Peter. Excellent Course, concise trainers and a great atmosphere to train in."
Jeremiah W.

"This is the most impressive experience I've had in training, development and leisure in the past 10 years as a professional trainer."
Steve N.

"I would like to thank Peter for his professionalism, skills and willingness to listen. I think I will make a great GPH."
John W.

"The course was fantastic with great, easy going instructors. I feel so much more confident after boat driving and anchoring the boat as well as handling the ropes. Keep up the good work. The online theory assignments were also very good as well."
David C.

Click Here to Request More GPH Information

1st Aid Certificate

Prior to the issue of a General Purpose Hand or Coxswain Course Certificate candidates must already hold or be able to obtain a 1st Aid Certificate

Training and knowledge required to become a Coxswain

The Coxswain Course is a compulsory course designed to teach the skills required to take command of a commercial vessel up to 12 metres in length operating up to 15 nautical miles to sea. To understand the depth of knowledge required of a Coxswain please download this document

The areas of knowledge required of a Coxswain include:

  • Manoeuvering a vessel and anchoring
  • Fight & Extinguish Fires
  • Survival at Sea
  • Splicing, Knots, Hitches and Seamanship Skills
  • Marine Radio operation
  • Meteorology
  • Vessel Stability
  • Coastal Navigation
  • Collision Regulations including Buoyage systems
  • Operate Deck Equipment (Lifting Gear and Anchor winches)
  • Environmental Regulations
  • Knowledge of Marine Engines
  • Knowledge of Start Up & Shut Down procedures
  • Knowledge of Low Voltage Electrical systems

When training has been successfully completed candidates are issued with a Nationally Recognised 'Certificate 11 in Transport & Distribution' (Coastal Maritime Operations).

The Coxswain Course is conducted in 2 parts:

  1. The Initial Enrolment - involves receiving all training material and resources via email and completing online assignments. We estimate about 30 hours of self study.
  2. The Practical Enrolment - completion of the course requires 5 days of practical 'on board' training at our training vessel. If you have completed the Fire and Survival components from the Deckhand (GPH) course, as listed above, then this can be reduced by 2 days.

Click Here to Request More Coxswain Information

Over 650 Coxswain and Master V Examination Questions

We have been conducting Coxswain courses since 2004. In that time we have a very successful record of candidates obtaining their Coxswain Certificate on the 1st attempt. One of the reasons for this is that we provide unlimited access to our bank of over 650 examination questions so that candidates can stay fresh with their knowledge and be well prepared for the final 'orals' exam.

We do realise, however, that not everyone can get to our courses so we have made the examination questions available to everyone at the very low cost of $99.00. Please click here for more information

Obtaining a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency

The Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency is required to operate VHF & MF/HF radios and is issued by the Office of Maritime Communications (The regulatory authority):

The level of knowledge required to pass the exam (70% pass mark required) includes the following subjects:

  • Knowledge of MF/HF and VHF marine radios
  • Identify the difference between Ship Stations, Coast Radio Stations and Limited Coast Stations
  • Understand and use the 'Phonetic Alphabet'
  • Use correct operating procedures and channels when operating a marine radio
  • Understand Distress, Urgency and Safety Communications
  • Understand Digital Selective Calling (DSC) Communications
  • Understand the use of 406 MHz EPIRBS
  • Understand the use of SART's
  • Understand Search and Rescue in Australia
  • Identify the different types of radio equipment, their application and limitations
  • Identify the components of a marine radio and the care and maintenance required with radio equipment and power sources

Click Here to Request More Marine Radio Information