Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio operator

Find information on training, sea service and other requirements for the GMDSS certificate, including how to apply and pay for your certificate, and where to find more help.

Your GMDSS certificate is valid for five years.

With this certificate, you can work as a navigational watchkeeper at the operational level and perform the functions and duties of a radio operator on board a GMDSS ship, and operate its specialised GMDSS equipment.


Before you spend time doing the training, we recommend you check that you can meet the medical fitness and eyesight standards (including for colour vision) and that you understand the fit and proper person requirements.

A summary of the requirements for this certificate is provided below. You will need to meet all of these requirements to get your GMDSS certificate.

  • obtain a general operator’s certificate (GOC) as a radio operator
  • complete and pass the approved training course for GMDSS
  • prove that you are a fit and proper person
  • be medically fit and have good eyesight
  • be at least 18 years old.

You must also have English conversation, reading and writing skills appropriate to the responsibilities and functions for the level of your certificate, so that you can satisfactorily complete training, pass examinations and discharge your duties.

Each of these requirements and how to prove that you meet them is explained in the full guideline below.

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System radio operator[PDF: 239Kb, 19 pages]


The application fee for this certificate is $368, which includes goods and services tax (GST)

Application process

This is the application process for this certificate of competency.

Contact us for more help

If you have any questions about seafarer certification, please contact our Personnel Certification team.


New Zealand (toll free):
0508 SEACERT or 0508 732 237

Call Personnel Certification now

Tell us what you need help with and remember to include your contact details (email address and phone numbers).