Master on ships less than 500 gross tonnage

Find information on training, sea service and other requirements for the Master on ships less than 500GT certificate, including how to apply and pay for your certificate, and where to find more help.

Your Master <500GT certificate is valid for five years.

With this certificate, you can perform the functions and duties of:

  • a master on a ship less than 500GT in any operating area
  • an officer in charge of a navigational watch on ships of any gross tonnage in any operating area

Additional capacities can be added to your certificate if you have sufficient sea service on commercial ships over 500GT that are not fishing ships. You may gain this sea service either before or after you obtain your Master<500GT certificate

From Master <500GT, you can progress to Chief Mate or Master.


Before you spend time doing sea service and 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 Master <500 GT certificate.

  • hold a current certificate of competency for Master <500 GT near-coastal (NC) or equivalent
  • prove you have met the minimum sea service requirements for the option you choose
  • complete and pass the approved qualification for Master <500 GT
  • have the required ancillary certificates
  • pass Maritime NZ’s final exam
  • prove that you are a fit and proper person
  • be medically fit and have good eyesight.

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.

Master on ships less than 500GT[PDF: 261Kb, 24 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).