This information paper provides details about the administrative arrangements applicable to Marine Operator's Certificates of Proficiency for the purpose of operating maritime coast stations.
The Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Radcomm Act), through the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Maritime Coast Licence) Determination 2015 requires that staff on duty at coast stations and coast earth stations are appropriately qualified to operate the stations. This means that operators of maritime coast stations are required to hold a relevant Australian maritime radio operator's certificate of proficiency or an equivalent overseas qualification.
Currently five different certificates of proficiency and one certificate of endorsement are being issued in respect of the operation of maritime coast stations. They are:
- Long Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (LROCP);
- Short Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (SROCP);
- GMDSS General Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (GOCP);
- GMDSS First-Class Radio Electronic Certificate (1st-Class REC);
- GMDSS Second-Class Radio Electronic Certificate (2nd-Class REC); and
- Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement (Satcom).
Note: GMDSS means Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.
The Australian Maritime College (AMC) acts as the ACMA delegate in providing marine radio certificate services under the Radcomm Act. The AMC issues the LROCP, SROCP and Satcom. It also approves invigilators to conduct examinations, on its behalf, for these qualifications. Except in the case of Satcom, examinations may also be undertaken by the AMC. Examinations for Satcom can only be held after relevant training by an educational organisation.
The AMC also conducts supported marine examinations for candidates who either produce a medical certificate, or have a demonstrated disability that, in either case, indicates that participation in a routine examination is not possible.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is responsible for the issue of the GOCP and the 1st- and 2nd-Class RECs. AMSA has accredited a number of educational institutions to conduct examinations to test candidates at the conclusion of a relevant course of instruction. Any person interested in obtaining a GOCP or a 1st- or 2nd-Class REC should contact AMSA Ship Operations and Qualifications or email email@example.com.
Holders of other relevant marine radio certificates of proficiency, such as the Restricted Radiotelephony Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (RROCP) and the Third Class Commercial Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (3rd COCP), will continue to be legally qualified. However, persons holding these qualifications may need to obtain Satcom if operating certain types of marine satellite equipment.
Operators of coast stations must possess a certificate of proficiency issued in accordance with the Radcomm Act and ITU Regulations or a certificate considered to be of an equivalent or higher standard. The minimum requirements are shown in the following table.
Table 1 - Certificates of Proficiency Requirements
|Type of coast station
Major coast A* or B*
GMDSS 1st-Class REC
GMDSS 2nd-Class REC
Limited coast* - where HF equipment is fitted
(irrespective of whether VHF or 27 MHz is also fitted)
Limited coast* - where VHF or 27 MHz equipment is fitted (but HF is not fitted)
Limited coast* - where Inmarsat B or C satellite equipment is fitted
|LROCP with satellite endorsement
SROCP with satellite endorsement
* With or without digital selective calling (DSC) facilities.
- The MROCP, MROVCP, RROCP or the 3rd COCP may be held in lieu of the LROCP or SROCP as appropriate.
- Satcom is not required for operators using Inmarsat-M equipment or Inmarsat-C equipment that only supports the operation of a Vessel Monitoring System.
Persons currently holding overseas qualifications with a recognised Australian equivalent are not required to hold an Australian certificate of proficiency to legally operate a maritime coast station. The list of overseas qualifications which are recognised in Australia are included as a schedule in the Radiocommunications (Qualified Operators) Determination 2016.
Aircraft/Aeronautical operator's certificates of proficiency
Aircraft radio operators' certificates were once separately issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and its predecessors. Currently, testing of a person's proficiency in aeronautical radiocommunications operation forms part of the examination procedure for attaining a pilot's licence. Neither superseded aircraft radio operators' certificates, nor a pilot's licence, are recognised as being equivalent to any marine radio operator certificate.
The AMC or approved invigilators conduct examinations for the LROCP and SROCP certificates to assess the candidate's knowledge of distress and safety procedures and other matters associated with maritime communications. In respect of AMC examinations, the AMC may conduct the examinations itself or arrange for invigilators to conduct the examinations on its behalf. The Marine Radio Operators Handbook, available from the AMC, provides a study guide for candidates undertaking such examination.
In the case of examinations organised by the AMC or using AMC examination papers, a minimum mark of 70% is required in each section of the examination before a certificate may be issued. Examinations for Satcom are only conducted by organisations having appropriate equipment. The AMC does not conduct these examinations.
Syllabus for LROCP, SROCP and Satcom
The AMC manages the syllabus for the LROCP, SROCP and Satcom. A copy of each syllabus is available on the AMC website and in the Marine Radio Operators Handbook.
Operators who have obtained a Statement of Attainment (SOA) from a registered training organization for either the VHF or MF/HF unit of competency can apply to the AMC for the issue of either the LROCP or SROCP as appropriate without the need to sit a further examination.
Re-examination of qualified operators
The ACMA may re-examine a qualified operator if, at any time, it has reasonable grounds to believe that a qualified operator will probably be unable to achieve satisfactory results in a relevant examination. The ACMA may request, in writing, that the operator submit themselves to an examination, or a further examination.
The request must set out:
- particulars of the examination in question;
- the time and place of the examination in question; and
- whether the operator has refused or failed, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a request under the relevant section of the Radcomm Act.
The examination, or further examination referred to above, will be conducted by the ACMA.
Any candidate dissatisfied with a decision, in respect of an AMC examination, may apply for a reassessment of the examination result. The application must be made in writing within 28 days of the day on which the notice of examination results is given.
All applications for reassessment should initially be made to the AMC.
The ACMA has determined minimum ages for the issue of certificates of proficiency (refer to Table 2).
A candidate must have attained the minimum age list below prior to sitting for the appropriate examination.
Table 2 - Minimum age
|Certificate of proficiency
||Prescribed age in years
|GMDSS 1st-Class REC
|GMDSS 2nd-Class REC
Contact the AMC for examination fees.
Marine radio operator's certificates of proficiency are issued on presentation of the results of approved examinations to the AMC.
Once an applicant has passed all the requisite subjects for a particular grade of certificate, he or she may apply to the AMC for the issue of a certificate. Application should be made on the appropriate form, available from the AMC, and accompanied by the original notification of examination results (which will be retained by AMC).
Replacement of LROCP, SROCP, MROCP, MROVCP, Satcom or RROCP certificates
If a marine radio operator's certificate of proficiency is lost, mutilated, destroyed, or a change of name has occurred, the certificate holder may obtain a replacement by making a written application to the AMC using the relevant form available from the AMC.
In the case of the loss or destruction of a certificate, the application must be accompanied by a Statutory Declaration setting out the circumstances of the loss and details about attempts made to locate the certificate. In addition, the Statutory Declaration should include an undertaking that, if the original certificate is found, it will be returned to the AMC.
Where the issue of a replacement certificate is required because of certificate mutilation or change of name, the original certificate must accompany the application. Requests resulting from a change in name must include documentary proof of the change (such as a copy of a marriage certificate, a deed poll extract or divorce papers). Persons sending photocopies of such documents should have the copy verified as being a true copy of the original by a Justice of Peace or a Commissioner of Declarations.
Replacement of other certificates
Requests for replacement of a 1st or 2nd-Class REC or a GOCP issued after 1 January 1994 should be addressed to AMSA.
From 1 August 2012, applications for the replacement of other certificates that are no longer issued, for example, 1st/2nd or 3rd-Class Commercial Operator's Certificates of Proficiency, should be made to the AMC. The AMC will issue the applicant with a letter confirming the issue of the certificate only. The wording to be used in the letter will vary depending on the type of certificate originally issued and when it was issued.
Cancellation of certificates
The ACMA may, by written notice given to a qualified operator, cancel a marine radio operator's certificate of proficiency. The notice must include the reason for the cancellation. Subsection 124(3) of the Radcomm Act specifies the matters to which the ACMA must have regard in deciding to cancel a certificate.
Cancellations of marine radio operator's certificates of proficiency are reviewable under Part 5.6 of the Radcomm Act.
Revalidation of certificates
Some marine radio operator's certificates of proficiency, issued by the ACMA and its predecessors to personnel serving aboard vessels subject to the Navigation Act 2012 (in general, vessels of 300 gross registered tonnage upwards), may need regular revalidation (Seagoing Qualifications - Marine Orders Part 3, Regulation 12).
In the case of GMDSS certificates, AMSA has determined that those certificates are valid for five years and for revalidation the certificate holder must have completed at least 12 months' approved service in the previous five years at coast stations where GMDSS is regularly used. The manager of the coast station must attest, in writing, to a person's relevant service.
All enquiries regarding revalidation of marine radio operator's certificates of proficiency should be initially addressed to AMSA.
If you have any additional queries relating to marine radio operator's certificates of proficiency please contact the AMC or Licence Issue and Allocations. Details of the administrative arrangements for the marine radio certificates of proficiency are set out in the “Australian Maritime College Business Rules for Management of Marine Radio Certification” on the AMC website.