Skipper Coastal/ Offshore (SCO)

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

Your SCO certificate is valid for five years.

SCO is a national deck command certificate. With SCO, you can perform a master’s functions and duties within restricted, coastal and offshore limits on a fishing or non-fishing ship of less than 24 metres (m) carrying 19 or fewer passengers within restricted limits or 12 or fewer passengers within offshore limits. (You must have a passenger endorsement if the ship is carrying more than 12 passengers.)

From SCO, you can progress to Watchkeeper Deck <500GT Near Coastal (STCW) or Master Fishing Vessel – Limited (STCW-F equivalent).


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.

To get this certificate, you need to prove that you meet all of the requirements. In summary, you need to:

  • be medically fit and have good eyesight (visual acuity and colour vision).
  • have a Skipper Restricted Limits (SRL) or accepted alternative certificate of competency endorsed to 24m
  • prove you meet the minimum sea service requirements
  • attend and pass an approved training course, where required
  • have the required ancillary certificates
  • pass MNZ’s final exam

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.

Skipper Coastal/ Offshore (SCO)[PDF: 239Kb, 23 pages]


The application fee for this certificate is NZ$884, which includes goods and services tax (GST).

If applicable, the sea service pre-assessment fee is NZ$398, including GST. With pre-assessment, the application fee is reduced to NZ$541, including GST.

How to apply

These steps provide a basic overview of how to apply for SCO.

To complete an application, you need to provide all of the information and documents we require.

If you do not provide all of the required information we cannot process your application and we will return it and your other documents to you.

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).

Transitioning guideline

For more help about moving your old certificate into SeaCert, download and read this guideline

Transitioning to new certificates

[PDF: 241Kb, 15 pages]