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.

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

  • hold a Skipper Restricted Limits (SRL) certificate of competency endorsed to 24 metres
  • prove you have met the minimum sea service requirements
  • complete and pass the approved qualification for SCO
  • have current certificates for the required ancillary and other certificates
  • pass Maritime NZ’s final exam
  • prove that you are a fit and proper person
  • be medically fit and have good eyesight.

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

Skipper Coastal/ Offshore (SCO)[PDF: 312kB, 21 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).