Skipper Fishing Vessel – Unlimited (SFV-U)

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

Your SFV-U certificate is valid for five years.

With this certificate, you can perform the functions and duties of master on a fishing vessel of any size in any operating area. This is the highest-level command certificate for a fishing vessel.

From SFV-U, you may progress to officer certificates for non-fishing vessels.


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 SFV-U certificate.

  • hold a current certificate of competency as Mate Fishing Vessel – Unlimited or equivalent
  • prove you have met the minimum sea service requirements
  • complete and pass the approved qualification for SFV-U
  • have current ancillary certificates and the STCW Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) certificate of competency
  • 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.

Skipper Fishing Vessel – Unlimited (SFV-U)[PDF: 256Kb, 23 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).