Watchkeeper Deck on ships less than 500 gross tonnage in near-coastal area

Find information on training, sea service and other requirements for the Watchkeeper Deck under 500GT NC certificate, including how to apply and pay for your certificate, and where to find more help.

Your Watchkeeper Deck <500GT NC certificate is valid for five years.

With this certificate, you can perform the functions and duties of officer in charge of a navigational watch (navigational watchkeeper) on ships less than 500 gross tonnage in the near-coastal area (which includes coastal and offshore limits). While on watch, you are responsible at all times for the safe navigation of the ship.

From Watchkeeper Deck <500GT NC, with additional sea service, training and assessment, you can progress to Master on ships less than 500 gross tonnage or to Skipper Fishing Vessel – Limited.


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 Watchkeeper Deck <500 GT NC certificate.

  • prove you have met the minimum sea service requirements
  • complete and pass the approved qualification for Watchkeeper Deck <500 GT NC
  • have the required ancillary certificates and the General Radiotelephone Operator’s Certificate (GROC)
  • pass Maritime NZ’s final exam
  • prove that you are a fit and proper person
  • be medically fit and have good eyesight
  • be at least 18 years old.

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.

Watchkeeper Deck under 500GT NC[PDF: 258Kb, 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).