Study to become a maritime operations master or skipper

New Zealand Certificate in Maritime Operations (Level 5)

Also known as Master <500GT Near Coastal and Skipper Fishing Vessel - Limited

Programme highlights

Ready to become a master or skipper of a vessel?

Do you hold a Watchkeeper Deck on ships less than 500 gross tonnage in a near-coastal area, or Mate Fishing Vessel - Limited certificate of competency? If you want to progress to a command role on a fishing or commercial vessel, then this is your next step.

Gain the knowledge and skills to be become an effective master of a commercial vessel (less than 500 GT) in the near coastal area, or a skipper of a fishing vessel in the limited area. You will be responsible for the vessel, the crew, and the passengers.

This qualification leads to a Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) certificate. Expand for more detail.

You need to complete this qualification before applying to Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) for a:

Award of these MNZ certificate of competency will also require the completion of:

  • Sea service
  • MNZ medical fitness certificate
  • Eyesight test (including for colour vision)
  • Fit and proper person check
  • Final exam
  • Ancillary certificates.

See for all requirements needed before you apply.

Key facts

Start month(s)


Study location(s)

New Zealand Maritime School

Level 5
Domestic fees

$3,600 (approx.)

Click here to see individual course fees

Youth Guarantee (fees-free*)

Not available

Click here to find out more

Programme code NZ2512

Full-time for 17 teaching weeks.

Includes online learning, and 15 weeks in-class attendance.

Study method

In-class and online

Credits 60
International fees NZD$8,700 (approx.)
Māori and Pasifika Trades Training Scholarship (fees-free*)

Not available

Click here to find out more

Qualification leads to

New Zealand Certificate in Maritime Operations (Level 5)

Entry requirements


Open entry for domestic students

There are no academic requirements that need to be met to enter this programme.

International students: English language entry requirements

For the minimum English language requirements refer to the requirements set out in the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules

International students will generally be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency, for this programme an IELTS Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 is required. Equivalent acceptable evidence can be seen at the following NZQA link:

Important information

Entry to this qualification is open but completion does not guarantee the award of a Maritime New Zealand licence.

All persons wishing to qualify for a seafarer licence must also check the Maritime New Zealand prior certification and minimum service requirements for that licence. Also: Seafarers Framework which outlines medical fitness requirements and Maritime New Zealand Part 34:Medical Standards

International students

Test your English level to help you plan.

Take our free online English test to get a basic indication of your English level. This will help you understand what programmes you can apply for and what preparation you may require before you start your programme of study.


Book your British Council IELTS test with us.

You will complete your test in one day, plus get free online tuition to help you succeed. We offer paper-based or computer-delivered IELTS. Choose computer-delivered IELTS and get your results in 3-5 days.

Programme structure

You will need to complete the four courses below (60 credits):

941.501 Legal and management (20 credits)

Manage and monitor the loading, stowage, securing and care of unloading cargoes during the voyage.  Demonstrate an ability to manage the operation of a small ship power plant. Manage the training of crew and the allocation and monitoring of shipboard duties.

943.544 Navigation command and control of emergencies (20 credits)

Controlling the operation of the ship and care for persons on board at management level and monitor compliance with legislative requirements.

943.545 Orals prep (10 credits)

Manage the planning, conduct of passage and maintenance of a sage navigational watch whilst responding to and controlling emergencies and distress at sea.

943.546 Manage vessel operation (10 credits)

To demonstrate as Master an integrated approach to vessel management, safety, compliance and seamanship practices.

Key dates and timetables

To find the key dates and timetables of this programme, please view the maritime calendar.

Career opportunities

Work as a Master <500GT on passenger or non-passenger vessels.

Work as a Skipper Fishing Vessel – Limited on fishing vessels.

Further training or study

On completion of this programme, you could pathway into the New Zealand Diploma in Nautical Science (Level 6) and complete the training for a MNZ Watchkeeper Deck certificate of competency to operate a vessel in any operating area.

MIT is becoming Te Pūkenga

Vocational education in Aotearoa is changing to better meet the needs of learners like you.

As part of this transformational change, MIT will next year become fully part of Te Pūkenga, a national network delivering skills training in a wide range of locations throughout Aotearoa. This means that while you’re applying with MIT now, from Semester 1, 2023 when you enrol you’ll become a Te Pūkenga learner.

The new system has the success and wellbeing of learners at its heart, and a review of all programmes is currently underway to help support this, including the programme that you’ve enrolled with. The aim is to make qualifications more portable, consistent and closely aligned with the needs of industry, and more in tune with where the world is headed.

As the programme review is ongoing, the courses outlined may be liable to change over time. Rest assured that we’ll notify you of any material changes to delivery that might impact what you’re studying, where you’re studying or the ways you’re learning.

Information is correct as at 27 September 2022. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2023 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2023 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2023 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2023 are based on the 2022 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2023. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology Limited is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.