Level 5

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

Study to become a maritime operations master or skipper

Take the next step in your career and progress to a command role as the master or skipper of a fishing or commercial vessel.

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 maritimenz.govt.nz for all requirements needed before you apply.

Entry requirements

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 https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/providers-partners/qa-system-for-teos/english-international-students/

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: https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/about-us/our-role/legislation/nzqa-rules/nzqf-related-rules/the-table/

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 https://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/rules/part-34/default.asp and Maritime New Zealand Part 34:Medical Standards https://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/rules/part-34/Part34-maritime-rule.pdf.


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Programme structure

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.

Careers and pathways

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.

Career opportunities

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

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

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Your work experience or previous tertiary study may count towards achieving your qualification. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) at MIT is designed for those who already have on-the-job skills and knowledge, but want to take their career to the next level with a qualification.

With RPL we can measure and match your existing skills against credits in our courses – creating a tailored path of study that will not only save you money but also help you to complete your qualification faster. Learn more.

*Free study for the first year of your Level 3 or above qualification may be available under the government’s fees-free study scheme. Visit feesfree.govt.nz for eligibility criteria and more information. Students must be eligible to study as a domestic student. All free study is subject to funding confirmation. Proof of residency status required. Entry criteria, and some costs, may also apply. Eligibility for student allowances or student loans may vary. Contact StudyLink for more information.

Information is correct as at 14 December 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 www.manukau.ac.nz/cssf. 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 is part of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. Te Pukenga 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.