Level 4

Also known as Officer of the Watch <500GT Near Coastal, Watchkeeper Deck <500GT NC, Mate Fishing Vessel – Limited

Study maritime operations in fishing or watchkeeping

Get the skills you need to progress to Mate Fishing Vessel or Watchkeeper working on a commercial or fishing vessel in New Zealand or international waters.

Modular intakes for this programme mean you can start scheduled courses during the year.

Domestic students: Please contact our Ask Me! Student Services team.

International students: Please contact our International team for more information.

Programme highlights

Want to work on a commercial or fishing vessel in New Zealand or international waters?

This programme is for you if you are working in industry and want to progress to Mate Fishing Vessel or Watchkeeper Deck under 500 gross tonnage (GT).

You will learn how to work safely onboard a commercial or fishing vessel and gain an understanding of navigational operations, compliance and legislative requirements, and emergency response procedures.

Choose your strand. Study watchkeeping, fishing, or both.

Watchkeeping strand: Study watchkeeping if you want to work onboard commercial vessels.

Fishing strand: Study the fishing strand if you want to operate as a mate on 24–45 metre vessels, operating within coastal and offshore limits.

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

You need to complete this qualification before applying for your operating licence:

See maritimenz.govt.nz for all requirements before you apply for your certificate of competency.

Award of the 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.
Entry requirements

Entry requirements


Open entry for domestic students

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

English language entry requirements

Applicants must have sufficient competence in the English language to undertake this programme, which is taught and assessed in English.

Any applicant whose first language is not English may be required to provide evidence of their English language competency.

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 General or 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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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.

Give yourself credit with Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Did you know you can use the knowledge and experience you already have to your advantage?

Your previous work experience and on-the-job skills, volunteering, professional development, and other providers’ qualifications can be recognised as prior learning, matched against credits in our courses, and put towards your qualification – potentially saving you money and possibly helping you to complete your qualification faster Learn more.

Programme structure

Programme structure

You will need to complete 12 compulsory courses and the courses related to your chosen strand (120 credits):

Compulsory courses

Level 2

723.221 STCW Basic Safety Training – Basic First Aid (5 credits)

Apply safe work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response to first aid on board a vessel.

941.212 Proficiency in Security Awareness (2 credits)

Providing knowledge, understanding and proficiency to personnel intending to work on ships who will not have any designated security duties.

942.210 STCW Basic Safety Training – Basic Sea Survival (5 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response on board a vessel.

942.211 STCW Basic Safety Training – Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR) (3 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable work practices, demonstrate effective communication and emergency response on board a vessel.

Level 4

941.401 Meteorology (5 credits)

Ability to use and interpret information obtained from shipborne meteorological instruments. Knowledge of the characteristics of the various weather systems, reporting procedures and recording systems. Ability to apply the meteorological information available.

941.402 STCW Basic Safety Training – Basic Fire Fighting (5 credits)

Apply safe work practices and contribute to effective communication and emergency response to fire on board a vessel.

942.451 Stability (15 credits)

To maintain vessel stability with a working knowledge and application of stability, trim and stress tables, diagrams and stress-calculating equipment; understanding of fundamental actions to be taken in the event of partial loss of intact buoyancy; understanding of the fundamentals of watertight integrity.

943.446 Controlling Ship Operations – Cargo/MARPOL/Power Plant (15 credits)

To manage the ship by the control of cargo, pollution prevention and power plant operations.

943.447 Navigational Aids and Equipment (10 credits)

Ability to operate safely and determine the ship’s position by use of all navigational aids and equipment commonly fitted on board the ships concerned.

943.448 Watchkeeping (Orals) (15 credits)

To demonstrate knowledge of watchkeeping and ship handling practices and utilize the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual.

943.449 Navigation at the Operational Level (20 credits)

By the end of the course, the student will be able to plan and conduct a passage and determine a position.

943.450 Passage Planning OOW 500GT Near Coastal (5 credits)

Introduction to Voyage Planning and conducting a passage including position determination.

Courses related to your chosen strand

Fishing strand

943.451 Fishing Seamanship (15 credits)

Apply safe and sustainable seamanship practices on-board a fishing vessel.

Watchkeeping strand

942.452 Proficiency in Survival Craft (PISC) (5 credits)

Operate survival craft and rescue boats.

942.572 Medical First Aid (5 credits)

To enable appropriate medical response to be offered where professional care may be at least a week away.

942.630 Advanced Fire Fighting (5 credits)

To direct fire-fighting operations on board a vessel.

Do you want to study a single course, without enrolling into the full programme?

Courses within some of our programmes may be offered as an individual Certificate of Proficiency (COP). Programme entry requirements and course fees apply. For more information, please speak to our friendly Ask Me! team.

Careers and pathways

Further training or study

New Zealand Certificate in Maritime Operations (Level 5)

Career opportunities

Watchkeeping strand: Work as a watchkeeper deck <500GT in near coastal areas on passenger and non-passenger vessels.

Fishing strand: Work as a Mate Fishing Vessel – Limited on fishing vessels.

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 6 May 2024. 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 2024 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2024 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2024 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 2024 are based on the 2023 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2024. 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 Pūkenga 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.