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Transport & Logistics Industry Skills Council » Coxswain


A Coxswain will usually begin their career as a deck hand, sitting the Coxswain certificate of competency test once they have gained sufficient experience. Coxswains operate small commercial vessels less than 12 metres in length, within the limits of sheltered and inshore waters. To operate larger vessels further from the coast requires additional qualifications.

A Coxswain is responsible for the supervision of crew and passengers and must be able to make decisions under pressure. A coxswain might also maintain the operations of engines (less than 250Kw), update vessel log books and assist in mooring and unmooring vessels.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Watch-keeping
  • Watch-keeping
  • Refuelling
  • Operation of pumping systems and inboard diesel engines
  • Transmission of information by marine radio or telephone

Australia relies on its Maritime sector for trade. With a range of skills in demand across the sector both nationally and internationally, there are many career opportunities available.

Industry facts

  • Commercial vessels under the command of a coxswain can include small passenger vessels such as ferries, water taxis, fishing boats, yachts and tourist boats.
  • A Coxswain must have excellent vision and hearing, mechanical and physical aptitude, good oral and written communication skills, and well developed literacy, numeracy and computer skills.
  • The Maritime sector employs approximately 40,000 people in Australia. Almost all (99.9%) of Australia‚Äôs international trade is moved by ships, and 25% of domestic freight.

Entry Qualifications


  • Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain)

Estimated Salary

Upwards of $40,000*
*Wages will vary according to your level of skill, experience, employer and geographical location.

Download Profile

PDF document Coxswain Career Overview