Current General Purpose Hand (Deckhand) course vacancies


All Hands on Deck Maritime Training General Purpose Hand (1 day practical session) courses are operating as normal. Vacancies are very limited at the present time with the following vacancies available:    (Note: Pre course activities should be completed 2 weeks prior to a practical session date)  

17 May 2024 – 3 vacancies  (enrol here)

 14 June 2024 – 4 vacancies  (enrol here)

The majority (90%) of the course can now be completed online and enrollments made anytime. 

For General Purpose Hand inquiries please call 0412201767

or email at 

Course Inquires Click Here

Role of a General Purpose Hand (GPH) (Deckhand)

The position of General Purpose Hand, as the position is officially known, forms part of the competent crew on board a Commercial vessel. The role is a vital position that works closely with the Master and/or Engineer to ensure the safety of the vessel, the passengers and the crew on board the vessel. The position allows you to perform duty on a vessel under 100 metres in length, under 3000 Gross Tonnage, with engine propulsion under 3000 kW, within Australia’s Exclusive Zone (EEZ) which is 200 nautical miles to sea.

The position of General Purpose Hand is also the starting point for career progression to being a Coxswain, Master and/or Engineer. The training course provides skills and knowledge known as Basic Safety Training and is a requirement for all commercial crew.

Did you know there are over 27,000 domestic commercial vessels in Australia with over 66,000 crew working on these vessels. A recent survey revealed that over 75% of companies are having difficulty finding qualified crew! (Source: Working Boats issue 14). 

Career opportunities are extensive with employment available nationwide on a wide range of vessels including:

  • Ferries
  • Tugs
  • Whale Watch Boats
  • Dinner Cruise Boats
  • Tourist Excursion Boats
  • Landing Craft/Barges
  • Mooring Barges
  • Fishing Charter Boats
  • Dive Boats
  • Trawlers
  • Workboats
  • Fuel Barges
  • Dredgers
  • Marinas
  • Dolphin Watch Boats
  • Survey vessels
  • Customs Patrol Vessels
  • Pilot vessels
  • Fisheries Patrol Boats etc.

General Purpose Hand training requirements

Mandatory training is required to obtain a General Purpose Hand Certificate.

Training involves learning skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Knots and Splicing
  • Seamanship skills during mooring and anchoring
  • Knowledge of vessel Safety Management Systems
  • Nautical Terminology
  • Survival at Sea
  • Collision Regulations
  • Watchkeeping and Lookout Duties
  • Buoyage System – Lateral & Cardinal Marks
  • Fighting & Preventing Fires
  • Understanding Survey Categories and areas of operation
  • Responding to Emergencies such as Person Overboard
  • Following Safe Work Practices

When training has been successfully completed candidates are issued with a Nationally Recognised ‘Certificate 1 in Maritime Operations (General Purpose Hand) MAR20.

The General Purpose Hand Course is conducted in 2 parts:

  1. The Initial Enrolment – involves downloading training material from our website and completing online assignments. We estimate about 15 hours of self study.
  2. The Practical Enrolment – completion of the course requires 1 day of practial training to undertake Fire and Survival training as well as Seamanship activities ‘on board’ training at our training vessel.

Prior Skills & Experience

The General Purpose Hand course is an entry level course into the maritime industry and no prior experience or qualifications are required.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

If you have prior commercial boating experience or certificates/qualifications you may be eligible for a reduction in costs. To download an application form please Click Here

1st Aid Certificate

Prior to the issue of a General Purpose Hand or Coxswain Marine Qualification from AMSA candidates must possess a 1st Aid Certificate. We recommend that you obtain a 1st Aid Certificate prior to completing Stage 2. If this is not possible it should be undertaken as soon as possible on completion of the course.

Deckhand (GPH) course enrolment

Payment to complete the course is made in 2 stages:

STAGE 1 – Initial Enrolment Payment: $795.00.
On receipt of the initial enrolment fee you will be provided with your training manual, a training study plan and access to our online assignment material. This stage can be undertaken in your own time and at your own pace however we estimate approximately 15 hours of self study. There is no need to attend any class sessions.

STAGE 2 – Final Enrolment Payment: $795.00 (see discount opportunity below)
When you have completed Stage 1 you can book in for the final stage. Stage 2 bookings and payment must be made at least 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the 1 day practical session which is conducted at our training vessel. (conditions apply – please see our Policies and Procedures). During Stage 2 you will put into practice the following skills:

  • Mooring and Berthing the Vessel
  • Splicing, Knots and Hitches
  • Anchoring the Vessel
  • Man Overboard and Fire Drills
  • Knowledge of collision Regulations
  • IALA buoyage
  • Watch keeping and Lookout duties
  • On Board Maritime Safety
  • Practical Survival at Sea


  • When an initial enrolment is made we will send an email to you offering a discount of $195.00 if the balance of course fees are paid with 24 hours of the initial payment.
  • We will provide FREE additional training to you to obtain a NSW General Boat Licence valued at $295.00 if you do not already possess a Boat Licence
  • We provide additional training manuals FREE in a downloaded format from our website

Travel & Accommodation Information
We have many students who come from interstate. Approx 40% of students come from Queensland while many others come from Vic, SA, WA, Tas & NT. In the past year we have had 26 candidates from WA. There are many affordable hotels and Air BnB’s nearby our training vessel.

To obtain Travel & Accommodation information please click on this link Travel & Accommodation Information

Location: Course are held in Newcastle monthly

Additional Costs:

  1. A current 1st Aid Certificate is required. You can obtain this from a provider of your choice for between $120.00 and $150.00. 
  2. It is also necessary to obtain an eyesight certificate from your local GP. This can be obtained after the completion of the course.

To proceed to initial enrolment and to pay the amount of $795.00 please complete the details below:

Method of payment:
We accept direct bank deposit or secure credit card payment with Visa-Mastercard through our Stripe account.

Course Inquires Click Here