Plan and navigate a passage for a vessel up to 80 metres

This unit involves the skills and knowledge required to plan and safely navigate a vessel up to 80 metres using a range of wheelhouse equipment and to interpret available meteorological information to inform passage planning and navigation.


This unit applies to those working in the capacity of Master on a range of vessels up to 80 metres.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria


Plan passage


Navigational charts, nautical publications and related documentation are accessed and checked for currency


Documentation is used to identify navigational hazards relevant to proposed voyage


Route for voyage is determined and critical points along proposed route of voyage are identified and plotted


Potential navigational contingencies and problems along planned route are identified and appropriate strategies for dealing with them are developed and recorded


Weather forecasts are obtained and interpreted, and weather and sea condition hazards relevant to proposed voyage are identified prior to departure


Route is modified as required to take into account weather and sea condition hazards


Planned route for voyage and strategies for dealing with critical situations and contingencies along route are recorded


Conduct a pre-departure check


Propulsion steering equipment and alarms are tested for serviceability and vessel hull is checked for seaworthiness


Wheelhouse equipment and alarms are checked to ensure they are in proper working condition and set for passage


Wheelhouse equipment is checked for errors and allowances are made in planning passage


Fuel is checked to ensure that there is adequate fuel, including a reserve, on board for the intended passage


Safety equipment is checked for compliance with relevant legislation


Communications equipment is checked to ensure it is in proper working condition


Anchoring and mooring equipment is checked to ensure it is in proper working condition


Vessel and equipment are secured for sea


Latest weather information is obtained and interpreted, and proposed route is modified as required to take into account weather and sea condition hazards


Conduct passage


Local authorities are advised of departure and passage plan


Mode of steering is selected appropriate for prevailing weather, sea and traffic conditions, and intended manoeuvres


Weather forecasts and observations of sea and weather conditions are used to determine vessel speed and direction


Information from wheelhouse equipment is interpreted to identify navigational hazards and fix vessel position


Alterations to vessel course or speed are made to meet prevailing circumstances and changing conditions


Navigational manoeuvres are conducted within safe operational limits of vessel


Details of passage are recorded in vessel log according to regulations


Fix vessel position


Primary position fixing method is selected according to navigational principles and prevailing conditions


Position is fixed using selected method and information derived from relevant wheelhouse equipment


Position is recorded according to regulations


Fixes are taken at time intervals appropriate for prevailing navigational conditions


Performance checks of position fixing instruments and wheelhouse equipment are carried out according to organisational procedures and manufacturer instructions

Required Skills

Required Skills:

Complete required records relevant to planning and navigating a passage

Determine dipping and rising distances of lights

Estimate position using dead reckoning

Interpret tidal stream data

Lay off a safe course on a chart

Observe and interpret weather and oceanographic conditions

Read and interpret:

charts and other published information relevant to planning and navigating a passage

instrument and equipment readings relevant to planning and navigating a passage

weather information and oceanographic reports

Read aneroid barometer and interpret information obtained

Recognise and correctly respond to cross-track error resulting from effects of tide and wind

Recognise faulty equipment and take appropriate action according to operating instructions

Recognise problems that may be experienced when planning and navigating a passage

Select and use relevant equipment required for planning and navigating a passage

Use meteorological information available

Required Knowledge:

Australian or local tide tables and sailing directions

Basic meteorological terms

Characteristics of various weather systems affecting Australian coast

Charted information including that in the Title Block, Zones of Confidence Diagrams and Datums

Compass error from transit bearings or by bearings taken from a known position

Determining times and heights of:

high and low water from Australian or local tide tables for any port and the relevance of chart datum

tides at standard and secondary ports for any state of tide

Differences between rhumb and great circle sailings

Effects of current and of leeway on course and speed of vessel (without calculations)and recognising the presence of either or both factors

Finding variation from chart

Fixing vessel position by:

simultaneous bearings, transits of coastal features, and by running fix

radar ranges and bearings

Information given on a chart or plan, particularly buoyage, hazards to navigation, depth and nature of bottom, lights, tides and tidal streams

Interpreting set and drift of current from information available on chart

Measuring distance on a chart

Meteorological instruments and their use

Obtaining bearings on small vessels

Recognition of coastal features

Relating coastal features to a chart

Relationship between:

latitude and longitude

compass, magnetic, true and gyro courses and bearings

Relative bearings

Selection of suitable:

anchorage or shelter

points for bearings

Sound signals such as:

appropriate signals for alteration of course to port or starboard

danger warnings

moving astern

Sources of weather forecasts and interpretation of that information in simple terms

Tropical revolving storms and the weather associated with such storms

Use and limitations on use of electronic position fixing equipment found on small vessels

Use of a deviation card without mathematical interpolation

Using a single position line

Using modern electronic navigational aids to determine vessel position

Using rhumb line navigation

Using soundings in determining position

Using terrestrial observations to determine vessel position individually or in combination with other methods

Weather conditions affecting Australian coast and liable to endanger vessel

Work health and safety (WHS)/occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements and work practices

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, the required skills and knowledge, the range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

The evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to and satisfy all of the requirements of the Elements, Performance Criteria, Required Skills, Required Knowledge and include:

developing effective planning documents

producing accurate and reliable documentation.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Performance is demonstrated consistently over time and in a suitable range of contexts.

Resources for assessment include access to:

marine operations site or an approved marine simulator where planning and navigating a passage for a vessel up to 80 metres can be conducted

tools, equipment and personal protective equipment currently used in industry

relevant regulatory and equipment documentation that impacts on work activities

range of relevant exercises, case studies and/or other simulated practical and knowledge assessments

appropriate range of relevant operational situations in the workplace.

In both real and simulated environments, access is required to:

relevant and appropriate materials and equipment

applicable documentation including workplace procedures, regulations, codes of practice and operation manuals.

Method of assessment

Practical assessment must occur in an:

appropriately simulated workplace environment and/or

appropriate range of situations in the workplace.

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate to this unit:

direct observation of the candidate planning and navigating a passage for a vessel up to 80 metres

direct observation of candidate applying relevant WHS/OHS requirements and work practices.

Guidance information for assessment

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended.

In all cases where practical assessment is used it should be combined with targeted questioning to assess Required Knowledge.

Assessment processes and techniques must be appropriate to the language and literacy requirements of the work being performed and the capacity of the candidate.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below.

Navigational charts, nautical publications and related documentation may include:

Electronic chart display systems

Notice to Mariners

Paper charts

Temporary warning notices

Tide tables

Weather reports and warnings

Navigational hazards may include:

Restricted visibility

Shallow ground


Unlit beacons

Weather must include:

Air masses and fronts

Cloud classifications

Cyclones, storms and gales

Effects of weather on predicted tidal information

Heat exchange process

Ocean currents

Pressure systems, cold and warm fronts

Sea state

Synoptic chart analysis

Tropical meteorology

Vertical division of atmosphere

Weather data provided by shipboard instruments

Propulsion steering equipment and alarms may include:

Bilge alarms

Depth alarms

Engine alarms

Inboard engines, petrol and diesel

Jet propulsion

Off-course alarms

Outboard engines, petrol and diesel

Radar range alarms

Wheelhouse equipment may include:

Alarm devices including off-course and watch alarms

Automatic pilot

Azimuth mirrors

Bottom logs

Coverage areas


Echo sounder

Electronic charts


Hyperbolic systems

Magnetic and gyro compasses



Satellite technology

Safety equipment must include:

Distress flares/pyrotechnics

Electronic position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB)

Firefighting equipment

Life jackets

Life rafts and hydrostatic release systems

Search and rescue transponder (SART)

Communications equipment may include:

HF radio

VHF radio

Anchoring and mooring equipment may include:


Mooring lines

Sea anchors

Passage plan must include:

Anticipated weather conditions

Completed AUSREP reports as applicable

Courses to steer or knowledge of navigation markers during passage

Depths of water throughout passage

Estimated time of arrival (ETA) at destination

Tidal information

Mode of steering may include:

Automatic pilot.

Electric systems

Hydraulic systems

Conditions may include:


Overall passage plan requirements

Prevailing weather and sea conditions

Proximity and course of other vessels

Relevant navigational hazards


Primary position fixing method may include:

Radar ranges or bearings

Running fix

Simultaneous bearings or transits of coastal features

Soundings to determine position


Not applicable.

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.