Handle a vessel up to 12 metres

This unit involves the skills and knowledge required to manoeuvre a vessel up to 12 metres in length. This includes the ability to berth, moor, anchor and manoeuvre a vessel during emergencies.


This unit applies to people working as Coxswain Grade 1 and Coxswain Grade 2 on a range of vessels up to 12 metres.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria


Handle vessel in normal conditions


Features of vessel that relate to its handling characteristics are recognised


Details of manoeuvres are communicated to relevant personnel clearly and concisely using standard maritime vocabulary


Situational awareness is maintained to ensure safety of manoeuvres


Manoeuvres are completed to meet passage requirements


Propulsion equipment is used and monitored to assist in completing manoeuvres safely


Safe operating limits of propulsion and steering equipment are not exceeded


Handle vessel in adverse weather conditions


Nature of adverse weather conditions is identified and the potential impact on the manoeuvrability of the vessel is determined


Appropriate action is taken to ensure the safety of the vessel


Propulsion equipment is used and monitored to assist in completing manoeuvres safely


Safe operating limits of propulsion and steering equipment are not exceeded


Situational awareness is maintained at all times to review actions and ensure the safety of the vessel


Handle vessel in emergencies


Nature of emergency is established and required action is determined


Risks to the vessel and the safety of persons on board are assessed and safety of required action is confirmed


Details of action are communicated to relevant personnel clearly and concisely using standard maritime vocabulary


Appropriate manoeuvres are made during the emergency to maintain the safety of the vessel and those on board, and any other vessels or persons involved


Propulsion equipment is used and monitored to assist in completing manoeuvres safely


Safe operating limits of propulsion and steering equipment are not exceeded


Tow and be towed


Preparations for towing are made safely according to established nautical practice


Correct towing procedures and precautions are applied when towing and being towed

Required Skills

Required Skills:

Anchor a vessel

Handle a disabled or partially disabled vessel

Manoeuvre a vessel crossing a bar

Manoeuvre a vessel in:

bad weather

heavy swell and surf

vicinity of large vessels

Manoeuvre a vessel through:

berthing and leaving a berth in various wind and tidal conditions

berthing in a pen

coming to and leaving a mooring

person overboard

steering astern through an ā€˜sā€™ configuration

towing and being towed in varying weather conditions

turn short around

turning a vessel across the tide across the wind

Manoeuvre to beach and refloat the vessel

Maintain situational awareness

Use appropriate communication

Required Knowledge:

Avoidance of tropical revolving storm activity

Effects of:

displacement and planing hulls

outboard and inboard propulsion units

rudders and propellers

Features of a vessel that relate to its handling characteristics

Manoeuvring characteristics of small power-driven vessels (heavily laden and lightly laden)

Maritime publications and procedures relating to emergency response

Procedures for towing and being towed

Stability of a small vessel and stability terms

Techniques for crossing a coastal bar with and against the sea

Trim and displacement

Use of a sea anchor

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:

communicating effectively

knowledge about how to handle small vessels in strong tidal streams, bad weather, heavy swell and surf, crossing a bar, and use of a sea anchor

knowledge about towing arrangements for towage at sea and in sheltered waters

knowledge about berthing and unberthing in various wind and tidal conditions.

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:

appropriate vessel up to 12 metres to demonstrate manoeuvring a vessel in normal and emergency situations

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 handling a vessel up to 12 metres

direct observation of the 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.

Features of vessel must include:

Displacement and planing hulls

Outboard and inboard propulsion units

Rudders and propellers


Trim and displacement

Manoeuvres must include:

Astern movements

Berthing and leaving a berth

Berthing in a pen

Coming to and leaving mooring

Retrieval of person overboard

Turning a vessel across tide and wind

Turning short around

Propulsion equipment must include:

Inboard engine

Outboard engine

Adverse weather conditions must include:

Fog and restricted visibility

Tropical revolving storm activity in the area

Wind and sea conditions that may affect the safety of the vessel

Appropriate action must include:

Altering course to minimise the effect of wind and sea

Deploying a sea anchor to keep vessel head to sea

Heading to wind and sea to ride out the adverse weather

Reduction of speed

Seeking shelter

Nature of emergency must include:



Disabled or partially disabled vessel


Person overboard

Preparations for towing must include:

Communication with towed vessel

Means of transferring towing line to the towed vessel

Preparation of towing lines appropriate for the tow

Correct towing procedures must include:

If the tow is manned, means of communication must be available

Methods of securing the tow line must be capable of being slipped

Towing lines and associated equipment must be of sufficient strength to ensure the tow can be safely conducted


Not applicable.

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.