cancel
search
Search by IRC, Industry, sector, training package, IRC skills forecast or occupation.

Maritime

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Maritime sector, which is a component of the Transport industry.

The Maritime sector operates in a globalised shipping network as well as across local markets including fishing and aquaculture, tourism, and patrol and rescue operations. The sector has an estimated annual revenue of $6.88 billion and added approximately $2.32 billion to the Australian economy in 2018. Ten per cent of the world’s sea trade passes through Australian ports and over 95% of Australian exports are transported by sea. Australia’s coastline is over 60,000 kilometres in length and our search and rescue region covers more than 10% of the Earth’s surface. Per capita, Australia has more cruise passengers than any other nation, making it the fourth-largest cruise market in the world.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required in the Maritime sector in job roles such as:

  • General Purpose Hands
  • Coxswains
  • Marine Engine Drivers
  • Marine Engineers
  • Marine Surveyors
  • Cooks
  • Integrated Ratings
  • Deck Officers
  • Ships Masters
  • Marina Operations.

Nationally recognised training for the Maritime sector is delivered under the MAR - Maritime Training Package.

For information on the Aviation, Rail, and Transport and Logistics sectors please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Maritime IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast and the Maritime IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and skills forecasts

IRCs now submit comprehensive Skills Forecasts to the AISC every 3 years, with abridged annual updates submitted in the intervening 2 years.

Maritime IRC

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Water Transport industry fluctuated significantly between the years 2000 and 2020, increasing from roughly 5,200 in 2019 to 11,800 in 2020. Employment is projected to decrease to 7,100 by 2024.

Marine Transport Professionals make up 16% of the Water Transport industry workforce and the employment level for this occupation is projected to increase slightly between 2020 and 2024. Deck and Fishing hands make up around a further 12% of the workforce and the employment level for this occupation is projected to also increase slightly over the next four years.

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2019, there were approximately 5,980 program enrolments in Maritime-related qualifications and about 3,900 completions. Both program enrolments and completions decreased between 2015 and 2016, however rose slightly in 2017 before falling again in 2018 and 2019. The proportion of subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program have increased overall since 2016, with 89% of students enrolled in these subjects in 2019.

Program enrolments were mainly at certificate level, with 37% at certificate II level, 31% at certificate III level and 25% at certificate I level. The majority of program enrolments during 2019 were in near-coastal qualifications (95%) with Ship’s Master the main intended occupation for training, followed by Ship’s Engineer and Deck Hand.

For enrolments during 2019, the type of training provider varied between the different qualifications. For example, 95% of blue-water qualifications were provided by TAFE institutes with the remainder delivered by universities (5%). However, for near-coastal qualifications the proportion of qualifications provided by TAFE institutes was 40% with private training providers delivering 54%. A high proportion of the subjects delivered by TAFE institutes and universities were Commonwealth and state government funded, however, for private training providers this was around 35% with the rest predominantly funded via domestic fee for service. In 2019, the largest proportion of students enrolled in this sector were from New South Wales at 39%, followed by Queensland with 23% and 10% were from Western Australia.

Forty-two per cent of training was delivered in New South Wales, followed by Queensland (23%), Tasmania (11%) and Western Australia (8%).

During 2019, there were about 60 apprentice and trainee commencements and 30 completions in the Maritime-related qualifications. Commencements and completions have decreased overall between 2010 and 2019. The intended occupations for apprentices and trainees were Ship’s Master or Deck Hand. As at December 2019, over 52% of apprentice training was reported by Queensland, 22% by New South Wales and 11% by Western Australia.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program. 

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Maritime IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identifies the top priority skills for the Maritime workforce in the next three to five years as:

  • Health and safety
  • Operational skills
  • Digital literacy
  • Risk management.

The top five generic skills in order of importance are listed as:

  • Managerial / Leadership
  • Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and self-management (adaptability)
  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems
  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence
  • Technology.

The top priority industry and occupation skills include navigation and vessel handling.

Furthermore, the Maritime IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast states over 78% of employers in the Maritime sector reported experiencing a skills shortage during the last 12 months. Shortages were reported in the following occupations:

  • Small vessel (<35m) masters
  • Engineers (various)
  • Marine engine drivers
  • Deckhands
  • Navigation.

Reasons employers indicated for the shortage in order of frequency were:

  • Cost/time to achieve the required qualification
  • Ageing workforce / current staff retiring
  • Wages / salaries considered too low
  • Competition from other organisations
  • Geographic location of the vacancy.

The Maritime IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast (abridged annual update) identifies two new industry workforce, skills developments or trends that have emerged since the release of the Maritime IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast. They relate to new technologies and automation and are:

  • Dredging operations – new technologies are being trialled internationally, and as Australian maritime shipping grows, larger ships will need to access Australia’s ports. Dredging operations ensure shipping channels maintain their declared depth and improve their performance, but the operations must conform to environmental obligations. This requires a highly skilled workforce able to perform the required tasks and comply with technical and environmental regulations.
  • Changing maritime operations – development in information and communications systems in modern navigation will require upskilling the workforce as a priority to take advantage of new opportunities. These include:
    • e-navigation – lead by the International Maritime Organisation, it is defined as harmonised collection, integration, exchange, presentation, and analysis of Maritime information on board and ashore by electronic means to enhance navigation and improve safety and security
    • Berthing and unberthing – autonomous technology may be operational by 2025, with remote monitoring and auto-collision technologies also concurrently being trialled, and are expected to reduce human errors, which are attributed to 80% of Maritime accidents. Automated mooring technology is also in use where remote-controlled vacuum pads can moor or release vessels.

These workforce skills developments and trends build on the opportunities and challenges for the Maritime industry sector reported in the Maritime IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast. New skills will be required due to the development of new technologies and innovations, increasing complexity of communication systems, autonomous vessels and technology-based operational systems. The innovations discussed in the Maritime IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast include a new Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), autonomous container ships and vessels, Dynamic Positioning (DP) systems and e-navigation.

The report Queensland Transport and Logistics Workforce, Current and Future Trends: Maritime and Ports identifies the development of autonomous vessels as a factor that will impact the sector in the near future, some of which are already under construction internationally. Cruising was identified as a growth area for the Maritime industry, with cruise visitors to Australia expected to reach 2 million by 2020 and increases in domestic cruising of 23.4% recorded between 2015 and 2016.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit Water Transport Industry, employment projections to May 2024
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • 2312 Marine Transport Professionals
    • 8992 Deck and Fishing Hands.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 August 2020 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202020?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit Water Transport Industry, 2000 to 2020, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 2 digit Water Transport Industry, and 4 digit level VET related occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • Maritime Training Package (MAR, TDM)
  • Blue-Water
    • MAR30113 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating)
    • MAR30116 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating)
    • MAR30415 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Marine Cookery)
    • MAR50115 - Diploma of Maritime Operations (Engineer Watchkeeper)
    • MAR50313 - Diploma of Maritime Operations (Watchkeeper Deck)
    • MAR50315 - Diploma of Maritime Operations (Watchkeeper Deck)
    • MAR50413 - Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master up to 500 GT or Master 80 metres)
    • MAR50415 - Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master up to 500 GT)
    • MAR60115 - Advanced Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Engineering Class 2)
    • MAR60213 - Advanced Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master Unlimited)
    • MAR60215 - Advanced Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Engineering Class 1)
    • MAR60315 - Advanced Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master Unlimited)
    • MAR50213 - Diploma of Maritime Operations (Engineer Watchkeeper)
    • MAR60113 - Advanced Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Engineering Class 2)
    • MAR60313 - Advanced Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Engineering Class 1)
    • TDM30307 - Certificate III in Transport & Distribution (Maritime Operations - Integrated Rating)
    • TDM50207 - Diploma of Transport & Distribution (Marine Engineering - Engineer Watchkeeper)
    • TDM50307 - Diploma of Transport & Distribution (Maritime Operations - Deck Watchkeeper).
  • Maritime Services
    • MAR10213 - Certificate I in Maritime Operations (Linesperson)
    • MAR20116 - Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Linesperson)
    • MAR30218 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Integrated Rating)
    • MAR30315 - Certificate III in Marina Operations
    • MAR30318 - Certificate III in Marina Operations
    • MAR40118 - Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Marine Surveying)
    • MAR50215 - Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Surveying)
    • MAR30713 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Marine Cookery).
  • Near-Coastal
    • MAR10313 - Certificate I in Maritime Operations (General Purpose Hand Near Coastal)
    • MAR10318 - Certificate I in Maritime Operations (General Purpose Hand Near Coastal)
    • MAR10413 - Certificate I in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 2 Near Coastal)
    • MAR10418 - Certificate I in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 2 Near Coastal)
    • MAR20313 - Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal)
    • MAR20318 - Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal)
    • MAR20413 - Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 Near Coastal)
    • MAR20418 - Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 Near Coastal)
    • MAR30813 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 Near Coastal)
    • MAR30818 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 Near Coastal)
    • MAR30913 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Master up to 24 metres Near Coastal)
    • MAR30918 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Master up to 24 metres Near Coastal)
    • MAR31013 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Master Inland Waters)
    • MAR31018 - Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Master Inland Waters)
    • MAR40513 - Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 Near Coastal)
    • MAR40518 - Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Marine Engine Driver Grade 1 Near Coastal)
    • MAR40613 - Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Master up to 35 metres Near Coastal)
    • MAR40618 - Certificate IV in Maritime Operations (Master up to 35 metres Near Coastal)
    • MAR50613 - Diploma of Maritime Operations (Marine Engineering Class 3 Near Coastal)
    • TDM20107 - Certificate II in Transport & Distribution (Maritime Operations)
    • TDM20207 - Certificate II in Transport & Distribution (Marine Engine Driving - Grade 3)
    • TDM20307 - Certificate II in Transport Distribution (Coastal Maritime Operations - Coxswain)
    • TDM30107 - Certificate III in Transport Distribution (Maritime Operations)
    • TDM30207 - Certificate III in Transport & Distribution (Marine Engine Driving - Grade 2)
    • TDM30407 - Certificate III in Transport & Distribution (Coastal Maritime Operations - Master Class 5)
    • TDM40207 - Certificate IV in Transport & Distribution (Marine Engine Driving - Grade 1)
    • TDM40307 - Certificate IV in Transport & Distribution (Coastal Maritime Operations - Master Class 4).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 subject enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET Students and Courses: Terms and Definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Maritime Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2019 commencements
  • 2010 to 2019 completions 
  • 2019 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2019 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Maritime IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 30 Oct 2020
To Top