Unit of competency details

PUADEFCA304B - Prepare, operate and maintain small watercraft (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 09/Feb/2011

Usage recommendation:
The Deleted usage recommendation was implemented on 13 June 2017 to describe training components that have no replacement. Enrolments in training components and statements of attainment or qualifications issued before 13 June 2017 are valid. For any components marked as deleted after 13 June 2017, the applicable transition/teach-out periods apply. For specific questions regarding the enrolment, delivery or issuance of a statement of attainment/qualification, please contact your training regulator.
DeletedDeleted from PUA00 Public Safety Training Package16/Aug/2012

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 031705 Marine Craft Operation  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 031705 Marine Craft Operation  03/Sep/2009 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit Descriptor 

This unit covers the competency required to operate small watercraft .

The watercraft will normally be operated in an environment  of protected or calm inland waterways, conducting a range of tasks including the transport of personnel and/or equipment. While the technical aspects of this competency are concerned with 'operating a boat', the specialisation of the skill, and safety issues associated with waterborne operations confer additional responsibilities upon the operator. For all watercraft operations  the individual may need to provide directions to personnel within the boat concerning specific safety matters such as seating, movement and actions on incidents such as man overboard and capsize. The individual must demonstrate sound judgement in the use of authority, and where possible, work within the existing lines of authority. The individual will usually operate the boat with minimum supervision.

Application of the Unit

Application of the Unit 

The application of this unit in the workplace - the environments, complexities and situations involved - will be written during Phase II of the Review of the PUA00 Public Safety Training Package.

This text will be useful for the purposes of job descriptions, recruitment advice or job analysis; where possible, it will not be too job specific to allow other industries to import it into other Training Packages, where feasible.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite Unit /

BSBCMN311A Maintain workplace safety

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a Unit of Competency.

Performance Criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the Required Skills and Knowledge and/or the Range Statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the Evidence Guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare for watercraft operations 

1.1 Operating instructions  are interpreted to determine the task, the cargo, the destination and route, and navigation data is compiled in accordance with standard procedures 

1.2 Hasty buoyancy /floatation calculations  are completed to ensure passengers and cargo are safe to move

1.3 Equipment  is selected, checked for serviceability and unserviceable items are replaced or rejected, and reported to the supervisor in accordance with standard procedures

1.4 Shore preparation  is conducted in accordance with standard procedures and the watercraft is prepared and readied for launch

1.5 Appropriate personal protective equipment is selected and worn by all personnel

1.6 Passengers and crew are given a safety brief by the operator prior to embarking

2. Construct improvised watercraft 

2.1 Improvised flotation craft  are constructed/assembled, when required, in accordance with technical specifications and supervisor's instructions

2.2 Improvised flotation craft are inspected for safety prior to use and shore preparation is completed

3. Operate small watercraft 

3.1 Watercraft is launched safely in accordance with standard procedures and local conditions

3.2 Watercraft is loaded and trimmed to ensure safety of crew and load

3.3 Watercraft is operated  consistent with hazards and environmental conditions , and in accordance with standard procedures

3.4 Directions are provided, as necessary, to passengers in order to maintain safety and efficient boat operation

3.5 Contingency and emergency drills  are carried out, as necessary, to minimise threat to personnel and equipment

3.6 Personnel and/or loads are disembarked and/or unloaded safely in accordance with standard procedures

4. Recover and restore vessel 

4.1 Watercraft is recovered from a ramp or improvised landing site

4.2 Watercraft and associated equipment are checked for serviceability, cleaned and serviced, defects are reported and documentation is completed in accordance with standard procedures

4.3 Debriefing requirements are completed, as required, in accordance with standard procedures

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Required Skills 

  • use knots and lashings to secure watercraft
  • use clear interpersonal communication as operator of the vessel
  • constantly monitor hazards and apply safety principles to operations
  • follow instructions/directives and report information
  • participate in team
  • encourage other team members
  • use a variety of verbal and non-verbal communication techniques including language style, active listening
  • read and interpret operating instructions
  • calculate and record number and weight of passengers, stores and equipment

Required Knowledge 

  • applicable statutory waterways rules for watercraft operation
  • local water hazards and environmental conditions
  • effects of water moving over objects and obstacles
  • team work
  • techniques for supporting others
  • composition of teams, and roles and responsibilities of team members
  • verbal and non-verbal communication techniques including language style, active listening
  • hasty buoyancy/floatation calculations

Evidence Guide


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

Assessment must confirm the ability to safely operate selected small watercraft and improvised flotation craft on various waterways under a range of environmental conditions. The operator must demonstrate competency at carrying both equipment and personnel, and demonstrate the ability to manage the full range of contingency and emergency actions

Consistency in performance 

Competency should be demonstrated over a time frame that allows for the preparation, operation and maintenance of small watercraft and the construction of improvised flotation craft under a range of water operating conditions carrying personnel and cargo

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Context of assessment 

Competency should be assessed under a variety of water operating conditions. Evidence should be gathered by observing the individual preparing, operating and maintaining small watercraft and improvised flotation craft on a variety of tasks that address all the requirements of the critical aspects of evidence.

Specific resources for assessment 

The following resources should be made available:

  • watercraft, equipment and accessories
  • materials for constructing improvised flotation craft
  • equipment appropriate to the task
  • suitable training areas with access to flowing water.

Guidance information for assessment 

Information that will assist or guide assessment will be written during Phase II of the Review of the PUA00 Public Safety Training Package.

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 in the Performance Criteria is detailed below.

Small watercraft may include 

Motorised and non-motorised boats up to five metres in length capable of accommodating a maximum ten personnel and the operator and crewman

Motorised and non-motorised rigid and non-rigid inflatable craft

Powered by outboard motors of up to 40 hp

Motorised and non-motorised bridge and ferry construction craft

Environment include 

Under a range of water conditions

In enclosed waters including tidal rivers, protected harbours, non-tidal rivers, lakes and dams

In all weather conditions

By day or night and under illumination

Watercraft operations may include 

A float for people operating near, in or over water

Transport of personnel

Support to bridge, ferry and raft operations

Evacuation of personnel, stores and equipment

Searches, rescues

Resupply operations

Support to divers

Providing safety

Operating instructions may include 

Number and nature of personnel, including casualties to be transported

Types of general cargo and weights

Details of resupply or evacuation requirements

Access and egress routes

Details of ramps or launching points

Weather forecast

Tidal information

Potential hazards

Details of enemy threat and own force operations

Standard procedures may include 

OH&S regulations for water safety

Written and verbal orders and instructions

Procedures manuals, job guides, watermanship pamphlets and other publications

Manufacturer's handbooks, industry specifications and technical instructions

Statutory waterways rules

Hasty buoyancy /floatation calculations may include 

Number and weight of passengers within load limits

Weight of stores and equipment within load units

Freeboard when loaded within load limits

Equipment to be used may include 

Vehicles and equipment used to transport boats

Safety equipment that may be required under state/territory legislation or standard procedures

Items of stores and equipment

Appropriate rescue and recovery equipment

Personal protective equipment such as life jackets

Shore preparation may include 

Positioning vessel on ramp or launching site

Equipment checks

Assembly for launch

Loading of stores and equipment

Pre-start checks of engine

Improvised flotation craft may include 

Inflatable, rigid body or improvised watercraft constructed of timber, drums, canvas, inflatable tubes or any combination

Operating the watercraft may include 

Engine start-up procedures

Compliance with waterways rules and regulations

Moving at a safe speed consistent with the conditions

Navigating to destination

Hazards and environmental conditions may include 

Adverse weather


Fast flowing streams and near still waters



Floating and submerged debris and snags

Underwater hazards

Reduced visibility due to after dark operations

Fog or drizzle

Heat and cold

Time pressure

Contingency and emergency drills may include 

Action on capsize

Man overboard drills

Towing disabled vessels

Diagnosing and rectifying minor engine faults

Propeller replacement

Fire drills

Abandon ship drills

Use of oars/improvised oars

Use of improvised rudder

Use of sail

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Corequisite Unit/s

Co-requisite Unit /


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