Unit of competency details

SFISHIP206C - Operate a small vessel (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to SFISHIP206B - Operate a small vesselEmployability skills and licensing statements added; minor rewording; template changes 21/Jul/2011
Is superseded by and equivalent to SFIVOP203 - Operate a small vesselUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages 20/Jun/2019

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 22/Jul/2011


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  07/Aug/2012 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency involves preparing, operating, maintaining, storing and securing small vessels within range of ready assistance and isolated from heavy boating traffic and navigational hazards. The operation is restricted to the basic use, manoeuvring and loading of the vessel, but not the interaction of the vessel with boat traffic or other hazards.

To assume control of an outboard powered dinghy, competence must be demonstrated in the unit SFISHIP207C Operate and maintain outboard motors.

Licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements may apply to this unit. Therefore it will be necessary to check with the relevant state or territory regulators for current licensing, legislative or regulatory requirements before undertaking this unit.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit has application to the safe operation of a small vessel as may be used in aquaculture, fishing operations or fisheries compliance work where a maritime regulatory certification is not required. For advice on certifications refer to the current TDM07 Maritime Training Package.

All enterprise or workplace procedures and activities are carried out according to relevant government regulations , licensing and other compliance requirements , including occupational health and safety  (OHS ) guidelines  and ecologically sustainable development  (ESD ) principles .

Equipment operation, maintenance, repairs and calibrations are undertaken in a safe manner that conforms to manufacturer instructions. Appropriate personal protective equipment  (PPE ) is selected, checked, used and maintained.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor


Prerequisite units 

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 performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare the small vessel for use

1.1. Factors  that may compromise vessel safety are identified and addressed in the work plan  and the operation of the vessel.

1.2. All essential safety equipment and spares  required for area of operation and intended work are checked for presence and serviceability.

1.3. Vessel is loaded according to manufacturer specifications.

2. Operate and maintain a small vessel

2.1. Vessel stability is maintained within safety limits by establishing a low centre of gravity and securing and stowing loads .

2.2. Vessel is operated safely at all times and in area of operation confined to limits  of restricted area.

2.3. Vessel is manoeuvred  safely using appropriate means to complete planned work tasks .

3. Store and secure a small vessel and equipment

3.1. Vessel is secured, maintained  and stored after use.

3.2. Perishables and fuels are stored to minimise wastage, spoilage, and environmental and fire hazards.

3.3. Unserviceable equipment and spares are repaired or removed for repair or replacement.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • making an adequate stability assessment prior to loading
  • manoeuvring small vessels using a range of propulsion techniques
  • minimising free surface effect.

Literacy skills used for :

  • interpreting manufacturer operational and loading specifications and the use-by-date of flares
  • interpreting manufacturer period of validity of pyrotechnics.

Required knowledge 

  • effect of a shift in cargo on stability
  • effect of load distribution on centre of gravity
  • impact of wind and current on sea conditions and the effect on dinghies
  • pre-departure safety checks of propulsion system, dinghy and safety equipment
  • vessel loading specifications and the location of this information.

Evidence Guide


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

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit 

Assessment must confirm the ability to:

  • ensure the vessel remains within operational limits
  • manoeuvre a small vessel whilst engaged in common tasks.

Assessment must confirm knowledge of:

  • effect of overloading and poor stability practices
  • effect of sea state on vessel performance
  • pre-operational checks of propulsion system, dinghy and safety equipment.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment is to be conducted at the workplace or in a simulated work environment.

Resources may include:

  • fully operational vessel powered by an outboard motor.

Method of assessment 

The following assessment methods are suggested:

  • observation of practical demonstration
  • practical exercises
  • project work
  • written or oral short-answer testing.

Guidance information for assessment 

This unit may be assessed holistically with other units within a qualification.

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. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Relevant government regulations , licensing and other compliance requirements  may include:

  • business or workplace operations, policies and practices
  • ESD principles, environmental hazard identification, risk assessment and control
  • OHS hazard identification, risk assessment and control.

OHS guidelines  may include:

  • appropriate workplace provision of first aid kits and fire extinguishers
  • codes of practice, regulations and/or guidance notes which may apply in a jurisdiction or industry sector
  • enterprise-specific OHS procedures, policies or standards
  • hazard and risk assessment of workplace and maintenance activities and control measures
  • induction or training of staff, contractors and visitors in relevant OHS procedures and/or requirements to allow them to carry out their duties in a safe manner
  • OHS training register
  • safe lifting, carrying and handling techniques, including manual handling, and the handling and storage of hazardous substances
  • safe systems and procedures for outdoor work, including protection from solar radiation, fall protection, confined space entry and the protection of people in the workplace
  • sea survival, fire fighting at sea and first aid techniques
  • systems and procedures for the safe maintenance of property, machinery and equipment, including hydraulics and exposed moving parts
  • the appropriate use, maintenance and storage of PPE.

ESD principles  may include:

  • applying animal welfare ethics and procedures
  • controlling effluents, chemical residues, contaminants, wastes and pollution
  • improving energy efficiency
  • increasing use of renewable, recyclable and recoverable resources
  • minimising noise, dust, light or odour emissions
  • reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
  • reducing use of non-renewable resources
  • reducing energy use
  • reducing interactions with native and protected flora and fauna, marine or land parks or areas
  • undertaking environmental hazard identification, risk assessment and control.

PPE  may include:

  • buoyancy vest or personal floatation device (PFD)
  • hearing protection (e.g. ear plugs and ear muffs)
  • non-slip and waterproof boots (gumboots) or other safety footwear
  • personal locator beacon or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
  • protective outdoor clothing for tropical conditions
  • safety harness
  • sun protection (e.g. sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses)
  • uniforms, overalls or protective clothing (e.g. mesh and waterproof aprons)
  • waterproof clothing (e.g. wet weather gear).

Factors  may include:

  • fire
  • operational limits
  • navigational hazards
  • sea condition:
  • chop
  • effect of current direction on wave height
  • wave height
  • visibility:
  • fog
  • low light conditions
  • rain.

Work plan  may include contingencies, such as:

  • ability to make safe havens:
  • alternative sources of propulsion
  • mother ship
  • shore
  • ability to remove water from the vessel by:
  • bailing
  • bilge pump
  • removing the drainage plug while planing
  • ability to use alternative steering.

Safety equipment and spares  may include:

  • alternative sources of propulsion and steering
  • anchoring devices
  • bailing or bilge pumping arrangements
  • bilge removal systems
  • communications equipment
  • distress signalling devices:
  • flares, flags, EPIRB and other methods
  • drinking water
  • fire extinguishers
  • PFD
  • tools and spare parts
  • torch and batteries.

Loads  may include:

  • cargo:
  • aquaculture nets and gear
  • diving equipment
  • fishing gear
  • oyster farm equipment
  • stock and feeds
  • catch or harvest
  • distribution and securing procedures
  • monitoring equipment
  • passengers.

Limits  may include:

  • distance from safe haven
  • distance from supervision
  • operational limits
  • proximity to dangers
  • range of fuel tank
  • sectors
  • speed limits.

Manoeuvred  may include:

  • alternative steering
  • using oars
  • using outboard motor.

Tasks  may include:

  • anchoring and sea anchoring
  • approaching a beach or landing
  • berthing
  • manoeuvring in confined areas or heavy seas
  • recovering person overboard
  • reversing
  • towing
  • unberthing.

Maintained :

  • by controlling:
  • cleanliness
  • corrosion
  • hull damage
  • hull fractures and fatigue.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

Vessel operations

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Competency field

Competency field