Marine Area Command (NSW Police)

Job Description

Police Officers have a responsibility to protect public life and property. They undertake extensive on-the-job training and perform a diverse range of duties, including: maintaining public order and safety; being first responder to emergency calls; investigating and prosecuting criminal offences; enforcing traffic law; securing and examining crime scenes; and dealing with violent offenders or people under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

You can specialise in other roles while working for NSW Police, such as working in specialist commands.  These specialist roles operate within a Specific Command or Unit.  Specialist commands are exciting avenues you can take in progressing your career within the NSW Police Force.  The Marine Area Command mission is to pursue excellence in maritime law enforcement and the coordination and control of marine search and rescue.  The NSW Police Marine Area Command's (MAC) also commonly referred to as the "Water Police" has responsibility which extends to all coastal area's of NSW to 200 Nautical Miles out to sea. From the earliest days of settlement, the state has required a dedicated water based policing service. The services provided by MAC are similar to those carried out by land-based police, including crime prevention and detection,search and rescue. Police vessels and personnel are strategically located at important commercial and leisure ports with the base at Balmain on Sydney Harbour.   You can find the water police at Broken Bay, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour, Botany Bay, Port Kembla and most recently Eden. Some remote country waterways are serviced by their Local Area Commands.  

Water Police hold the distinction of being the first civilian form of policing established in NSW.  In 1789, one year after the colony was founded, Governor Phillip created a 'Row Boat Guard' to patrol Sydney Cove for smugglers and convicts attempting to pass letters to ships anchored in the harbour.   By 1830 an independent Water Police Force was operating. It was merged, with all other Police units, into the NSW Police Department in 1862. In the late-19th century, the Water Police entered the 'modern era' of combustion engines with two steam launches, the 'Bileola' and the 'Argus'. These were used for nearly 35 years before they were replaced with motor launches.

With the introduction of the NSW Police Marine Area Command in July 1999, equipment includes 11 sea going craft and a number of smaller boats, all with electronic navigational aids. MAC comprises, including operational water police, marine intelligence unit, marine crime prevention officer, divers, detectives and the marine operational support team (MOST).   With an increasing amount of commercial shipping and the immense expansion in the number and type of leisure craft on our waterways, the Water Police are being called on more and more to drive down marine crime.

The Marine Area Command duties include:

  • Policing the waterways of NSW to reduce and prevent marine crime
  • Protecting life and property, both at sea and on inland waters
  • Active patrolling of NSW’s inland and coastal waterways
  • Overseeing aquatic events and controlling spectator craft
  • Coordinating search and rescue off the coast of NSW
  • Carrying out diving operations and underwater searches for missing persons and evidence
  • Maintain and service police launches
  • Addressing marine crime prevention issues
  • Safety and compliance reinforcement
  • Intelligence gathering and conducting operations relating to criminal activities such as drug smuggling or importation
  • Policing functions in state of the art vessels on NSW water

Read about all other Specialist Command Roles here


All Australian Police Officers must hold Australian citizenship or permanent residency and must also pass an extensive application process including background checks, examinations and a series of health, fitness, and psychological tests.

NSW Police applicants are required to attend Charles Sturt University for a period of six months, then after graduation, fulfill one year as a Probationery Constable.  Recruits at the academy can nominate five (5) preferred locations for placement. NSW Police endeavor to employ officers at the preferred location, but the NSWPF must first meet operational field requirements, which will influence final placement.  Officers should be prepared to work anywhere within NSW. 

As a Probationary Constable, you will be partnered with a Field Training and Assessment Officer (FTAO) for the first couple of months. The FTAO will be your guide and assist you through everyday tasks. An FTAO has undertaken a specific training course and is aware of the study requirements of Probationary Constables.  Your ongoing training will be monitored by a local Education Development Officer (EDO) who assists with all aspects of your work and study. 

Progression into Constable and other senior or specialised roles usually come about through a formal qualification and merit is based on practical experience and appointment to specialist training courses conducted by NSW Police.

The rank of Senior Constable is only available to a Police Officer (Constable) who has served a certain number of years in the Police Force.  

Once you reach the rank of Senior Constable you are eligible to apply for a role in the Marine Area Command providing you can meet the eligibility requirements, pass relevant examinations and undergo specialised further training.  To become an Officer within the Marine Area Command, you must meet a set medical and fitness standards and have competency in operating water based craft.  


  • Assertive
  • Calm
  • Communicator
  • Ethical
  • Honest
  • Interpersonal
  • Initiative
  • Open-minded
  • Resilient
  • Responsible
  • Secure

Key Skills

  • Be flexible, show initiative and respond quickly when situations change
  • Keep control of own emotions and stay calm under pressure and in challenging situations
  • Model the highest standards of ethical behaviour
  • Act on reported breaches of rules, policies and guidelines
  • Show commitment to achieving challenging goals
  • Adapt well in diverse environments
  • Tailor communication to the audience
  • Clearly explain complex concepts and arguments to individuals and groups
  • Monitor own and others’ non-verbal cues and adapt where necessary
  • Write fluently in a range of styles and formats
  • Identify and respond quickly to customer needs, working towards mutually satisfactory outcomes
  • Complete own work tasks under guidance, within set budgets, timeframes and standards
  • Research and analyse information and make recommendations based on relevant evidence
  • Be willing to seek out input from others and share own ideas to achieve best outcomes
  • Take responsibility and be accountable for own actions
  • Understand delegations and act within authority levels
  • Identify and follow safe work practices, and be vigilant about their application by self and others
  • Be alert to risks that might impact the completion of an activity and escalate these when identified
  • Use financial and other resources responsibly, showing awareness of financial delegation principles and processes
  • Understand compliance obligations related to using resources and recording financial transactions
  • Apply practical skills in the use of relevant technology
  • Make effective use of records, information and knowledge management functions and systems
  • Contribute to developing team capability and recognise potential in people
  • Recognise performance issues that need to be addressed and seek appropriate advice
  • Assist team to understand organisational direction and explain the reasons behind decisions

Future Prospects

After completion of your initial three year tenure, you might be eligible to make a lateral move into a specialty post, such as a Dog Unit, PolAir, or the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit where you can work as a Detective, Training Officer, a member of the Marine Area Command, or many other specialised positions.

Transferable skills can be utilised in specialist roles within NSW Police such as;


You may like to think about advancing in this career, moving into senior roles  such as;


Transferable skills which can be used in positions following a career in NSW Police.

Former NSW Police officers have transitioned into a range of roles including TAFE facilitator, Client Services Officer, Analyst, Investigator, Compliance Manager, Truck Driver, Fire FighterCrime Prevention Manager, Correctional OfficerAccount Manager, Security Manager, Consultant, Safety Training Facilitator, Trainer & AssessorAged Care Coordinator, Area Coordinator and Managers in a variety of sectors.