If you are going to be driving a boat that will travel at 10 knots (18kms/hr) or more then you will need to get a boat licence.
Getting your boat licence is a four step process, similar to getting your car drivers licence.
Study the boating safety manual
You can pick one up at your nearest NSW Maritime office (click here for locations) or you can call them and ask them to post you one – easy! NSW Maritime 13 12 36 then press 2 to speak to a customer service representative. Ask for the Boating License Handbook. Or, you can download the PDF’s
Take the boating safety course
This can be done online at NSW Maritime (cost $11) or attend a seminar near you (click here for locations). Bookings are essential. An alternative to the NSW Maritime seminars are to take a Boating Safety Course conducted by a NSW Maritime accredited provider – more information can be found on the Boat Courses Page
Take the licensing exam
Once you have completed the course, head to your nearest RTA or Maritime Centre to sit the exam (40 multiple choice)- cost $28 for a boat licence and $43 for a PWC licence. Once you have successfully completed the exam you will be presented with a “certificate of attainment”. This is NOT your licence. It is just the slip that certifies your completion of the theory and exam.
Get your licence
You will need to take the Certificate of Attainment along with photo ID to your nearest Maritime authority to get your licence. Cost is $42 for one year or $100 for three years) Young adult (under 16yrs) and concession (pension) licences are also available.
For more information visit the NSW Maritime Recreational Boating web site. There are many organisations that conduct the theory seminar in a class room environment. The exam follows immediately after the theory so all the information is fresh in your mind. Once you have passed you will be given your Certificate of Attainment. Many of these organizations will also offer you practical boating experience as part of the 1 day Course.
NOTE: Practical experience is now legally required to obtain a boating licence. A practical boating course should be undertaken or you can complete a competency log book.
More information on how to comply with practical boating experience requirements can be found on NSW Maritime Boat Licence section.
Recognition of licences is available to visitors from interstate or overseas.
1. your usual place of residence is outside NSW, and
2. you have not been in NSW continuously during the three months preceding the date on which you are driving the vessel, and
3. you hold and carry a valid current licence or permit to drive a vessel of the type you are driving issued under the legislation of another State, Territory or country.
If any of the above conditions cannot be met and you wish to drive a power-driven vessel at 10 knots or more or a PWC regardless of its speed on navigable waters in NSW, you must hold a current NSW General Licence or PWC Licence. You are required to comply with NSW boating laws while boating in this State. That includes carrying your licence when boating.