Boat Licences:

In the States and Territories of Australia there are different rules for operating a recreational boat, either fishing or general boating.

We have collected all the required information plus links to both help and ensure that you are correctly licenced in each of the states:

New South Wales

All applicants for an initial general or Personal Watercraft (PWC) licence must first complete the compulsory Boating Safety Course(s) before the licence test(s) can be attempted.


Applicants wishing to upgrade their existing general licence to a PWC licence are not required to provide evidence of practical experience and need only comply with PWC Licence Boating Safety Course and PWC licence test requirements.

The NSW Maritime Boating Handbook provides essential boating information for operating a vessel for recreational purposes on NSW waters. It is strongly advised that licence applicants read the contents of the handbook prior to completing the boating safety course and practical experience requirements.

Anyone who drives a PWC at ANY speed (even below 10 knots) must have a PWC license.

For more information visit the NSW Maritime Recreational Boating web site.


Licence testing was introduced on 3 December 2001 at all VicRoads Registration and Licensing Offices. This will improve safety on Victorian waters by ensuring that anyone operating a registered recreational boat has at least a basic knowledge of waterway rules and safe boat operation.

Any boat operator under the age of 21 years and all operators of personal water craft, irrespective of their age, are now required to have a recreational boat operators licence when operating in Victoria.

From 1 February 2003, all boat operators 21 years of age and more, will be required to hold a recreational boat operators licence.

Northern Territory

Pleasure craft do not require registration and operators are not required to hold a licence to drive a pleasure craft.

However, minimum requirements for safety equipment have been determined for most pleasure craft.

It is important that operators familiarise themselves with the Marine (Pleasure Craft) Regulations in regard to safety equipment requirements, including any exemptions that are applicable.

NT Marine and Fisheries Police and Marine Branch Boating Safety Inspectors conduct frequent patrols at boat ramps and on the water.

Copies of the Regulations and the Marine Act can be purchased from the Northern Territory Government Printing Office phone (08) 8999 4036, fax (08) 8999 4001.

Collision Regulations
The Collision Regulations apply to all vessels in Northern Territory waters which are navigable by sea-going vessels. Penalties for non-compliance applies – refer to the Marine Act and Collision Regulations.


Recreational Boat Licence
A licence is required to operate any boat which is powered by a motor of more than 4.5kW (over 6HP), is capable of speeds in excess of 10 knots and has a planing or non-displacement hull.

Applying for a Recreational Boat Licence
You can apply for a Recreational Boat Licence if you are 16 years or older.

To obtain a licence you must:
Demonstrate you are competent to navigate and manage a recreational boat by either undertaking an approved boat licence training course, or passing a practical boat licence test.

Provide satisfactory proof of identity.

A photographic motor vehicle driver's licence is acceptable as primary proof of indentity.
Pass an eyesight test

What do I need to know to pass a practical boat licence test?
Speed limits
The Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act, Regulation and related Standards as they apply to recreational boating (including the General Safety Obligation)
The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
IALA Buoyage System "A" used in Queensland waters

Further Information click here...

South Australia

A person wishing to operate any type of recreational boat fitted with an engine must have a boat operator's licence. This applies regardless of the size of the boat or its engine, or whether the engine is being used at the time.


Licences may be obtained by application at any Transport SA Customer Service Centre (or download the application for a Licence/Permit). Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and must also disclose any disabilities (download the Medical Certificate), including the need to wear spectacles or contact lenses (download the Eyesight Certificate). The holder of a current motor vehicle driver's licence is deemed to meet the eyesight and medical standards for a boat operator's licence. Where this licence is not available, a certificate by a registered optometrist or doctor will be required.

Proof of Identity

All licence applicants must provide proof of identity before sitting the licence examination. Any of the following are acceptable proof of identity:

A motor vehicle driver's licence or learner's permit;

A current passport;

A current bank, building society or credit union card that is personally signed;

A statement by a schoolteacher on official school stationery showing the student's name, home address, date of birth and personal signature of the student witnessed by the teacher.

Proof of Age

Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and verify their date of birth by producing a motor vehicle provisional driver's licence or learner's permit, a birth certificate, extract from a registrar of births, a passport or a naturalisation certificate.


A licence is require in Tasmania when operating a vessel with a motor of 4hp or greater.

As of 1st November, 2004 the way a person gets a motor boat licence in Tasmania has changed.  Prior to sitting the motor boat licence test an applicant will need to provide proof of boating experience and knowledge.   Further Information Here: