Boat Licensing Requirements

Congratulations on your decision to buy a boat and take advantage of all the enjoyment that boating has to offer. But before you get onto the water in your new craft you need to get a boat license. As with motor vehicles, a license is required to operate a boat or watercraft and is a condition with most secured boat finance.

This article is designed to give you an overview of boat licensing requirements and we advise you to check the specifics for your state, the type of vessel and licence required. Links are included at the end of this article.

Boat Licensing Queensland

A licence is required to drive a boat with an engine power of 4.5kW (6hp) or greater.
Two types of licences:

  • Recreational Marine Licences (RMDL)
  • Personal Water Craft Licence (PWCL)

You don’t need a car licence to be eligible to apply for a boat licence
The first condition in applying for a licence, is to pass an approved BoatSafe course. These courses include both practical and theoretical elements of boating and are offered through approved training organisations. Refer for providers.

Apply for a licence at any transport and motoring customer service centre and some QGAP offices.

  • Bring the completed application form which you can download at the website
  • Proof of your identity
  • Your BoatSafe certificate

New South Wales

In NSW, the speed that you drive a boat determines the licence requirements. A boat licence is required for boating at 10 knots (18.5 km/h) or greater and for all personal watercraft.
Licence Types

  • General Licence: aged over 16 years, live to drive any vessel except PWC
  • Young Adult General Licence: a restricted licence for 12-16 year olds.
  • PWC Licence: in NSW a special licence is required to drive a PWC and to be eligible, you must first pass the general licence test. You can upgrade from a General licence to a PWC licence
  • Young Adult PWC Licence: a restricted licence for 12-16 year olds to drive PWC.
    Applying for a Licence
  • Complete the appropriate boat safety course
  • You will require evidence of practical boating experience
  • Pass the knowledge test

For all the details go to


In Victoria, if you want to operate a registered vessel then you will require a marine licence.

Licence Types

  • General Marine Licence: aged over 16 years, live to drive any vessel except PWC
  • Restricted Marine Licence: a restricted licence for 12-16 year olds.
  • PWC Endorsement: this is required and additional to general licence, for PWC operators.
  • Getting a Marine Licence
  • Download the Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook
  • Contact VicRoads to arrange arrange your licence testing booking.
  • Or pass a course by an accredited training provider

For further details


Surf Live Saving Tasmania conducts course for PWC Licenses and Recreational Boat Licenses in conjunction with Marine and Safety, Tasmania.

For more information go to

South Australia

In South Australia, it doesn’t matter the size of the boat or its engine, you will require a boat operator licence to drive it.

Licence Types

  • Boat Operators Licence: aged over 16 years
  • Special permit for 12-16 year olds.
    Getting a Marine Licence
  • Have all your age and identity documentation and any medical evidence appropriate
  • Lodge your application form
  • Pass the boat licence theory exam

This can be organised at Service SA Customer Service Centres

Western Australia

A Recreational Skippers’ Ticket is required in WA to skipper a registrable vessel powered by a 4.5 kwp/6hp engine.

Restriction to tickets apply to 14-16 year olds

Theory and Practical Tests are included in the Recreational Assessment and Training courses which are provided by recognised training providers.

For all the details, visit

Once you have passed your licence testing and have your boat licence, you will want to gain experience in varying weather conditions and on varying waterways. And possibly some assistance with specific tasks such as mooring and berthing.

Many boat sales dealers will have recommendations for boat skills training operators and your Jade representative can assist with links to further your boating skill and expertise.

Contact your Jade Boat Loans representative to discuss Boat Licensing further