What boat license will I need for my trip?

Looking to take a voyage off the coast of Australia? Well, before you sail off into the sunset, there are probably a few things to consider. Many boats will require you to have a certification or a licence to show that you are competent enough to handle the boat. This might leave you wondering, what boat licence will I need for my trip?

To quell any concerns, we have compiled a handy guide that will cover what boat licences you will require when you are out on Australian waters. As each state and territory has its own regulations for boat licences, we have broken the various areas into sections below.

Boat licences in NSW

If you intend to operate a boat that will be travelling more than 10 knots, then you will be required to obtain a boat licence in NSW. It’s a multi-stage process and is not dissimilar to a driver’s licence.

You will want to pick up a boating safety manual and familiarise yourself with the various regulations you will need to understand. Once you are ready, you will have to pay $11 for an online boat safety course or find a seminar in your area to attend. This is an essential part of obtaining a licence and can’t be skipped.

Next, you will need to sit a boat licencing exam at your nearest Maritime Centre. The exam costs $28, and upon completion, you will receive a certificate of attainment.

You will also need some hands-on experience in operating a boat, so if you have no experience, you will have to take a practical boating course too.

The last stage is obtaining your boat licence, which you can get from your nearest maritime authority if you bring your certificate. Note: it will set you back $42.

However, if you already hold a valid boat licence, you will not need to acquire a new one provided that your residence is outside of NSW, you haven’t been here for more than three months, and you currently hold a valid boat licence from another state, territory or country.

Boat licences in Queensland

If you intend to operate a boat with a motor that exceeds 4.5kW or 6 HP in Queensland (or 4 HP in Tasmania), you will need a boat licence.

To obtain a boat licence in Queensland, you will have to complete a BoatSafe Practical Course. Once you have passed the exam, you will receive an interim licence, and your permanent one will be posted to you.

The permanent licence will be valid for three years, and you’re not required to carry it while on the water. However, if requested by the authorities, you must present it within 14 days. Please note that a boating licence alone is not enough if you intend to operate a boat commercially.

Boat licences in Western Australia

If you intend to drive a boat with a motor that runs more than 6 HP in Western Australia, you will need to obtain a Recreational Skipper’s Ticket. To get your hands on one, you will have to be assessed by an authorised assessor. This is a general assessment and examines how well you know the boating regulations, as well as how you handle the boat in the water.

Some exemptions allow you to forego the assessment, such as using previous qualifications which fall under the Skills Recognition Scheme. Also, if you hold an interstate licence, WA will recognise it for 3 months, meaning you won’t need to obtain the Recreational Skipper’s Ticket.

Boat licences in Southern Australia

Southern Australia is quite cut-and-dry when it comes to boat licences – if your boat has a motor of any size, you will need a licence to operate it. Even if you don’t intend to use the motor on your boat, you still need a licence.

Getting a boat licence in Southern Australia will require you to sit a theory examination, pass it, and lodge an application form. If you already have a valid boating licence in another state or territory, it is valid provided you have not been in Southern Australia for more than three months.

Boat licences in Victoria

Victoria requires all operators of boats with motors to hold a valid boat licence, regardless of power output. To obtain the licence, you will need to sit the Victoria Recreational Boating Safety Exam. It is recommended that you study the handbook before sitting the exam.

Once you pass, you will receive a certificate that can be given to VicRoads, who will give you a valid boat licence.

The waters around Australia are one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. With the right preparation and a valid licence, you can hire a boat from Sydney Boat Hire. Contact us today for more information.