The waters of New South Wales are some of the best you can find in Australia, and they are great for all types of recreational boating.
But if you’re a first-time boater in NSW, know that you may need a boat licence.
When is a licence required?
The speed at which you plan to drive determines whether a boating licence is required or not.
Any person planning to drive a vessel at 10 knots (approximately 18.km/h) or faster on NSW waters for recreational purposes should get a boat licence.
A boat licence in NSW has two types: General boat driving licence and Personal watercraft (PWC) driving licence. Their validity duration range between one and ten years.
A boat licence must be carried whenever required, and must be presented to a Roads and Maritime Boating Safety Officer if requested for inspection.
You must also be able to present the boating licence should a NSW Police Officer or any authorised personnel require you so.
What is the difference between a general boat licence and PWC licence?
A general boat licence allows individuals who are 12 years and older to drive any vessel, except a PWC, at 10 knots or higher. If you have an unrestricted NSW driver licence, then you may be able to combine this with your general boat licence.
On the other hand, a PWC licence permits people aged 12 years and older to drive a personal watercraft at any speed.
A PWC is a vessel with a fully enclosed hull, which can be driven standing up, sitting, kneeling, and lying down. PWCs also have jet-powered surfboards.
A PWC licence also includes a general boat licence. This means obtaining a PWC licence will also grant you the right to drive any other types of vessel at 10 knots or more.
Those who already hold a general boat licence can apply to upgrade for a PWC licence.
What are the application requirements?
Below are the requirements for a general boat licence or PWC licence application:
- Show evidence of practical boating experience and pass a boating knowledge test.
- Completed general boat or PWC licence application form.
- Acceptable proof of identities like a valid Australian passport or a photo driver’s licence.
- Payment of boating licence fees. Concessional rates apply to applicants aged 16 years old and younger.
- Two passport photos for PWC licence applicants.
Applicants may get a 50% discount on the licence fee if you hold any of the following:
- NSW Pensioner Concession Card
- DVA Gold Card for Totally & Permanently Incapacitated (TPI), Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA), or war widow/er.
- Evidence from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs that 70% of the disability pension has been received.
How to apply?
Once you’ve completed all the requirements, you can start your boating licence application by going online and booking an appointment at NSW service website.
Select your preferred service centre and schedule of your appointment. Then, confirm your booking by entering your details.
At your appointment, make sure to bring all the requirements. Go to your chosen service centre and process your application.
Minors must submit their applications together with a parent or guardian, who must present an acceptable proof of identity, too.
Alternatively, if you acquired practical boating experience from a Recognised Training Provider (RTP), then you can post your application to:
Roads and Maritime Services
Agency Business Centre
PO Box 21
Parkes NSW 2870
You’ll receive a notification once your general boat or PWC licence has been granted.
A plastic licence card will be sent to you within a few days but you can still access you licence digitally in the interim by downloading the latest version of the Service NSW app.
With a boat licence in NSW, you’ll finally be able to enjoy the recreational boating and explore the state’s beautiful waters.
All that’s left to do now is to make sure that your boat or PWC is in great condition.
If you don’t have one yet, start shopping now for a vessel that fits your purpose for recreational boating. BoatFinance can help you get the best deal on marine finance.