Boat Licences (NSW)

For details on the various boating licences and fees, please check the NSW Maritime web site for details at

When is a boating licence required?

It is important to know that it is neither the size of a vessel nor the power of an engine which determines whether a person needs to be licensed - it is the speed at which a boat is driven.

Except in the case of a PWC any person who drives a mechanically propelled vessel on NSW waters at 10 knots or more must have a boat driver's licence.

Note: 10 knots is the speed at which an accelerating boat will start to plane - that is rise up and skim along on top of the water instead of ploughing through it.

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

Types of Licence
From 1 October 2006 anyone wishing to sit for a general or PWC licence test must first complete a compulsory boating safety course. Please visit for more information.

a. General Licence
A licence for people aged 16 years and over to drive any vessel except a PWC at 10 knots or more.

b. General Young Adult Licence
This is a restricted licence for those aged from 12 to under 16 years.
A Young Adult Licensee must:
* be accompanied by the holder of a General Licence when travelling at 10 knots or more
* never exceed 20 knots
* never travel at 10 knots or more after sunset and before sunrise
* never travel at 10 knots or more when towing an aquaplaner
* never tow a water skier
* not drive in any race, display, regatta or exhibition without prior consent from the NSW Maritime Authority
* never operate a PWC unless the holder of a Young Adult PWC Licence

c. Personal Watercraft (PWC) Licence
A special licence is required to ride a PWC regardless of what speed it is driven. To obtain a PWC licence, the test for a General Licence must be passed first. Additional test questions must then be passed to upgrade to a PWC licence. Persons who hold a general licence can upgrade to a PWC licence at any time by passing these additional questions.
Click here for essential information on PWC operations.

d. Young Adult Licence
For those aged from 12 to under 16 years who wish to drive a PWC. The same conditions which apply to the General Young Adult licence apply for this licence.

e. Commercial Qualifications
Special certificates of competency are required to take charge of vessels used for commercial purposes. To obtain these qualifications you will need to have good records of your boating experience, complete approved training courses and meet minimum medical and eyesight standards. Further details can be obtained by contacting the NSW Maritime marine certification section on (02) 9563 8767.
Drivers of commercial vessels operating at 10 knots or more must have their certificate of competency endorsed with either a General or PWC Licence.


Boating Safety Course (BSC) General $12.00 $12.00
Test Fee (including young adult) $30.00 $46.00
One Year Licence $53.00 $159.00
One Year Concession Licence $26.00 $79.00
One Year Young Adult Licence $23.00 $77.00
Under 6 months Young Adult Licence $12.00 $38.00
Three Year Licence $131.00 $323.00
Three Year Concession Licence $63.00 $159.00
Five Year Licence $235.00 $640.00
Five Year Concession Licence $113.00 $315.00

Other Licence Fees
Duplicate Licence
Reinstate Licence
PWC Photos
Licence Test Fee (PWC upgrade)

Details and fees are subject to change and should be confirmed with Roads and Maritime by viewing their web page at or telephone 13 12 56.

Need More Information?
Further information is available by contacting the NSW Maritime Authority as follows:
* Info Line on 13 12 56 (8.30am - 4.30pm, 7 days a week) or (02) 9563 8557 for areas not covered by NSW telephone exchange
* Your local NSW Maritime Authority Centre
* Visit the NSW Maritime Authority web site or email