Do I Need A Boat Licence in NSW?

In NSW, there are two types of boat licenses, a general boat driving licence and PWC (personal watercraft) driving licence.

A general boat driving licence is required if you drive a powered vessel for recreational purposes at a speed of 10 knots or more.

A PWC driving licence is required to drive any vessel with a fully enclosed hull such as a jetski.

You must carry your licence and be able to produce it to any authorised officer if requested.


If you are a licence holder aged between 12 and 16 years of age, the following restrictions apply:

  • Speed limit of 20 knots
  • Must not participate in races, exhibitions or similar
  • Reach a speed of 10 knots or more without a licence holder onboard who is 16 years or older (General boat licence only)
  • Reach a speed of 10 knots or more between sunset and sunrise
  • Reach a speed of 10 knots or more while towing another vessel

General and PWC boat driving licences can be issued for 1, 3, 5, or 10 years.

How To Get A Boat or PWC Licence in NSW

You will need to provide evidence of practical boating experience and pass a knowledge test before making an application.

After you have sucessfully completed these requirements, you can lodge your application in person from a service centre or registry. Make sure to provide the following:

  • evidence of practical boating experience
  • evidence that you have passed the knowledge test
  • identification
  • licence fee
  • younger applicants must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian with identification
  • two passprt size photos (PWC only)

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