Licence to Thrill or License To Spill? Getting Qualified on the Water

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

If you are thinking of getting a tinny, (or indeed something bigger!) one of the first things you should be doing is getting your boat license.  Boating accidents have been in the press a lot over the last few years as our waterways get ever busier, so being properly qualified and trained is a must for keeping you and your family safe on the water.

As Chris has his license, so far he’s done all the driving (apart from a few put puts under 10 knots) but I can’t put up with this for much longer. I want to be able to take the boat out on my own when he’s not around….perhaps with a few girlfriends, child free, for a relaxing champagne picnic on a remote beach…

Anyway, since I’m currently setting about fulfilling all the requirements to get my license, I thought I’d share them with you on the blog. All the information is available on your state maritime authority website, however, I thought it might be useful for me to provide a quick list of the basics to give you the gist of the requirements.  I’ll be reporting back on my progress of becoming a fully licensed tinny skipper, in the meantime, what are your thoughts on the requirements? Do you think is it too easy to get a licence or are the requirements already stringent enough?  The list below is based on NSW Maritime licensing requirements:

  • Getting your license won’t protect you from irresponsible boaters, but it will make you a safer and better informed skipper, less likely to put yourself and others in danger
  • The speed at which you want to go determines the license. You don’t need a license to operate a boat at under 10 knots and for this reason most boat hire companies have motors which can’t exceed this (there is some controversy regarding whether people should be able to take boats out at all without licenses).There are 4 types of license in general:
  •  General Licence: for people 16 and over who want to drive a vessel at over knots (excluding PWC’s; otherwise known as jet skis)
  • General Young Adult Licence:  A restricted licence for those aged from 12 to under 16 years
  • PWC Licence: Jet ski licence
  • Young Adult PWC license: Jet ski licence for those aged 12 to under 16 years
  • There are a few simple steps you need to complete to get your licence:
  1. Complete the compulsory General Licence Boating Safety Course and for PWC applicants the PWC Licence Boating Safety Course;
  2. Provide evidence of practical boating experience; and
  3. Successfully undertake the general licence knowledge test and for PWC applicants the PWC licence knowledge test.

Licence to Thrill?

 There are several ways you can achieve all of the above and these are detailed on the authority website. However, in short, you need to complete a safety course either online, by purchasing a DVD or by completing the course via a recognised training provider (RTP). You can then take the knowledge test. Practical experience must be gained either via an RTP or by registering your practical experience, gained under the supervision of a qualified skipper, in a Maritime Authority issued log book . When all three components are complete you can apply for your licence.  Log books and handbooks can be downloaded from the website or picked up free from a maritime authority office.

Useful Links

NSW Maritime

A NSW Based RTP (others are also listed on the maritime site)

You're The Skipper

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