Licence Facts

Who needs a Boat Licence?

A Boat Licence is needed for any person who wants to operate any size recreational vessel at 10 knots or more, that is 18.5 km/h; that is half the plowing mode of a standard vessel. A tinny with a 6Hp outboard will certainly exceed this.

A PWC Licence is needed for any person who wants to operate a Jetski, at any speed, no matter the speed.

Roads and Maritime Services licence fees, July 2023

Similar to a driver's licence, you will also have to pay a state government fee for a 1, 3, 5 or 10-year licence to Roads and Maritime Service Centres to obtain your Boat and/or PWC Jetski licence.

Concession fees apply to pensioners, disabled, carers and young adults under 16 years.

RMS Licence Fees

RegularBoat Licence onlyBoat + PWC Jetski
1 year69210
3 years185460
5 years292720
10 years5211,043
1 year35105
3 years93230
5 years146360
10 years261522

Types of NSW Licence

There are two type of licence:

  • General boat driving licence
  • PWC (Personal Water Craft) Jetski driving licence

General boat driving Licence

This licence permits people aged 12 years and over to drive any vessel (except a PWC) at 10 knots or more.

PWC driving licence

A PWC driving licence includes a general boat licence. A PWC (Personal Water Craft) driving licence is required for people aged 12 years and over to drive a PWC. If you hold a general boat driving licence, you can upgrade to a PWC driving licence at any time. A PWC licence holder is able to operate a vessel with a fully enclosed hull that may be driven standing up, lying down, sitting astride or kneeling, and includes jet powered surfboards.

Licence holders aged from 12 to under 16 years

The holder of a general boat driving licence or PWC driving licence who is aged from 12 to under 16 years of age must not do any of the following:

  • Drive at a speed greater than 20 knots
  • Drive in any race, display, regatta, exhibition or similar operation
  • Drive a PWC between sunset and sunrise (this rule applies to all PWC driving licence holders)
  • Drive any vessel, other than a PWC, at a speed of 10 knots or more:
    • Without the holder of a PWC driving licence who is 16 years of age or older being present on the PWC, or
    • While the vessel is towing anyone.

Exceptions may apply in accordance with an aquatic licence.

After the Course - Lodge your Application at the RMS

Now you've completed the course, take your completed application forms; plus, your Practical Boating Logbook, complete by a person who has their Boat or PWC Licence of more than 3 years to any RMS Service Centre in NSW. Show your identification, and pay for a 1, 3, 5 or 10-year fee.

RMS will then give you an interim paper licence; and you may drive a vessel on the same day. The plastic card will be mailed.

You must have your licence on you at all times

You must carry your licence when doing anything for which the licence is required, and produce it for inspection when requested by a Roads and Maritime Boating Safety Officer, NSW Police Officer or any other authorised officer.

Owners of vessels must be able to identify the person driving their vessel at all times, even if the owner is not onboard at the time.

Licence holders and owners of vessels should promptly notify Roads and Maritime of any changes to personal details or address, or penalties may apply. Licences sent to the wrong address can be cancelled and a reinstatement fee charged.

If your licence is not renewed within five years of its expiry date you will need to complete the entire licence process again.