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Rules and safety tips for young Boat and PWC licence holders.

Restricted Boat or PWC Licence

It's exciting and fun to get behind the wheel of a boat or drive a jetski. If you are 12 to under 16 years old living in NSW you can apply for a Boat Licence or PWC Licence which allows you to drive these vessels. But, it comes with some restrictions.

The age which young people can obtain a boat or PWC licence varies by State. Check your local State Maritime Authority website for more information.

Licence holders under 16 years of age must not drive a boat or PWC:

At a speed greater than 20 knots (37 kilometres per hour)
In any race, display, regatta, exhibition or similar operation.
Between sunset and sunrise.
While the vessel is towing anyone.

If driving a vessel other than a PWC at a speed of 10 knots or more:

Must have someone with a general boat driving licence who is 16 years of age or older present in the vessel.
Must not drive at these speeds between sunset and sunrise.
Must not tow anyone.

If driving a PWC at a speed of 10 knots or more:

Must have someone with a PWC licence who is 16 years of age or older present on the PWC.
Must not drive at these speeds while towing anyone.

NOTE: Exceptions may apply if you have an aquatic licence or an approved PWC Hire and Drive tour operation. Refer to Roads and Maritime for more information.

    • If you cant swim learn before going boating.
    • Be weather wise. Always check local weather conditions before departure.The internet is a good source of weather information. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.
    • Use Common Sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also, be respectful of advisory signs, buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety. Be respectful of others on the water and avoid confrontations with other boaties who are not acting responsibly.
    • Leave a float plan. Always be sure to let someone else know your boating plans. This should include where you're going and how long you're going to be gone.
    • Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.
    • Be prepared for boating. Wear a lifejacket and appropriate clothing. Bring a hat, sunglasses, water, food and suntan lotion for your day out on the water.
    • Be aware of the effects of boating fatigue.This is a phenomenon caused by exposure to multiple external factors such as the sun, glare, wind and waves which can dull your senses and impair judgement affecting your ability to operate a boat. Boater's fatigue doesn't just affect the Skipper. Everyone on the boat can experience it after a few hours on the water. While boater's fatigue can't really be prevented, taking frequent breaks (anchoring or going ashore) and drinking plenty of water can help minimize the effects. Let someone else operate the boat if you're feeling too fatigued and avoid alcohol. Boater's fatigue exaggerates the effects of alcohol.
    • Abide by the steering rules and follow distance off rules especially in congested areas and in narrow channels.
    • Get professional maritime training.Training gives people the skills and information they would not be able to acquire from hands-on experience alone. People with formal training have a deeper depth of knowledge and confidence,allowing them to make better informed decisions for keeping passengers, crew and the boat safe.

    A parent  or legal guardian is required to accompany you to the course and consent to the young adult obtaining the boat or PWC licence by signing the guardian declaration on the licence application provided at training venue by the College. Acceptable parent/legal guardian  proof of identity may include a NSW  driver licence, a passport or a birth certificate. The parent/legal guardian item must be sighted and recorded on the participants licence application form by the College trainer. On completion of the licence ID and documentation processes, which is completed at the beginning of theory sessions, parent/guardians may opt to leave the young adult in the care of the College Trainer. Parents/guardians must collect the young adult at the time designated by the trainer on the day. College trainers are required to complete police and working with children checks. All duty of care is taken by the Trainer and the College to ensure their safety and security. Guardian responsibilities for young adults are also detailed in a confirmation email sent to participants on completion of the booking/enrolment process.

    Take the documentation the College gives to you to a Roads & Maritime Service Centre, along with your ID, pay the licence fee and then you'll be issued with a temporary paper licence over the counter which can be used until your licence card is sent to you in the mail. Your parent or legal guardian must accompany you to the Maritime Service Centre also providing at least one form of primary ID such as a current driver licence, passport or a birth certificate.

    NSW Roads & Maritime may require young adult licence applicants to have an eyesight test. An eyesight test can be undertaken at a Roads & Maritime Service Centre if required.

    Pre-departure checklist


     Action Check
     Pre run engine, checking cooler system
    checkbocicon  Steering, engine controls and fluid check
     Re-fuel boat
    checkbocicon  Fuel filter check
     Trailer lights, tyre pressure and wheel bearings
    checkbocicon  Electrical (navigation lights)
     Oil level check
    checkbocicon  Batteries charged and connected
     Check bilge and pumps
    checkbocicon  Weather report and tides


    Keys for boat, safety lanyard/kill switch
    checkbocicon Leave a float plan with someone responsible
    Bungs firmly in
    checkbocicon Enough fuel for the trip
    Mandatory safety equipment
    checkbocicon Rubbish bags
    If going offshore login with your local volunteer marine rescue
    checkbocicon Mobile phone


    Equipment Check

    GPS, charts of area and navigation equipment (pencils ruler etc)
    checkbocicon Torch and batteries
    Medical kit with seasick medications
    checkbocicon Tow rope and extra lines
    checkbocicon Boat hook
    Suncreen, hat, sunglasses, extra clothing, warm blanket
    checkbocicon Food and water
    Spare bungs,  basic tool kit,rags spare parts, belts, hose clamps, strong tape
    checkbocicon Depth sounder
    checkbocicon Fire blanket and fire extinguisher
    Mask and snorkel
    checkbocicon Life buoy or flotation
    Auxillary engine and fuel line ( if going offshore)

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