The General Boat Licence is required for anyone who would like to drive a boat in NSW waters and go faster than walking pace, but we still receive lots of questions about the finer points of a getting a Licence.

We’ve crafted and refined our full-day course for over a decade to guide you effortlessly through all the RMS requirements, and we’re proud of our 99.5% average pass rate.

Who needs to have a Boat Licence?

A Boat Licence is needed for any person who wants to drive a boat in a recreational capacity faster than 10 knots, or 18.5km/h.

This speed isn’t very fast, and even a tinny can break this barrier easily. The full Licence will let you drive any boat of any length, so long as it’s not in a commercial capacity – you can’t run a business, or drive the Manly Ferry.

If you’re hoping to drive a PWC or Jet-Ski, you can get that in a single day Boat & Jet Ski/PWC Licence Coursewith ABC ,  or if you already have your Boat Licence, you can get a PWC Licence Upgrade.

Practical Boating Experience

As part of the course we’ll take you out on the water at one of our venues around Sydney, aboard one of our three ABC vessels, and guide you through the different boating techniques that you need to know.

We cover Low Speed Manoeuvres (you’ll drive forward and backward), Man Over-Board drills (with Bob the trained and certified safety buoy), High Speed Manoeuvres and more.

It’s a fun experience that takes a couple hours, and as we’re a RTP, or Recognised Training Provider, this removes the need for a practical logbook from the RMS.

The boating practical is typically the favourite section of the day, it’s a ton of fun!

How much does the Boat Licence Course cost?

General Boat Licence Prices (As per 1 Jan 2017)

Theory/Practical – 1 Student $265.00 ea
Theory/Practical – 2 Students $255.00 ea
Theory/Practical – 3+ Students $245.00 ea

How long does the Full-Day Course take?

Start times will be confirmed via Email and SMS before the course.

Courses typically run from 8am until 5pm, subject to seasonal changes.

Learn the NSW Boating Rules

There is a minimum amount of knowledge required about the laws and rules that cover use of Sydney’s waterways, and many students ask us on the phone “Where do I even start to learn?”

We might be a bit biased, but the perfect place to start is our pre-study guide that we’ve assembled through years of testing.

It only takes about 45 minutes at home to read the ABC pre-study guide before your course and it primes you on all the terms you’ll need out on the water.

While it’s tempting to link to the 120-page RMS Boating Handbook and call it done, we’ve taken the path less traveled to offer a custom pre-study guide that condenses all the knowledge you need to pass your exam and get your licence.

We’ll also use our guide as a reference in the classroom, where we teach you the rules and get them to stick through years of instructing students.

Pass the NSW Boat Licence Test

Once you’ve been primed with all the info you could need, we sit the multiple choice exam on paper in our closed-book classroom environment.

Our success rate is an incredibly high 99.5%, with two attempts included at the test on the day. If you don’t pass during the course, you can come back on any other course date and have another go – at no additional cost!

Lodge your Application at the RMS

Now you’ve completed your full-day course with ABC, just take your completed application form to any RMS or Services NSW branch, no appointments needed.

Simply enter the branch, select “Maritime” on the touchscreen for a numbered ticket, give them your form when called, pay the licence fee, and get your licence on the spot!

Get out on the water

You’re now qualified and equipped to take your vessel out on the water, congratulations!

If you want to hone your skills or learn any advanced boating techniques, please feel free to look at our personalised custom boating lessons and get expert hands-on training today.

What about the Junior Boat Licence?

The Junior Boat Licence is now included as part of the standard Boat Licence, and the requirements for it are the same as an adult licence.

Juniors are eligible to lodge their course paperwork when they are aged between 12 and 16 years of age; however they can complete their ABC course and lodge on/after their twelfth birthday.

The RMS website states that a Boat Licence holder between 12 and 16 must not:

  • Drive at a speed greater than 20 knots
  • Drive in any race, display, regatta, exhibition or similar operation
  • Drive any vessel, other than a PWC, at a speed of 10 knots or more:
    • Without the holder of a general boat driving licence who is 16 years of age or older being present in the vessel, or
    • Between sunset and sunrise, or
    • While the vessel is towing anyone.

If you’d like to read more about the restrictions please refer to the RMS.

Do I need to do a Boating Safety Course?

The Boating Safety Course was a requirement for getting a boat licence, however as of 1 July 2016 this is no longer necessary.

You’ll get everything you need to qualify for your licence with our standard NSW Boat Licence Course.