The special permit is a restricted boat licence with conditions, available to children. Children aged at least 12 years but not yet 16 years can apply for a special permit with the consent of their parent or guardian.
Follow these steps to apply
Step 1: Prepare for the test
Prepare for the test by familiarising yourself with boating rules, regulations and safety equipment carriage requirements in the South Australian recreational boating safety handbook.
Preparing for the boat theory test.
Step 2: Provide evidence of age and identity
Go to evidence of age and identity to organise the identification documents.
Step 3: Prepare medical evidence (if applicable)
You must disclose any disabilities and any need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
If you have a medical condition to disclose, you will need to complete section one of the medical and eyesight certificate to operate a recreational vessel and obtain a medical and eyesight certificate from a medical practitioner. Book and attend an appointment with a registered optometrist or doctor. They will assess your condition, and whether you are medically fit to operate a motorboat.
Step 4: Complete an application form
Application for a special permit to operate a recreational vessel.
Your parent or guardian must also sign the application.
Step 5: Theory test
Take the completed application, evidence of age and identity and any medical documentation to any Service SA customer service centre and pay the appropriate fee to sit the special permit theory test. A booking is required for sitting the exam at any Service SA.
Preparing for the boat theory test
The customer service centre will complete the relevant sections of your application form and return the form to you. You'll need this form in order to undertake the practical test.
Step 6: Practical test
Practice operating a boat under the supervision of an adult (18 years or older) boat operators licence holder.
Preparing for the special permit practical test
You must pass the practical test within six months of passing the written (theory) examination. Contact a marine transport safety compliance officer to make an appointment. You will need to provide your own vessel which must be registered and equipped with the required safety equipment. The vessel should be between 3.1 and 6 metres in length and capable of a speed of at least 15 knots.
On the day of the test, you need to take your completed application for a special permit to operate a recreational vessel and your identity and medical (if applicable) documents. There is no fee for the practical test. Once you have passed the practical test the examining officer will sign and stamp the application form as evidence that you have passed the test.
Step 8: Lodge your application
Lodge your application at a Service SA customer service centre, with the following:
After the application is processed, you will receive a permit.
The special permit to operate a recreational vessel entitles the holder to take sole charge of a motorboat between sunrise and sunset under the following conditions:
- Where the vessel is less than four metres in length and has a potential maximum speed of 10 knots, the permit holder and any passengers on the vessel must be wearing an approved personal flotation device.
- Where the motor boat is four metres or more in length, or has a potential maximum speed greater than 10 knots, the permit holder must be under the direct supervision of a licensed operator who is at least 18 years old.
A permit holder is not permitted to:
- operate a personal watercraft - eg jet ski
- operate a boat that is towing a water skier - they may act as an observer if the operator is at least 18 years old.
On this site
Boat operators, licences and permits
Marine transport safety contacts
Service SA customer service centre