You must hold a current boat operator's licence to operate a recreational vessel fitted with an engine, regardless of the size of the vessel or its engine, or whether the engine is being used at the time.
Follow these steps to apply for a recreational boat operator's licence.
Step 1: prepare for the test
Prepare for the test by familiarising yourself with boating rules, regulations and safety equipment carriage requirements.
Practise for your boat licence test online.
Step 2: prepare your evidence of identity documents
You must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a boat operator's licence. Go to evidence of age and identity to organise the identification documents for your application.
Children at least 12, and not yet 16 years of age may apply for a restricted licence known as a special permit to operate a recreational vessel.
Step 3: prepare medical evidence (if applicable)
You must disclose any disabilities and any need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
If you hold a current motor vehicle driver's licence, it is deemed that you meet the eyesight and medical standards for a boat licence.
If you don't have a driver's licence and have a medical condition to disclose, you will need to 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.
Complete section 1 of the medical and eyesight certificate to operate a recreational vessel.
Step 4: pass a boat licence theory test (if applicable)
You must pass this test unless you are exempt
- either you have an interstate boat operator licence or an appropriate qualification.
A booking is required for sitting the exam at any Service SA customer service centre between 9am and 4.15pm Monday to Friday. You will need to provide evidence of identity and pay the appropriate fee before sitting the test.
For more information see Prepare for the test.
Step 5: lodge the application for a boat operator's licence
To be issued with a South Australian recreational boat operator's licence:
- complete the application for a boat operator's licence
- lodge it at a Service SA customer service centre, with: