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.
If you hold a current commercial qualification like a coxswain or master certificate you can operate a recreational vessel fitted with an engine.
For a 12 month trial period from 23 July 2014 the operator of a kayak fitted with an electric motor manufactured with a maximum capacity of no more than 150 newtons (33.7lb thrust) may be granted exemption from holding a boat operator's. For more information see
You must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a boat operator's licence. Children at least 12, and not yet 16 years of age may apply for special permit to operate a recreational vessel.
Go to evidence of age and identity to organise the identification documents for your application.
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 operator's licence.
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 46.3 KB. This form must be completed by a medical practitioner or optometrist. Book and attend an appointment with a registered optometrist or doctor taking this form to complete this process.
The boat licence theory exam confirms that you know the rules and safety requirements of operating a motorboat.
The exam consists of a series of multiple choice questions, which are based on information in the Recreational Boating Safety Handbook.
The first section of the exam contains questions which must be answered correctly before proceeding with the remaining questions.
The theory exam can be done at any Service SA Customer Service Centre between 9.00 am and 4.15 pm Monday to Friday.
For metropolitan and including Gawler bookings, visit your nearest Service SA Customer Service Centre in person.
In the country no booking is required.
You will need to provide evidence of identity and pay the appropriate fee before sitting the exam.
You do not need to sit the exam if exempt or you hold an appropriate qualification or current interstate boat licence.
Your licence will be issued to you on the spot.
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