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Each year, Adelaide has 2 major boat show events where you can attend a boat licence training session, then sit the test to gain your licence. They are:
The SA Boating & Fishing Show – held at Adelaide Showground each year in October
The Adelaide Boat Show – held at Adelaide Showground each year in June
What to expect at the Boat Show
The Boat Licence Sessions are usually held twice over each day of the weekend and consists of an hour of theory being presented, followed by the test completed under examination conditions in a room set aside in the exhibition hall.
Often the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard and SA Sea Rescue Squadron will alternate in holding the sessions and fees are to be made to them at their stand on the day (no need to book in advance of the show).
There are two sets of fees involved in getting a boat licence – the fee at the boat show for the tuition and examination, then another at Service SA to have the licence issued.
Both the Motorboat Operators Licence and the Special Permit to operate a motorboat can be completed and once you’ve past the test (fingers and toes crossed that you do!), you will be issued a stamped certificate to take along to your nearest Service SA office. With the pleasure of handing over the issuing fee, your new shiny licence will be issued there and then.
For a special permit to be issued to a person between 12 and 5 years, they will need to arrange a further practical test with a marine safety officer, within 6 months of completing the test.
Pros and Cons
This is how I got my boat licence, and there are some pro’s and cons about doing it this way. It’s a quick, easy way to get your licence, and after a few hours of swotting over the SA Recreational Boating Safety Handbook (available at the boat show, Service SA or online) and taking in the information at the theory session like a sponge, I was good to go.
But with no experience at all on the water, was I really that safe to jump straight into the exhibition hall next door, buy the first boat I love the look of, and off I go… probably not!
It’s a great one hour theory session that focuses on the answers to questions likely to come up in the test and then you can decide, depending on how much experience you already have, where you go from there!
Just don’t do what I did by not putting that theory into practice and realise 2 years later I’d forgotten everything, other than what water actually looks like.
Also check out the Adelaide 4WD & Adventure Show
The SA Boating & Fishing show held in October, is also in conjunction with the Adelaide 4WD & Adventure Show. This is a world class event with a range of activities, fishing forums with expert advice, special guest appliances, demonstrations, bush camp stage, competitions, kids entertainment and hundreds of exhibitors inviting you into their world to share their outdoor passion with you. It’s a great family day out and definitely recommended.
Check out our post How to get a Boat Licence in South Australia for other ways to get a licence.
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