Boating in South Australia

How to get a Boat Licence in South Australia

Disclosure: We love how our audience helps us grow. This post may contain affiliate links. Please check our disclosure policy for more information.

There are a few different options for getting your boat licence in SA. Some are just theory, whereas there is also the option to get more practical.

In comparison, it is much more straightforward to get your boat licence in South Australia than other Australian states. Firstly, one licence covers all, so there is no need to complete one licence for boating, and another one for Personal Water Craft (jet skis), if you wanted both.

How to get a boat licence in South Australia, South Australia Boating Licence, Adelaide,
Image credit: SA Boating Licence website

Also, a boat license in South Australia never expires! Unless you do something really wrong!

As stated by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, “You must hold a current boat operator’s licence to operate any type of recreational vessel fitted with an engine, regardless of the size of the boat or its engine, or whether the engine is being used at the time.

Children aged between 12 and 16 years can apply for a special permit to operate a recreational vessel in South Australia with the consent of their parent or guardian”.

Most options available require a test paper to be completed to prove your knowledge of boating. This is a multiple choice test, with a mandatory section that needs to be passed 100%.

Looking to have a practice before sitting the test? Check out this link for SA boat licence practice test questions at On Deck.

The SA Recreational Boating Safety Handbook is a compulsory read for anyone wanting to pass the test. It is full of key, relevant information for every boatie. This is available free online at the link above, or at a Service SA centre or boat shows held throughout the year.

Selected Just For You:
Seamanship Certificate from the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard

How to get a boat licence in South Australia

The South Australian Government has approved ways of completing the test and gaining a boat licence. It needs to be gained in one of the following ways:

  • Service SA Centre – one of the most straightforward and quickest ways to complete the theory test and gain a licence
  • Boat Shows – most boat shows during the year will have theory boat licence sessions held by either the Coastguard or SA Sea Rescue
  • Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia  – this is a practical course on a powerboat and is a great choice for someone with little to no experience of handling a power vessel
  • Regional Training Sessions – Marine Officers often visit various locations during the year to provide theory sessions and an opportunity to sit the test paper. These are often driven by local communities so keep a look out in local papers or Facebook pages. They are also great fundraising events for local clubs.

Once you have completed the test in any of the above ways, you will receive confirmation from the issuer. You can take this confirmation to your nearest Service SA centre, fill in the application form,, pay the fee and be issued with your licence there and then (as long as there are no issues with the application form, such as medical reasons).

Selected Just For You:
The practical way to get a SA Powerboat Licence

You do not need a drivers licence to apply for an SA boat licence.

Which option you choose to get your boat license in SA is entirely up to you. Just have in mind your own previous experience. An option could be to sit the test at Service SA, walk out with a licence, buy a boat… How will you know how to drive it? Will all that theory really make sense out on the water? Just a couple of questions to think about.

A great idea that is now available in Adelaide is boat tuition offered by B.A. Boat Hire and Port Adelaide Boat Hire. This allows you to put all that new learnt theory into practice under the safe supervision of a skipper. What a confidence builder!

It’s a great life, but you only have one!











Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *