Skip links and keyboard navigation

Boat and personal watercraft licences

You must have a marine licence to operate a boat that has an engine power greater than 4.5kW. You don't need to carry your licence with you on the water, but you must have proof of identity with you. You can verify your licence online.

In Queensland, a boat (also known as a Queensland regulated ship) must only be used for recreational activities, or for school, surf lifesaving or community activities—not for business, trade or commerce. To operate a personal watercraft, you must have a recreational marine licence and a personal watercraft licence.

If you have a supervisor with a valid marine licence on board, you can operate a boat or personal watercraft without a licence. The licensed supervisor must be able to take immediate control in case of trouble.

You can only operate a boat or personal watercraft that is towing a person—for example, someone water skiing or riding a tube—if you have a valid marine licence.

Certain rules apply if you want to drive a hire boat—contact your local Maritime Safety Queensland office to find out more.

How to get a marine licence

Once you have your Queensland marine licence, you don't need to renew it—it is valid for life.

To get a Queensland marine licence, you must:

When you enrol in a BoatSafe course, you must complete a medical fitness disclosure statement (PDF, 50KB) and give it to the BoatSafe training provider. If you are concerned about your medical fitness, tell your BoatSafe training provider who can give you information about processing marine licences with medical conditions.

Once you successfully complete your BoatSafe course, the training provider will give you a statement of competency. You will need this as part of your application for a Queensland marine licence. Your statement of competency for completing the BoatSafe course is only valid for 6 months from the date of issue.

Apply for a marine licence

You can apply for your marine licence at your nearest transport and motoring customer service centre or QGAP office that provides marine licensing services—please call to confirm before visiting.

What to bring with you

You will need to:

Confirmation of your marine licence

You will get a printed marine licence indicator receipt showing you have a recreational marine driver licence and/or personal watercraft licence.

If you have a valid Queensland driver licence, we will send you a new licence in the mail with your Queensland marine licence type/s printed on the back.

If you don't have a valid Queensland driver licence, we will send you a marine licence indicator card.

How to verify your marine licence

Verify your marine licence

If you do not have proof of your marine licence, you can apply online for a marine licence verification or for a replacement licence in person at your nearest transport and motoring customer service centre or QGAP office. Please call to confirm they provide marine licensing services before visiting.

You will need to pay a fee for the online verification service and replacement licence.

Interstate marine licences

You can use a valid recreational marine licence issued by another Australian state or territory in Queensland if all of the following apply:

  • you are at least 16 years old
  • your marine licence is current
  • you operate within the conditions on your interstate marine licence.

If your interstate marine licence has expired, you need to:

  • renew your licence with the issuing state

or

You can convert your valid interstate marine licence to a Queensland marine licence at a transport and motoring customer service centre or QGAP office that provides marine licensing services—please call to confirm before visiting.

To do this, you will need to:

You will get confirmation of your marine licence.

Overseas marine licences for visitors

When you visit Queensland from another country, you may be able to use your overseas marine licence if it is a current recognised overseas licence (PDF, 618KB).

If your recognised overseas marine licence is not in English, you will need a translation from an accredited National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters translator and must keep this with your licence.

If your overseas marine licence is not recognised, you will need to contact an approved BoatSafe training provider to assess recognition of prior learning and then apply for your marine licence.

Moving to Queensland from overseas

If you are planning to become an Australian resident or citizen, or are an Australian citizen returning to Queensland from living overseas, you must get a Queensland marine licence within 3 months of:

  • arriving in Australia or Australian waters

or

  • getting a resident visa.

If you have a current recognised overseas marine licence (PDF, 618KB), you can convert this into a Queensland marine licence at a transport and motoring customer service centre or QGAP office that provides marine licensing services, after obtaining a Statement of Completion from an approved BoatSafe provider (via course completion or RPL)—please call to confirm before visiting.

To do this, you will need to:

You will get confirmation of your marine licence.

Change your address

Keep your address or personal details up to date. You can do it online, in person or by post.

You’re the skipper, you’re responsible

On Queensland waters, boat drivers and owners must make sure the boat is:

  • safe
  • operated safely
  • appropriately crewed.

You must have the correct safety equipment and know how to use it—this is your general safety obligation.

Last updated
1 September 2016

Page feedback

  1. How satisfied are you with your experience today? *