ARE YOU LEGAL ?
Having a Jet Ski Licence isn't about forking out some cash to the government. It's about making sure that you and others on the water have a basic understanding of the rules, to ensure the safety of all users.
Jet Ski Training and Skill Development
There are also several privately run, dedicated marine licence training facilities operating across multiple states in Australia. If you are new to recreational marine pursuits these are highly recommended to provide an essential understanding of how to safely use our waterways.
ARE YOU LEGAL?
Australian states and territories require operators of marine craft with an engine power above a specified threshold to be licensed. While this varies, it is usually around 4Hp (which is less than you will find on most tinnies).
Jet Skis, which are categorised as a Personal WaterCraft (PWC), are required to be registered and meet regulatory safety standards (See below for NT exceptions).
Getting a Personal WaterCraft Licence will involve becoming proficient in the basics of boat handling, for which courses and training are available. There will also be a written test, which in some cases can be completed on-line. In some states a PWC endorsement is required in addition to the available boating licence.
Just as a license and knowledge of applicable rules is required to operate a car, motorcycle or aircraft - our waterways have rules, regulations and licensing requirements to ensure the safety of all those on the water.
While the specifics may vary between states, the basics of Marine Safety are pretty much universal. The primary intent of licensing is to achieve a level of consistency, so that everyone is on the same page.
A fundamental component being an understanding of the "Road Rules of the Water" so that operators are not an unintentional and unnecessary hazard to others.
In Australia the minimum age to obtain a marine licence is 16 years. Some states do provide a 'Provisional Licence', similar to a 'Learners Permit' which may be obtained earlier.
As mentioned, for Jet Ski operators, the various state and territory Marine Licenses usually require a specific PWC 'endorsement'. That endorsement will almost certainly require additional training, proficiency testing and expense.
The links below go to official state and territory landing pages that can provide further links, explanations, documents and/or PDFs detailing the various Licence and Registration conditions, costs and procedures.
Once you have obtained a licence in one state or territory, this would need to be transferred within 90 days when you relocate your residence to another state. The same will apply to Jet Ski registrations.
Important Note for Northern Territory Residents and Visitors
While the Northern Territory does not require Jet Ski registration or an operator's licence for NT residents, there are safety guidelines that must be adhered to. Failure to comply will result in fines being issued. Visitors to the NT bringing their own Jet Skis must be licensed and registered in their state of origin - no free rides in the NT for 'out of towners' ;-)
Please Note: The NT information is provided 'as is' and could well be subject to change without notice - it was correct at the time of writing.
Digital Jet Ski Licence Note:
Digital licenses are available in some states, via an App. in other states the Jet Ski rider/operator must carry their PWC licence at all times - I mention this because, quite obviously, riding a Jet Ski is not really a smartphone friendly pursuit. You may be able to safely stow it while your are riding, it's the, 'trying to use it' that could be problematic. Particularly when your hands are cold and numb.
For those still determined to go that way, take a look at some waterproof smartphone options . And don't forget a phone case with a tether or lanyard, while you are at it. It won't matter whether smartphone is waterproof, if you can't dive in after it.
If you cross state borders while on a 'Jet Ski holiday' for example, be aware that in some states, you may be fined for breaching the law if you are not carrying your PWC Licence at all times, while operating your Jet Ski.
While all states will honour a licence (and registration) from another state, while you are visiting - Play it safe and always use the links provided above to check the basic licence conditions of the state where you wish to ride - before hitting the water.
Also, regulations change from time to time, so don't assume that just because it was ok last visit, that it still is. The saying goes: "In the eyes of the law, ignorance is no excuse".
Thanks for taking the time - Be smart, enjoy your sport, stay safe and lookout for others!
Incept Date: Wizard - 200326
Last Update: Wizard - 200401