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Recreational marine licences

A recreational marine driver licence (RMDL) is required to operate a recreational boat. Recreational boats are used only for recreational purposes and are not for any type of business, trade or commerce. A licence is required to operate any recreational boat which is powered by an engine power greater than 4.5kW (over 6hp).

You need to have both a personal watercraft licence (PWCL) and RMDL to operate a personal watercraft (for example a jet ski).

Unlicensed drivers may operate a recreational boat or PWC if a licensed driver is onboard supervising and can take immediate control in case of trouble. Unlicensed drivers must not operate a boat or PWC while towing someone else by a line attached to the boat or PWC (for example someone waterskiing or riding a toboggan or tube).

If you hold a RMDL or PWCL and accrue 3 or more marine safety infringements or a drink driving offence while operating in Queensland, your licence may be cancelled or suspended.

How to get a recreational marine licence

You must be at least 16 years old and successfully complete an approved BoatSafe course to get a RMDL or a PWCL. Once you have your marine licence, you don't need to renew it—it is valid for life. 

To apply for a RMDL or PWCL after you've completed the Boatsafe course:

You will be issued with a printed confirmation statement verifying that you hold an RMDL or PWCL.

BoatSafe courses

BoatSafe is a competency-based course that covers theory and practical elements of operating a boat. Get more information about what to expect from a BoatSafe course—including information about flexible training delivery and recognition of prior learning.

Before attending the BoatSafe course, complete the Medical Fitness Disclosure Statement and give it to the BoatSafe training provider when you enrol. If you can't complete the Medical Fitness Disclosure Statement because you have a medical fitness concern, contact your local Maritime Safety Queensland office.

Find a BoatSafe training provider.

Get information about how to become a BoatSafe training provider.

Virtual licences and the marine licence indicator 

RMDL and PWCL are virtual licences—in Queensland you don't need to carry your licence with you. You can request a confirmation report outlining your licence details by verifying your licence online or at a Transport and Main Roads customer service centre (fees apply).

If you have either a RMDL or a PWCL you can get a marine licence indicator included on your Queensland driver licence when you renew or obtain a new driver licence at a Transport and Main Roads customer service centre (fees apply).

Interstate and overseas licences

Interstate marine licences

Valid recreational marine licences issued by another Australian state can be used in Queensland. We recommend you get a Queensland recreational marine driver licence (RMDL) and/or personal watercraft licence (PWCL) if you move to Queensland. You can convert your current and valid interstate licence to a Queensland marine licence at a Transport and Main Roads customer service centre. You will have to pay a one-off fee to get your licence.

If your interstate licence has expired you need to:

Overseas marine licences

If you are an international visitor with a recognised overseas licence or qualification from a marine safety authority you do not need to get a Queensland licence unless you intend to become an Australian resident. Read the recognised overseas licences or qualifications that can be used during your visit.

Australian citizens returning from living overseas and international visitors who intend to become residents must get an equivalent Queensland or Australian licence after 3 months of:

  • arriving in Australia or Australian waters
    or
  • getting a resident visa.

The 3 month period starts from your date of entry into Australia, or when an Australian resident visa or residency is granted. Your passport will be used to verify when residency was granted and the date of entry to Australia.

If you have an overseas licence or qualification and want to get a RMDL or PWCL in Queensland, contact an approved BoatSafe training provider for consideration and assessment under the recognition of prior learning process.

Hire and drive arrangements

Special arrangements are in place if you want to use a hire and drive ship (including hire boats and PWCs). Contact your local Maritime Safety Queensland regional office for more information.

Changing your licence details

You can change your licence details at any time by:

bOperates Monday to Friday 8am–5pm EST (GMT +10) excluding public holidays. Local call charge in Australia. Higher rates apply from mobile phones and payphones. For international callers phone +61 7 3045 0985 this service operates Monday to Friday 8.30am–5pm EST (GMT +10) excluding public holidays.

Last updated
29 July 2014