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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

Valid recreational marine licences issued by other marine safety authorities in Australia can be used in Queensland while they are current. We recommend you get a RMDL and/or PWCL if you move to Queensland—only current interstate licences will be accepted for conversion to a Queensland marine licence. If your interstate licence has expired you need to:

  • renew your licence with the relevant interstate marine safety authority
  • meet Queensland’s requirements for a new RMDL or PWCL and apply.

Maritime Safety Queensland also recognises overseas recreational licences in some situations.

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
20 July 2014