Are you planning to add a boat to your life? Chances that you will have to register it in your state are high. Most states have mandatory boating laws that require boat owners to acquire boating license and safety certification for specific boats or all boats in general. For most states, safety certification would be enough. Only the state of Alabama has boating laws that requires boat owners to acquire actual boat license.
In other states, acquisition of boating license is determined by the speed of the boat in question. All recreational powered vessels driven on NSW waters at 10 knots or above must have a boating license. 10 knots is a very high speed, and for most boats, at this speed they start to plane – slightly rising above the water level.
Types of boating licenses
Persons aged 16 years and above should acquire a General License for any vessel driven at this speed (10 Knots) or above. This license lasts for either one, three, or five years.
The General Young Adult license is required for persons of 12 to below 16 years of age. This License type is restrictive as the young adults are to be accompanied by at least one holder of a General Licence if they are to drive at 10 Knots and they should not exceed 20 knots. Also, it restricts them from participating in any race. This license lasts for only one year. It expires at the date of the applicant’s birthday.
PWC (personal watercraft) driven on any waters regardless of the driving speed must have a PWC license. In this case, the driver of a PWC must have passed the license test even before attempting the PWC test. This license lasts for either one, three or five years.
Young adults should acquire the Young Adult PWC license in order to be allowed to operate a PWC. Just as with the General Young Adult License, at least one holder of a PWC License must be present if the young adult wishes to drive the Personal watercraft at speeds above 10 knots.
How to Get a Boating license
Applicants wishing to obtain the initial General or PWC license must do the following:
1. Acquire safety certification by completing the boating safety course for General License or PWC license.
2. Have practical boating experience and provide evidence for the same.
3. Undertake and pass the knowledge tests for that specific license type, either for the General license or for the PWC license. This test is undertaken at any Maritime Service Center or Motor registry.
Licenses are not issued for applicants who fail to satisfy the requirements or follow the above order. Licenses are usually issued in paper form before the applicant can go for the plastic card license.
Holders of the General license wishing to upgrade their license to a PWC license will not be required to show proof of practical boating experience. However, these applicants must acquire safety certification for PWC license and pass thee knowledge test for PWC license.
Other essential information regarding boating licenses can be obtained in the Maritime Boating Handbook. Also, the procedure for the acquisition of a boating license can be obtained from the Maritime Boating Handbook. Applicants are therefore advised to go through the Handbook before attempting the boating safety test and the knowledge test as required when applying for a boating license.