In the wake of a number of recent tragic boating accidents in the state, NSW has brought in tougher regulations for obtaining a recreational powerboat licence.
Those applying will now have to show they have practical on-water boating experience and complete a Boating Licence Practical Logbook, or attend a registered training provider course.
“This practical component is in addition to the two existing theory tests applicants need to sit,” said Ports and Waterways Minister Joe Tripodi.
“NSW already has one of the strongest boat licence test systems in Australia and people wanting a licence need to demonstrate a comprehensive level of boating safety knowledge.
But just as you need practical experience to get a licence to drive on the roads, the Government believes the same principle should apply to boating.”
Obtaining a general boat licence now involves three steps: the new practical component, completing the Boating Safety Course, either on-line, by CD or at a training course and a theory test which can be undertaken at a NSW Maritime office.
Licence applicants can gain practical boating experience by:
• undertaking a minimum of three trips in a powered vessel under the guidance of an experienced skipper and completing the Boating Licence Practical Logbook, or
• attending a practical course conducted by a Recognised Training Provider.
To complete the logbook which contains a checklist of practical, on-water experiences, a trainee must be accompanied by a licensed skipper who then verifies that the specific activities have been undertaken.
As of the end of April 2009, there were just over 473,000 boat licence holders in NSW – an increase of nearly 4.5 per cent on the previous year.