This page will provide you with the information you need to know regarding marine licences and vessel registration before you head out for a safe day on the water.


Anyone operating a powered recreational vessel on Victorian waters requires a marine licence. Licences are administered by Vic Roads – this includes sailing boats and paddle craft with a motor.

Jet ski riders require a marine licence with personal watercraft (PWC) endorsement.

Interstate licence holders

A person who holds an interstate marine licence, restricted marine licence, or PWC endorsed marine licence may operate the equivalent vessel in Victoria for a period of three months. If the visitor’s stay extends beyond three months or the visitor does not have an equivalent interstate marine licence for the vessel they wish to operate, a Victorian marine licence must be obtained.

Note: Interstate visitors are required to observe Victorian regulations including speed restrictions and the wearing of lifejackets at certain times. An exemption applies for visiting vessels for the carriage of safety equipment.

If you are an interstate marine licence holder but have resided in Victoria for more than three months, you must convert your interstate marine licence to a Victorian marine licence. If you have evidence of your equivalent interstate marine licence, you will be exempt from sitting the test run by VicRoads or an accredited training provider.

To convert your marine licence, please bring your existing interstate marine licence and appropriate evidence of identity, to a VicRoads customer service centre (fees apply).

Hire and drive vessel

A hire and drive vessel means a vessel (other than a recreational vessel) that is intended to be let for hire and includes vessels hired on a trailer and operated away from the place of hire, including those only capable of a speed less than 10 knots.

The Marine Safety Act requires all masters to hold a marine licence (and any relevant endorsement) to operate a hire and drive vessel capable of a speed greater than 10 knots (18km/h).

A PWC endorsement is required to operate a hired PWC. The hire boat owner will brief clients on the operating requirements of the vessel being hired. All operators, masters and passengers must comply with lifejacket requirements.

Our hiring a charter vessel page provides advice about what to ask before booking a charter to ensure the vessel is safe, operating legally and the crew is qualified.

Commercial exemptions

A person who holds a valid Certificate of Competency, that is not subject to any conditions relating to the person’s health or fitness, is exempt from the requirement to hold a marine licence. However, if the person wishes to operate a personal watercraft they will need to obtain a marine licence and a PWC endorsement.

The definition of a valid Certificate of Competency is as follows:

  • Coxswain Grade 2 NC
  • Coxswain Grade 1 NC
  • Master (Inland waters); Master <24m NC
  • Master <35m NC
  • Mate <80m NC
  • Master <80m NC
  • A notice in writing given to a person by the Safety Director declaring that the person’s qualification, certificate or experience is equivalent to a qualification or certificate referred to above.

Other approved qualifications

Below is a list of certificates of competency issued by Australian maritime regulatory authorities. The holders of these certificates are not required to sit the VicRoads marine licence test.

  • Coxswain
  • Master Class 5
  • Master Class 4
  • Mate Class 4
  • Master Class 3
  • 2nd Mate Class 2
  • 2nd Mate Class 1
  • Chief Mate Class 2
  • Chief Mate Class 1
  • Boatman / Motor Boatman
  • Mate – Steamship
  • Full Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate
  • Small Warfare Watchkeeping Certificate
  • Skipper Grades 1 to 3 (RAN Certificate).

Licences are only issued for a period for 12 months or five years.

Marine licence

You can either take a course or study by yourself to get your licence.

PWC endorsed licence

Riders of personal watercraft (PWCs), such as jet skis, must obtain an endorsement on their licence in order to operate this type of vessel. You must be 16 or above to apply for this endorsement.

A PWC endorsement may not be issued as a standalone licence. If an endorsement is required, a marine licence must first be obtained.


A restricted licence is required by any person over the age of 12, but under the age of 16, who is operating a powered recreational vessel.

Holders of a restricted marine licence may act as master of a recreational vessel only if:

  1. operating during daylight hours between sunrise and sunset;
  2. operating at speeds of less than 10 knots; and
  3. not operating a vessel that is towing a person, another vessel or object.

You cannot get a PWC endorsement on a restricted licence. Once a restricted master turns 16 years old, the restricted marine licence automatically becomes a marine licence.

To help you prepare, take these practice tests here – marine licence and PWC endorsement practise tests.


We do not regulate the fees charged by accredited training providers.

Applicants are encouraged to research the fees charged by the various providers, and to be clear about what is covered by those fees.

Applicants are also encouraged to check the provider’s cancellation and refund policy before booking a course.

Course feedback

All currently accredited training courses meet the requirements of the Marine Licence Training Standards. The standards also summarise other requirements that a training provider will need to meet to attain training course approval.

To provide feedback on an accredited training course please contact us.


If you need an interpreter for the marine license or PWC endorsement course, talk to your accredited training provider.

If you’re taking the tests at VicRoads and need an interpreter in any language or help with hearing impairment, call 13 11 71.

If you have poor vision, you need to get an eyesight certificate from a qualified eye doctor, medical practitioner, occupational therapist, or eye specialist to apply for a licence.

If you have a disability or medical condition that affects your ability to operate a vessel, contact VicRoads for additional information or testing requirements. Also, inform VicRoads if you develop a new medical condition that might affect your ability to operate a vessel.

For more details about getting a marine license, call VicRoads on 13 11 71.

If you have questions about competency certificate exemptions, contact ST Vic at 1800 223 022.

Applicants can find existing Accredited Training Providers using this map search or from the list below:


Adam’s Boat Course

Ferntree Gully, Ringwood, Wantirna, Lilydale, Sunshine, Greensborough, Coburg & Heidelberg
Adam Sontag
Phone: 0422 993 844
Website: Adam’s Boat Course

Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast
Mick’s Boat Course – Mick Egan
Phone: 0419 952 444
Website: MJETC

Warragul, Morwell, Traralgon, Sale, Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance
Gippsland Boat Training – Ryan Ware
Phone: 0428 336 557
Website: Gippsland Boat Training

Sorrento, Rosebud, Mornington, Frankston, Berwick, McCrae and private group courses anywhere on the Mornington Peninsula
Adam Sontag
Phone: 0422 993 844
Website: Adam’s Boat Course

Mildura and all surrounding areas upon demand
Sunraysia Boat Licence Training – John Menhennett
Phone: 0400 159 372
Website: SBLT

Wodonga and all surrounding areas upon demand
Wodonga Marine Training – John De Kruiff
Phone: 0422 993 844
Website: Adam’s Boat Course

Sunshine, Somerton and all surrounding areas upon demand
Adam’s Boat Course – Daniel Velja
Phone: 0422 993 844
Website: Adam’s Boat Course

Australian Boating College (ABC) – Licence Training

Frankston, Heidelberg, Lilydale, Carrum Downs, Pakenham, Kinglake and Whittlesea 
Rod Smith
Mobile: 0407 755 537

Warragul, Sale, Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Leongatha, San Remo, Hastings, Rosebud
Bob Wealthy
Mobile: 0417 524 005

Bendigo, Benalla, Echuca, Kyneton, Mildura, Seymour, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Wangaratta, Wodonga & Yarrawonga 
Rubens Monaco
Mobile: 0477 555 335

John McCormick
Phone: (03) 9555 5177

Daniel Ryan
Mobile: 0408 369 664
Website: Australian Boating College

Australia Volunteer Coast Guard (AVCG) – National Maritime Academy

Marine licence courses (boat and PWC), VHF marine radio courses

Ballarat, Bendigo, Braeside, Carrum, Frankston, Geelong, Hastings, Lake Hume, Queenscliff, Safety Beach, Sandringham, Shepparton and Werribee

Lynette Thomson
Head Office – Jetty Road, Sandringham VIC 3193
PO Box 64, Sandringham Vic 3191
Phone: (03) 9598 9092
Mobile: 0414 395 253
Website: Australian Volunteer Coast Guard

Boat Licence Course

Melbourne and all regional areas

Matthew Wren
PO Box 2903
Taren Point NSW 2229
Phone: (02) 9524 5678
Mobile: 0422 438 732
Website: Boat Licence Course

Construction Training Group

12 Kingsley Close
Rowville VIC 3178
Phone: (03) 9763 5449
Fax: (03) 9763 8429
Website: Construction Training Group

Construction Training International (CTI)

Peter Patterson
PO Box 311
Riddells Creek VIC 3431
Phone: (03) 5428 6790
Fax: (03) 5428 6317

First Aid Management & Training Centre

Suite 6, 476 Canterbury Road
Forest Hill 3131
Phone: 9894 1013
Fax: 9894 1019
Website: First Aid Management

Get Your Boat Licence (Seaton Training Pty Ltd)

Metro and regional areas including: Ballarat, Bendigo, Cranbourne, Diamond Creek, Echuca, Kilmore, Maryborough, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Taylors Lakes, Williamstown, Woodend
Office: 3/13 Trantara Court East Bendigo 3550
Phone (03) 5433 6223
Mobile: Kevin Francis 0405 437 204
Website: Seaton Training Pty Ltd

Go Workplace Training

Hallam, Spotswood and Geelong
Daniel Bramhall
Head office
76/78 Hallam South Rd, Hallam Vic 3803
Phone: 1300 82 92 95
Website: Boat Licence Melbourne

The Learning Professionals

Geelong, Colac, Ballarat, Melton, Phillip Island area, Sandringham area, Mildura, Wodonga area, Wangaratta, Mansfield, Cobram
Joanne Cornelius
Mobile: 0466 090 085
Website: The Learning Professionals

Life Saving Victoria

Phone: 03 9676 6950
Website: Life Saving Victoria

Marine Training Services

17 Swanston Street
Geelong VIC 3220
Phone: (03) 5229 5432
Website: Marine Training Services

Metropolitan and country Victoria
Mark Zakrzewski
4 St James Parade
Elsternwick VIC 3185
Phone: (03) 9596 1375
Website: Boat Courses

Victoria Harbour Docklands
John Sanders
Phone: 0422 002 872
Website: Boat School

Mornington Peninsula, South-East Gippsland, Phillip Island
Marlon Quinn
Phone: 0412 082 171
Website: Watermaarq

Gippsland and all surrounding areas
Val Young
Phone: 0418 381 304

Nick Disney
Phone: 0478 185 166
Website: Marine Training Services

Peninsula Boat Training Pty Ltd

Marine licence courses (boat and PWC), VHF marine radio courses

Phone: 1300 VIC BOATS for a suburb near you
Website: Victorian Boat Training

City central: Albert Park, Moorabbin/Highett, Chadstone
Phone: 0413 432 264
Website: Melbourne Boat Training

North and eastern suburbs: Ringwood, Chadstone, Doncaster, Epping, Coburg
Phone: 0413 432 264
Website: Melbourne Boat Training

Peninsula: Frankston, Dandenong, Mornington, Safety Beach, Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento
Phone: 0413 432 264
Website: Peninsula Boat Training

Western district: Melton, Laverton, Williamstown
Phone: 0413 432 264
Website: Melbourne Boat Training

Neil Searle
Phone: 0481 882 055
Website: Geelong Boat Training

Rob Timmers
Phone: 0428 513 511
Website: Gippsland Marine Training

Keresten Williams
Phone: 0455 660 372
Website: Wodonga Boat Training

SEAMEC – TAFE Gippsland

Lakes Entrance and Gippsland
Brad Lancaster
Phone: 1300 133 717

Technical Advanced Training

Aydin Tat
Suite 15, 11-17 Pearcedale Parade
Broadmeadows VIC 3047
Phone: (03) 9309 0059


All powered vessels are required to be registered, and the operator of a registered vessel is required to hold a Marine Licence.

Any boat with an engine capable of being used for propulsion in Victorian waters must be in a seaworthy condition and registered with VicRoads every 12 months. The trailer used to tow your vessel will need to be registered separately.

Rescue Boats are exempt from the registration fee, but must have registration renewed annually.

Information on vessel registration fees is available from VicRoads.

The owner of a registered recreational vessel must ensure the registration label for that vessel, issued by VicRoads on behalf of Safe Transport Victoria is fixed and remains fixed in an obvious position on the outside or upper part of the vessel.

The ID Mark must be displayed on both sides fwd of midships on the hull and must be 150mm min height, with lettering of a contrasting colour.

PWC’s can be 100mm in height, but also must be in contrasting colours to the hull.



Boat registration in Victoria does not include any insurance cover. We recommend that boat owners and operators consider taking out cover with an insurance provider.

Kayaks and canoes powered by an electric motor of no more than 1 horsepower or 750 watts and which cannot operate at more than 5 knots are exempt.

The following conditions still apply to this exemption:

Speed Restriction: These vessels must not exceed a speed of 5 knots. This translates to approximately 9.26 kilometers per hour, akin to a brisk walking pace.

Mandatory Safety Equipment: The following safety equipment is mandatory when operating these vessels on specified waters:

For Inland Waters:

  • A bailer (unless the vessel has an electric or manual bilge pumping system)
  • A bilge pump for vessels with non-airtight bilge or underfloor compartments
  • An alternative means of propulsion (paddle or fitted pedal mechanism)
  • A waterproof buoyant torch
  • Either a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch or a personal locator beacon (PLB)

For Enclosed Waters and Coastal Waters within 2 Nautical Miles of Shore:

  • A bailer (unless the vessel has an electric or manual bilge pumping system)
  • A bilge pump for vessels with non-airtight bilge or underfloor compartments
  • An alternative means of propulsion (paddle or fitted pedal mechanism)
  • A waterproof buoyant torch
  • Either a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), a marine radio, two hand-held orange smoke signals, or two hand-held red distress flares

For Coastal Waters More than 2 Nautical Miles from Shore:

  • A bailer (unless the vessel has an electric or manual bilge pumping system)
  • A bilge pump for vessels with non-airtight bilge or underfloor compartments
  • An alternative means of propulsion (paddle or fitted pedal mechanism)
  • Two red flares, two orange smoke signals, and one rocket parachute flare
  • A compass
  • A marine radio
  • A registered emergency positioning indicating radio beacon (EPIRB)
  • A waterproof buoyant torch

Lifejacket Regulations: All occupants must wear the appropriate lifejackets at all times when the vessel is in motion:

  • Inland Waters: Type 1, 2, or 3 lifejackets (Level 100+, Level 50, or Level 50s)
  • Enclosed and Coastal Waters: Type 1 lifejacket (Level 100+)

Waterway Regulations: Operators must comply with state and local waterway regulations, including speed and distance rules and restricted zones, as detailed in the Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules (VOZR). Waterway safety signage must also be observed.

Registration is not proof of ownership. There is no register of encumbered vehicles for vessels in Victoria.

The Australian Builders Plate (ABP) was developed through a joint initiative between government and industry.

It aims to enhance recreational boat user safety by clearly stating key vessel operational capabilities in a plate displayed in an obvious location on the vessel.

The plate must be fitted to new vessels, unless exempted, when they are first sold or offered for sale.

It values that have been determined by a competent person, calculated to appropriate standards.

The ABP will include a statement of level of basic floatation for boats up to 6m in length. Boats with level floatation will provide a much safer platform should they become swamped or capsized.

HIN’s are not a mandatory item when registering your vessel, however you are required to supply one if it has been affixed. 

There are limited boat code agents affixing HIN’s in Victoria. Contact ST Vic for more information if you believe you would like to have HIN affixed to your vessel.