Packing plenty of fun and excitement, jet skis enliven the summer holidays for Canberrans along the South Coast and Capital Region’s inland lakes. But it’s often less clear how to comply with licensing regulations. So where can you use a jet ski, where should you get your license, what kind of documentation will you need and what will it cost?
Whether accessing inland hotspots or coastal estuaries and lakes, the power and agility of jet skis mean they are a fast-growing fishing accessory. Widely used for tow-in surfing, jet skis are also a favourite for surfing photographers and are just the craft for exploring waterways and family adventures.
Where can I jet ski? Powerboats including jet skis are not allowed on ACT waterways. However, opportunities to enjoy them proliferate throughout Canberra’s holiday playground, the South Coast, and inland at Good Hope and Burrinjuck Dam near Yass, Grabine State Recreation Area north-west of Crookwell, Wyangala Dam near Cowra, and Eucumbene and Jindabyne dams in the Snowy Mountains.
Licences: These are issued from 12 year-olds onwards. You will need a general boat licence in the first instance, and a personal watercraft (PWC) driving licence, because jet skis are classed as a personal watercraft.
You can attend a course in Canberra to obtain both licences. Alternatively, you can apply through a Service NSW office or on the Service NSW website.
NSW Boat Licence conducts courses and issues certificates which are recognised by Service NSW. Pre-course study material is available, as well as face-to-face tuition from an experienced trainer.
Over a few hours, trainers present courses covering the NSW Boat Licence and the PWC Licence theory in a single, easy session. A certificate is presented, and you can apply for licences immediately after the course with the certificate and documentation (see below) at Service NSW outlets. Courses are held at 7-9 Geelong Street, Fyshwick, ACT.
In the surrounding region they are held at 271 Sloane Street, Goulburn; 8 Adele Street, Yass, and 40 Junction Street, Nowra. To book call 0468565494.
Documentation: You will need to have proof of identity (a photo driver’s licence or passport or full birth certificate as primary documents, and Medicare card or utility bill as a secondary document) when applying for both licences.
To obtain your general boat driving licence, you will need to provide evidence of practical boating. One way of doing so is obtaining a log book and filling in the required number of hours.
How to book a test: When applying through Service NSW, a knowledge test comprising of 50 multiple choice questions is required. You can book a test through a Service NSW outlet.
The closest one to Canberra is Queanbeyan Service NSW on the corner of Aurora Avenue and Aurora Place, Queanbeyan. Other Service NSW offices can be found at Batemans Bay: Cnr Orient and Camp Streets; in Cooma at 125 Sharp Street, and in Nowra at Shop 7, 28 Central Avenue, South Nowra, phone: 13 77 88.
Fees: A general boat licence fee is $61 (concession for under-16, $31). A PWC licence fee is $186 (concession $93). Once you have your general boat licence, you can apply for a PWC licence immediately.
Again, you will need proof of identity, your general boat driving licence and you will have another knowledge test, comprising of 50 multiple choice questions.
You will also need two colour passport photographs with your name and date of birth printed on the back of each photo. The Service NSW website has a link to the application form, and how to book an appointment.