Simpler way to a Special Permit

11 November 2021

It has become simpler for young people aged 12-15 years to gain a Special Permit to operate a recreational vessel if they only want to operate under supervision.

Most Special Permit holders aged 12-15 years do not operate a vessel alone.

In most cases, they gain their Special Permit to either:

  • operate a vessel with a Boat Operator Licence holder (often their parent); and
  • act as an observer of water skiers in a boat when the boat operator holds a Boat Operator’s Licence and is 18 years or older.

Currently all Special Permit holders need to successfully pass a Special Permit theory examination and a Special Permit practical examination (on water assessment) with a Department for Infrastructure and Transport Marine Safety Officer.


CHANGES FOR INDIVIDUALS ONLY WISHING TO OPERATE SUPERVISED: 

  • they still need to complete and pass the Special Permit theory examination
  • they can now forgo the Special Permit practical examination (on water assessment)

If successful in passing the theory examination the Special Permit holder can:

  • operate any recreational vessel (other than a personal watercraft) fitted with an engine under the direct supervision of a person who holds a Boat Operator's Licence or a Temporary Boat Operator's Licence; and
  • act as an observer where a person is being towed by a vessel, provided the operator of the vessel holds a Boat Operator's Licence.

NO CHANGES FOR INDIVIDUALS WISHING TO OPERATE UNSUPERVISED:

  • they still need to complete and pass the Special Permit theory examination
  • they must also successfully pass the Special Permit practical examination (on water assessment)

If successful in passing the theory and practical examinations, the Special Permit holder can operate unsupervised under the following condition:

  • operate a recreational vessel between sunrise and sunset that is less than 4 metres in length and has a potential speed of 10 knots or less without supervision, providing the Special Permit holder and any passengers on the vessel are wearing an approved lifejacket

Remember Special Permit holders cannot:

  • operate a personal watercraft – eg jet ski
  • operate a boat that is towing a water skier.

For more details on gaining your Special Permit please click here.