hawkeye (hawkeye7) wrote,

Personal Watercraft Licence

The folks in South Australia have a Jetski and suggested that I might enjoy a ride on my next visit. However, a licence is required to ride one so I set out to get one.

My first task was to find out how this was done. Most Australians will be aware that Canberra is the nation's largest inland city. However, they may not be aware that the ACT does have some coastline - around Jervis Bay. Anyhow, the ACT government helpfully informs me that the New South Wales Maritime Authority handles this on their behalf. So I gave them a call. The irony here is that I don't live in New South Wales and I have no intention of ever sailing a boat there.

It turns out that (as expected) they charge fees for tests and licences and you need one for any powerboat capable of more than 10 knots. And they want passport photos. Can't take pictures themselves. Moreover, in order to ride a Jetski, which they call a PWC (Personal Watercraft) you have to first get a General Boat Licence, which entitles you to drive any powerboat, however large so long as it is not for commercial purposes, and then sit another test and then pay another thirty eight bucks for a PWC licence. Of course, if you're actually buying a boat, then all this is just a drop in the bucket. "Boat" is said to stand for "Break Out Another Thousand". It seems that PWCs annoy the multi-millionaires with houses around the Sydney foreshore so they've been banned from Sydney Harbour.

There's a number of ways to get a General Boat Licence in New South Wales. I choose to take a one day course. So I got up at sparrow fart on Saturday and drove a hundred miles down to Bateman's Bay, NSW, and spent much of the day on the bay, practicing various manoeuvres such as the "Williamson turn" and man-overboard drill and docking and giving way to other boats. The instructor is one of those guys with brine in his blood. He has a commercial boat licence, fishes, scuba drives. The works. Had a lot of sea stories to tell.

Actually, I think all this may be quite valuable for my thesis, a large part of which is about watercraft.

Then on Monday I drove down to Queanbeyan, NSW, which is the nearest town in New South Wales to Canberra with a Maritime Authority Office (just a little one) where I took the second test and paid my money.

And now I have a Personal Watercraft Licence! Well, a paper one, valid for two months. A laminated card is supposed to show up in 6-8 weeks.

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