In Victoria if you have been disqualified/suspended from driving a motor vehicle you can still obtain a boat licence.
This is because the RSA (Road Safety Act 1986) governs when a persons drivers licence is suspended or disqualified as a result of committing traffic offences such as drink/drug driving and exceeding the speed limit. As a result those drivers who commit these offences cannot drive a motor vehicle on a Victorian road, but this does not extend to boats as a boat is not considered a motor vehicle per the Road Safety Act. The definition of motor vehicle is as follows;
“motor vehicle” means a vehicle that is used or intended to be used on a highway and that is built to be propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle but does not include—
(a) a vehicle intended to be used on a railway or tramway; or
(b) a motorised wheel-chair capable of a speed of not more than 10 kilometres per hour which is used solely for the conveyance of an injured or disabled person; or
(c) a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle by virtue of a declaration under subsection (2)(b);
Boat licences (known as “marine licences” in Victoria) on the other hand are governed by separate legislation namely the Marine Safety Act 2010. In Victoria there are two types of licences that can be obtained:
- General marine licence (if a person is over the age of 16 years)
- Restricted marine licence (if a person is of, or over the age of 12 years and less than 16 years)
The Court can disqualify your boat licence
The court also has the power to disqualify an offender from obtaining a marine licence if at the time of offending they did not hold a valid licence. A disqualification of a Marine Licence applies throughout Australia (meaning if you are disqualified in one state you are disqualified in all states). These licences, like motor vehicle drivers’ licences, can also be subject to disqualification by a Court under s 171 of the Marine Safety Act 2010.
If you are suspended from driving, but would like to apply for your boat licence, this is how you do it.
How to Apply for Your Boat Licence in Victoria
Obtaining a boat licence is a legal requirement if you want to captain a boat. Here’s a detailed guide on how to apply for a boat licence in Victoria.
Step 1: Get Informed
Before you start the process, it’s important to understand the various rules and regulations surrounding boating in Victoria. The Marine Safety Victoria website is a reliable source of information and also offers the “Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook,” an invaluable guide for all potential boat operators. The handbook covers everything from navigation and docking to handling emergency situations and understanding boating etiquette.
Step 2: Complete a Boating Safety Course
Once you’re well-versed in the general knowledge, the next step is to enrol in a boating safety course approved by Transport Safety Victoria (TSV). These courses are designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to safely operate a boat. A variety of providers offer these courses, both online and offline, making it convenient for you to acquire the necessary education at your own pace.
Step 3: Pass the Licence Examination
After completing the course, the next step is to pass a marine licence examination. This test is intended to gauge your understanding of the course material and assess your readiness to operate a boat safely. The test is generally a mix of multiple-choice questions based on the content covered in the boating safety course. Ensure you revise and understand all the key aspects of your course before sitting for the test. Passing this test is a crucial step towards getting your licence.
Step 4: Submit Your Application
With the test successfully cleared, it’s now time to apply for your marine licence. Applications can be made at a VicRoads Customer Service Centre. Ensure you fill out the application form correctly, provide proof of your identity, and attach your boating safety course completion certificate. A licence fee will also be required upon submission of your application. It’s advisable to check the current fee structure on the VicRoads or TSV website.
Step 5: Medical Review
In certain cases, you may need to undergo a medical review. This step is designed to ascertain that you are medically fit to operate a boat safely. The review may be requested if there are concerns about your ability to meet the necessary health and fitness requirements. If requested, the medical review must be completed for the licence application to proceed.
Step 6: Receive Your Licence
After your application has been processed and approved, you will be issued your marine licence. This licence grants you the legal right to operate a boat in Victoria’s waterways.