Australian law requires you hold a Boat licence (and a Jetski/Personal Water Craft (PWC) licence) if you wish to partake in these activities.
The only exception to the rule above is the Northern Territory (NT) which does not require you to hold a boat licence.
The good news is lots of courses are available which tag the PWC endorsement onto the back of the boat licence. Most likely you WILL have to do both a theory test and a practical test on a boat as well as a PWC if you want the PWC endorsement.
The training provider you use will provide both endorsements usually. In QLD the courses for both endorsements is about $240 (for a full day course, however other options are available such as completing online modules at home then proceeding to a training provider for the practical portions for assessment).
The category (boat and PWC) will be printed on your Australian drivers licence and stays with you at all times – legal requirement.
If you are bringing an overseas licence but are moving to Australia then usually you will have a grace period before you will be required to attain an Australian boat licence (and PWC). You will have to check the local state rules.
There will also be a fee for getting the endorsements printed onto your licence (which is mandatory). In QLD for example the cost to get a boat endorsement printed on your licence is about $106AUD (and another ($106AUD for the PWC).
Refer to each link below in order to get a detailed description of each Australian State requirement for marine licences.
Boat licence Queensland (QLD) – If you are operating a boat in QLD with a motor greater than 4.5kW (6 HP) you must have a licence and you must have a personal watercraft (PWC) licence to operate a personal watercraft (such as jet skis).
Boat licence New South Wales (NSW) – If you are going to be driving a boat that will travel at 10 knots (18kms/hr) or more then you will need to get a boat licence.
Boat licence Victoria (VIC) – To operate a registered boat in Victoria, you need a marine licence. To use Personal Watercrafts (PWC) like jet-skis, your marine licence needs a PWC endorsement. You can get a marine and PWC licence by taking a test, or by converting an interstate or overseas licence.
Boat licence Western Australia (WA) – As of 1 April 2008, every skipper of a register-able recreational vessel powered by a motor greater than 6 hp will be required to hold a Recreational Skipper’s Ticket.
Boat Licence Tasmania (TAS) – A licence is require in Tasmania when operating a vessel with a motor of 4hp or greater.
Boat Licence South Australia (SA) – If you are operating a boat with a motor you must have a licence. This is regardless of size of the boat or the engine, or whether the engine is being used at the time.
Boat licence Northern Territory (NT) – In the Northern Territory (NT) you don’t need to hold a licence to operate a recreational boat. You don’t have to register your boat.However you must know the boat laws in the NT. You may be prosecuted if you do not obey these laws.