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Boat Licence? Yes, Please!

Boat Licence? Yes, Please!

If you live on the Gold Coast, and you have considered obtaining a boat licence but haven’t taken the first steps, we encourage you to go for it, even if you don’t have a boat…yet.

Stephen and Kyle are applying for their recreational marine driver licences (RMDL) and personal watercraft licences (PWCL). Karla Herbert-Evans, instructor at Nautical Training & Marine Services based in Coomera, prepares these first timers to pass the practical component of the BoatSafe Training course. The first challenge of the day was reversing the vehicle with the jet ski on a trailer down the boat ramp. Nudge, the marina dog, led the way.

Karla, with light humour, asks if any virgins are ready for their first ride on the jet ski. After a safety induction and a run-down on the components of a jet ski, under Karla’s instructions, Stephen and Kyle successfully complete the jet ski training, and are 100% confident before being introduced to the bow and stern of a motorised boat. It is hands-on with safety equipment, life jackets, first aid kit, distress signals, flares and emergency beacons, basic navigation, and use of a marine radio. They learn to tie a bow line and figure of 8 cleat hitch, basic knots used for docking and mooring.

They are introduced to the dashboard, and the fish and depth finder, and then the use of the throttle and how to give just the right amount of force. Both Stephen and Kyle are given one-on-one time with Karla as she ensures they know about different coloured beacons, the speed limits in the marina, and in the main channel. As the waterways were busy, it is a perfect learning opportunity. She throws a pop quiz in and offers guidance. She points out how increased speeds cause wash, and how it impacts on other waterway users, shorelines and riverbanks, pontoons and jetties, and those living nearby. Finally, Karla emphasises that the key to becoming good at boating is to research your area, maintain a vigilant lookout, and practice, practice!

After spending some time on the water, performing man-overboard rescues with a volunteer dummy float, feeling the wind, looking for signs of wind direction, going with the wind, letting the throttle loose, dropping speed and anchoring, everyone is ready to head back to port to practice docking. At this point, Karla introduces boating terms like starboard, port, bow, docking, propeller, spring lines, stern lines, listing, heeling, and mooring.

It has been a positive start. Following the successful completion of the BoatSafe Training course, Karla congratulates and presents Stephen and Kyle with their respective statements of competency, which are valid for six (6) months from the date of issue.

To complete the application for RMDL and PWCL, Stephen and Kyle need to visit the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) Customer Service Centre, fill out a marine licence application, provide proof of identity, and submit the BoatSafe Training statements of competency, along with payment. Easy peasy.

Applying for your RMDL is very simple. Anyone over the age of 16 years is qualified to apply for an RMDL, and once obtained, it is valid for life. All one needs to do first is to complete the BoatSafe Training course. The BoatSafe Training course increases confidence and practical skills on the water and comprises a written test that you can do in a classroom or online, and a practical test. It ensures you have the minimum level of skills and knowledge to operate a recreational boat in Queensland waterways.

Families who holiday or live near waterways should encourage young adults to complete a BoatSafe Training course. It inspires confidence in judging various conditions and assists them to learn safe practices on the waterway, as well as an extra boost for their CV. The wealth of knowledge and confidence gained from taking the course is immeasurable.

 

By Selena Nelson

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Did you know the average marine licence holder has their licence for 10 years before they register a boat? It is important that regular refresher courses are taken to keep your boat skills up to date. Make time to do a refresher course as inexperienced and out of practice skippers are a major cause of marine accidents. The Boat Safe Course is about building confidence and knowledge on the water, and is intended to decrease the number of boat accidents. Be safe on the water, empower yourself, build your confidence and enjoy paradise from a different perspective.

NOTE: In Queensland, it is a requirement that you obtain your RMDL to be able to apply for a PWCL. This is because a jet ski has an engine power greater than 4.5kW.

 

 

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