If you want to run an aquatic event, competition, exhibition or any other activity that affects the general public's use of navigable waters, you'll need an aquatic licence. You could face a penalty for having the event without the appropriate licence.

Aquatic licences are for temporary events, and must be applied for at least 6 weeks before the event or activity starts – even earlier for more complex events or activities.

You can apply for an aquatic licence online.


Applications must be made at least 6 weeks before the event or activity starts – even earlier for more complex events or activities.

What you need

  • full details of the event type, location, date(s), times and number of vessels involved
  • a detailed map of the location showing areas of operation
  • exclusive use requirements (if applicable)
  • an Aquatic Activity Operational Plan detailing safety procedures, rescue craft, qualified personnel in attendance, communications procedures, a risk register and a risk management plan acceptable to Transport for NSW (see Aquatic Activity Operational Plan Template – DOC)
  • evidence of community and stakeholder consultation appropriate to the type, scale and location of the aquatic activity (as determined by Transport for NSW)
  • written authorisation from other relevant agencies or consent authorities (like local councils or the Marine Parks Authority)
  • written authorisation from the occupier or trustee of any foreshore land intended to be used in connection with the proposed activity
  • evidence of affiliation with, and sanction of, the Australian Power Boat Association (power boat races only)
  • evidence of affiliation with, and sanction of, Ski Racing Australia (water ski events only)
  • a copy of the Work Cover Risk Assessment (fireworks events only)
  • the details of the applicant or nominated representative, including proof of identity
  • proof of identity for the organisation/company to prove legal status (note that an aquatic licence is not issued to a business name)
  • written authorisation for any nominated representative acting on behalf of an organisation on that organisation’s letterhead
  • evidence of not-for-profit status (if applicable)
  • any additional documentation requested by Transport for NSW during assessment of the application, such as a noise assessment report or environmental assessment report.

How to apply

  1. Check the eligibility requirements.
  2. Following the guidelines set out in the Aquatic Activity Operational Plan Template – DOC, create your own operational plan and risk assessment.
  3. Select the 'Apply online' button.
  4. Log in or create an account.
  5. Complete the online application form.
  6. Upload the required documentation.
  7. Read and confirm the declaration.
Last updated: 18 May 2023