The NCA administers the use of power boats on Lake Burley Griffin (the Lake) in accordance to the provision of the Lakes Ordinance 1976. These provisions also cover: moorings; anchoring; the restrictions on the use of power boats; lighting rules; rules of the water; and the navigation of a boat in a dangerous or careless manner or while intoxicated.

The NCA issues boat permits to powered boats used for private recreational use (e.g. fishing boats and RHIB’s). These vessels are allowable but must use auxiliary (electric) motors whilst on the Lake. Petrol motors do not have to be removed from boats but, except in the case of an emergency, they are not permitted to be used on the Lake. There is currently no charge for NCA issued boat permits.


Non-powered craft such as sailing boats and canoes do not require a permit to go onto the Lake.

Powered boats require a permit to go onto the Lake. Permits are issued throughout the year and are renewed on an annual basis. Temporary permits are also available for short term use such as for events.

Permit Categories

There are four categories of permits issued for power boats on Lake Burley Griffin. These are:

  • Category 1 – Conventional powered boats used as rescue, coaching or judging boats in support of aquatic sports
  • Category 2 – Electrically powered and solar powered boats and trailerable yachts with auxiliary power (including those power boats which will be using auxiliary power while on Lake Burley Griffin)
  • Category 3 – Boats used for Lake management, special interest boats (such as 'traditional boats')
  • Category 4 – Commercial tourist use (e.g. ferries)

Click here for more information on Boating on Lake Burley Griffin

Boat Licences

The National Capital Authority requires drivers of powerboats (petrol and electric) used for the following purposes to be holders of either a current powerboat driver's licence issued in any Australian state or territory; a ‘TL3' certificate issued under the Australian Yachting Federation National Powerboat Training Scheme; or a National Powerboat Handling Certificate from Australian Sailing:

  • Category 1 - Conventional powered boats used as rescue, coaching or judging boats in support of aquatic sports
  • Category 3 (A) - Boats used for Lake management, scientific research or other specified non-recreational uses
  • Category 4 - Commercial tourist use (eg ferries).

Drivers of powerboats (petrol and electric) used for the following purposes will be exempt from needing a boat driver's licence (boat permit is still required):

  • Category 2 (A) - Boats used for general use (including fishing boats)
  • Category 2 (B) - Trailerable yachts with auxiliary power
  • Category 3 (B) -  'Special Interest' boats (including 'Traditional Boats' with maximum speeds of 10 knots)

Further Information

Power Boat Check List

Before completing the Power Boat Application and booking the Water Police inspection, use the Power Boat Checklist. This will help answer frequently asked questions.

How to Apply for a Power Boat Permit

Issued under section 26 of the Lakes Ordinance 1976.

Complete the steps below (Safety Inspection and Application for Boat Permit) and then submit via email to

Important note: Should you be granted a permit to operate a vessel on Lake Burley Griffin (the Lake), you must adhere to all the conditions/restrictions that are stipulated on your National Law Certificates and/or Exemption. Your NCA permit may also be subject to additional conditions specific to the Lake.

1. Safety Inspection

Please be advised that the AFP Water Police will not be undertaking power boat inspections for boat permit applications for the foreseeable future. The Water Police Power Boat Inspection Report is no longer a requirement of the Boat Permit Application process during this time.

Boat permit applicants will instead be required to provide photographic evidence of their safety equipment (including bailing bucket, paddle, torch, fire extinguisher and anchor/rope) as part of their application.

The ACT Water Police may carry out random inspections on the water for the presence of safety equipment held on boats.

2. Application for Boat Permit

Please include in your application a photo of your boat, motors, HIN or VIN, and a digital copy of your power boat inspection (if you are applying for a new permit).