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Power Boating


(Published December 2013, last reviewed with no updated 2018)

What is power boating?

Power boats are powered primarily by an engine and have no built in accommodation or cabin area.

What is a power boating permit?

The adventurous activity permit scheme is designed to ensure that only people with the relevant skills and experience lead adventurous activities for the young people. Therefore all activities classed as adventurous can only be lead by someone holding the appropriate permit.

Additionally young people (under 18) can take part in adventurous activities for themselves with personal activity permits. A power boating permit is required for all power boating taking place in any class of water.

Levels of permit

Power boating permits can be issued for any class of water. Each class of permit can be further restricted (such as through non tidal, restricting to only operating during daylight hours etc.) to end up with an individual permit to the level of the competence and requirements of any person

Types of permit

There are three types of permit available for power boating. These are:

Personal – Allows a young person (under 18) to take part in power boating with others with a personal power boating permit.

Leadership – Allows the permit holder to lead power boating for a single group.

Supervisory – Allows the permit holder to remotely supervise more than one power boating group.

Permit limitations

Personal – If you hold a personal power boating permit you can go power boating with others who hold a personal power boating permit. It does not allow you to go power boating with anyone not holding a power boating permit.

Leadership – If you have permit to lead power boating then you can look after only one power boat at a time, and need to remain in the boat whenever it is being used.

Supervisory – If you hold a permit to supervise power boating then you can supervise up to three boats. All supervised boats should be within communication range of the permit holder who will need to be in or have immediate access to a rescue craft. You remain responsible for all the groups you are supervising, but can designate someone with the appropriate skills to be the leader of each boat.


When supervising other boats the holder of a power boating supervisor permit needs to designate a leader for each boat. This designation lasts only for the current activity while the permit holder is supervising.

People designated as boat leaders should hold the skills and be responsible enough control the boat safely in the waters that they are in. There is no problem with making young people boat leaders if they are up to the role, and it can be used as a useful development tool.

Rules relating to power boating

Rule 9.7 Adventurous Activities Permit Scheme

Rule 9.8 Adult Groups undertaking Activities

Rule 9.13.1 All Water Activities

Rule 9.13.2 Life Jackets and Buoyancy Aids

Rule 9.13.3 Classification of Waters

Rule 9.13.5 Boats

Rule 9.13.6 Charter Vessels

General activity rules

Rule 9.1 All Activities

Rule 9.6 Use of External Centres and Instructors