RST Mail Content

Skippers Ticket Assessment Notes

(some things may not apply to you, but some will - so CHECK below)

Documents to bring with you

  1. You will need to bring your Australian Motor Driver’s Licence (or Learner’s Permit).
  2. If you DON’T have an Australian Drivers Licence (or Learner’s Permit) you will need to bring a completed
    RST Eyesight Declaration (click here to download)
  3. If you have a medical condition that could affect your ability to safely operate a recreational vessel you will need to bring a completed
    RST Declaration of Medical Fitness (click here to download – it’s the second page of the Eyesight Declaration)
  4. If you are UNDER 18 years old you will need to bring a completed
    Letter of Consent (click here to download)

If you don’t have an Australian Driver’s Licence or Learner’s Permit you will need to bring other accepted Identification documents. (See all the accepted identification options on page 8 of the Skippers Ticket Workbook). Please note that Smartriders are not accepted for Identification.

The most common accepted Identification documents are:

  • Australian Passport (full proof)
  • Overseas Passport and Bankcard/Medicare Card
  • Birth Certificate and Bankcard/Medicare Card

RST Study Notes (RST = Recreational Skippers Ticket)

Even if you have experience or have been boating for some time,   this does not guarantee a pass in the Theory exam – unless you STUDY the Workbook. Don’t “just” read it – you have to STUDY it, Seriously. There will be information in there that you didn’t know you had to know!

Experience / boaters knowledge may give you 30% of the answers only. You need to STUDY the Workbook – not just read it. You must know the speeds, the distances. Numbers and facts that the Department put in the Workbook are really items you need to know, really. Everything in there, is there because they want you to know it. All. Do the practise QUIZ that you can find on our website to see if you do know it.

Below we have noted the most common items that people seem to get wrong most often, or don’t learn well enough from the Workbook.

  • There are 5 question booklets for the Theory exam; you will be given one chosen at random.
  • There are 40 multiple choice questions and the pass mark is 34/40.
  • You must pass the Theory in order to be allowed to progress to the boat to do the Practical Assessment.
  • If you fail with a score of between 30 – 33 the Dept of Transport allow an assessor to give you a second theory exam if time allows. Only two attempts are allowed on one calendar date.
  • If you fail with a score of 29 or less the Dept of Transport does not allow an assessor to offer another exam paper on that same calendar date, you will need to go away and study some more before trying again.
  • Below we have noted the most common items that people seem to get wrong most often, or don’t learn well enough from the Workbook.

INTERPRETING QUESTIONS – translating what the Multiple Answer Questions “really” want you to answer can be difficult:

Questions sometimes use words like “should” and “can” and we are never certain if the word “can” means – “possible”, or “legal” or does it make ‘common sense’ – we all know that the law and common sense aren’t always the same.  If a questions asks what the LAW says we need to have on a boat – you need to learn the table telling you what items you need where. Also – how many boats “can” tie up to a mooring at once? Common sense is again different to the rules. A huge mooring ‘could’ safely hold 3 small tinnies, however if it’s a Mooring Control Area that is illegal. One mooring, ONE boat, even if it is possible, its not legal. It’s all in the workbook – read it – learn it – and know the Workbook answers – not yours, not what you think is logical or common sense – JUST know the Workbook facts and give those answers in order to pass.

Students often confuse a “register-able recreational vessel” (which means it must be registered) with a Recreational Skippers Ticket vessel. They are NOT necessarily the same.

Register-able means it must be registered. It must be registered if it can have a MOTOR of ANY size. That’s all. ‘Some’ register-able recreational vessels (i.e. they have a motor) are Skippers Ticket exempt because their motor is smaller than 6hp. A “Recreational Skippers Ticket” vessel is Register-able (i.e. has a motor) AND because the motor is above 6hp, needs a Skippers Ticket holder on board. So remember, there is NO need for a Skippers Ticket, irrespective of the persons age, in a register-able vessel if the motor is UNDER 6hp.

  • A 10 year old can ‘drive’, but not skipper – there must be a ‘skipper’ on board. The ‘skipper’ is the person responsible, not the person driving the boat.
  • A person aged between 14 and 16 can be a skipper in charge of an RST vessel if they hold an RST. Restrictions also apply to this age group – vessels may be operated only during daylight hours and at a maximum speed of 8 knots. This is a good fact to remember.
  • To operate a vessel with a motor under 6 hp – no Recreational Skipper’s Ticket is required.

While on the subject of registration (i.e. motorised) . Where does the rego sticker go? Look it up. Know it. The registration sticker is different to the registration numbers that go on either side of the boat. The registration sticker is small and goes on only one side. Which side is it?

  • If a question asks what will you do when you need assistance – it means you NEED assistance. You-Need-Assistance. The question may not specify what assistance you need, but that doesn’t matter. It says you-NEED-assistance. Imagine, your boat breaks down at 11am, the motor burns to a fry. Its a great day …you are 20 miles offshore, just got to your favourite fishing spot, the fishing is good, do you (a) stay there fishing all day and only call the sea search and rescue guys in the late afternoon when the sea breeze arrives, when you run out of bait, beers or the fish stop biting? Or do you … (b) make a distress signal ASAP? Remember a distress signal can be just waving something to attract a passing boats attention.

Think about the questions – think who wrote it and why? Why are they asking that question and what answer do they really want you to do? Don’t rush through the multiple choice answers. We find that most people that get questions wrong have rushed, have not read the question, have assumed things and guessed instead of taking time and working out the correct answers. Those that want to hurry, instead seem to take more time.

Even if you don’t operate a jet ski, you are allowed to drive one with your RST – so you must know the jet ski rules.

Even if you don’t discharge sewerage from your boat, you must know the rules relating to it, remember the numbers.

What is Zone 1? WHERE? Learn it from the Workbook.

“All of the above” is very often the correct answer. Learning as much as possible from the Workbook will allow you to pick the correct “all of the above answer’s”. Don’t grab the first correct answer, read them ALL, perhaps there is a better answer, or they may all be correct.

  • When in doubt – 8 knots they say. Yes, 8 knots is quite an important number, and you need to know when to do under 8 knots. Why is 50m important? Look for it in the Workbook and learn about it. Remember – ALL numbers.
  • If you hear 1,2,3 or 5 blasts of a horn – what do they all mean. Know this. (HINT: Right, Left, Astern, What are you doing??)
  • Know all of the navigation marks – all of them. Cardinal marks, lead marks and channel markers, ALL of them. People often miss the small bit of info on ‘sectored lights’ – read it. Carefully.
  • Flares, learn them and think about them. When have you seen orange smoke flares being used in the movies? (which types at day and which at night) Don’t just skim read it – pay attention, because one day it will mean more than just an exam, it may save your life. 
  • Remember the offshore distances and what safety gear you need at what distance – further than 400m from the shore you need an EPIRB and more than 4nm you need a marine radio. Learn that by rote.

If given a chart, and a tide table, you need to know how much water is in a spot using those two. You add the tide height to the number on the chart. Learn all about this.

  • Learn what the minimum safety equipment that we will need in the area you will be doing your practical – i.e. “protected waters” –This is the enormous definition of “Protected Waters”. Remember this definition so you will recognise it if you see it in the test. Protected Waters – Includes rivers, lakes, estuaries, harbours and waters within 400m from the shore in unprotected waters but excludes Cambridge Gulf and Lake Argyle.
  • If we are going to do our prac in unprotected waters of the ocean but close to the shore, you need to make sure you know what we need as a legal minimum, and make sure we have it aboard. Also if the trainer asks you “if we have an inboard motor and were to go out more than 4nm into the ocean…” – you should know what we must carry. As we said earlier, KNOW the table from the Workbook.
  • And what if we had an “outboard motor and we go more than 400m from shore into unprotected waters”, what must we carry according to the rules?

According to the rules what MUST you carry (or wear!). The rules often require you to carry different to what we all actually carry. Learn what the RULES say, then once the test is over carry everything else as well. Which I know you do anyhow.

You should know about the types of PFD, which are type 1, 2, or 3 and also Flares, you will get asked which of them are to be carried. When would you use an orange smoke flare?

Many problems occur in channels when people are unsure which side to go and who has to give way when suddenly confronted with boats. LEARN ALL the give way rules. You will always need to use the “keep to the right, give way to the right, turn to the right” saying. The practical includes verbal items, so the theory multiple choice is not the end. You must know who gives way to whom and follow it.

  • Some people get confused by the language and words used in the Workbook. A channel/a passage/a fairway in the water – same thing, different names – and you cant anchor in any, can’t set nets in them either.
  • Pulling onto and off a jetty is one of the most needed practical assessment items for people. We can train you in the practical, however many get the theory wrong. You MUST know who gives way to whom.
  • Your power driven vessel is less than 12 metres, you need to know what lights to have on it after sunset. People often mix up the lights between “under 7m” and “under 12m” – learn the difference.

You will need to use “leads” – so learn what LEADS are and how to use them, and if there aren’t any where we are doing our practical, you will be required to steer a transit by making up some leads or a transit so you can steer on a transit for 30 seconds. How do you line them up? Back one above the front one. What colour are lead markers at night?

The practical test is NOT really a skill test. Its mainly based on safety. Do things SLOWLY and super carefully and you will pass. The trainer will take you through it all, however you MUST study the Workbook. Read the info in the last pages at the back of the book about the practical test.

Crack on with the study! You can do it!