NSW Council

Want to get into power boat racing?


What you need to do to get started.



There is an introductory license called a NOVICE LICENSE. This is available for a single meeting at the club level

You may also obtain an APBA competition license. With this you may compete at any event you are licensed for. New competition licenses are issued as "provisional" with this license you can compete at club events at any affiliated club anywhere in Australia.

To compete in Major days, Spectaculars and Championships you will need a "full" competition license. Your provisional license will be upgraded to s full competition license after you have obtained endorsements from the officer of the day at 3 events in less than 2 years. To maintain this full status you must compete at 3 events over a 2 year period.

APBA competition license in NSW are divided into two sections, one for the boat owner and one for the driver. If you are driving a boat that is already covered by an APBA Boat Owner membership, you will only need to buy a drivers license. Other states may differ.

Naturally you will need to know the rules for the event you are entering, and as laid down in the APBA rule book. You will receive a copy of the rule book with your competition license. Novice Licenses do not receive a rule book. And you will be expected to make yourself aware of the course rules for the venue you attend.


A helmet in good condition and brightly coloured.

A life jacket suited for racing use. This must have leg straps.

Full coverage driving suit. As a minimum overalls are acceptable.

Full coverage footwear.


You do not need a dedicated race boat, a ski boat is what most people start racing, some people will stay at club events enjoying the camaraderie of regular competition and representing your club against other clubs. Some people will go on to become stars of the sport. Whatever you start with it will probably need a few mods before being considered suitable for competition.

An ignition cut out switch, which will shut off the motor if you are thrown from your seat. These are similar to what are used on jet skis and the like. Ask at your club if you are not sure what is needed.

A foot operated spring loaded accelerator pedal. A spring just on the carby w\by itself is not satisfactory.

Any ski pole MUST be removed for powerboat events.

Steering cables are not to have any spring tensioners in them.

A securely mounted seat.

Some kind of floatation as a minimum an inflated inner tube tied up under the dash will usually do

Everything in the boat must be securely held down so it will not come loose.

Check almost everything in the boat for wear or defects, don't forget the underwater gear including the skeg and propellor, because the club boat inspectors will not..


For any advice on these matters contact your club and they will arrange to have someone inspect your boat and advise you of any changes you need to make to meet the requirements. Some classes have different requirements and outboards are different to inboards.


How are license costs determined.

Your license fee is mostly used to pay for the insurance that protects us all. Only a very small pert of the license costs will be used for administration. The APBA is a non profit body, and we exist for no other reason to foster power boat racing events.


Get on the water and race!

Well its not that easy. Hurting down the river at 140 kilometer per hour or more is one thing, doing the same thing with half a dozen other boats sometimes a few inches away from you is another. Especially in a corner

As a new driver you will be given an outside starting position, or sometimes even behind the field. Watch the line drivers take throughout the course and learn from it. As a newbie don't try to get to involved until you are well aware of how you boat handles in race conditions. Drive wide on corners for your first few events, as your skill improves so will your confidence, and after a while you will think nothing of going gunwale to gunwale with other drivers.

Get as many races as you can. Handicap races are the go for new drivers. In these slower boats go earlier than faster boats and in theory everyone should finish in a nice neat line, they don't though and this is where driver consistency and skill pays off. This same consistency and skill is the hallmark of a good driver in any area of the sport, from the smallest juniors to the biggest unlimited.


Arrive nice and early, and make yourself known to the officer of the day, or to the control tower who will advise you what to do next. And who to see to have your boat inspected by the club boat inspectors.


Your first racing experiences will be handicap events.

Speedboat handicaps are based on time.


You will first do some laps where you will be timed. It is important to remember that these laps will be under different conditions than an actual race. The water will not have other boats wash all around the course, and in the corners you will not be negotiating your way with several other boats. Maintain a speed that you think you can duplicate under race conditions.


You will be given a time to start, which will be by a clock on the control tower. It is important that you start right on time. If you do your exact same time for the race but start 10 seconds late, its not going to do you much good, because if you come in with the rest of the field, you will have gone to fast (Breaking time) and will be disqualified. It is very important that you cross the start line on time, the only way to do this is practice.. Starting all over the place is not the way to become a winner.


Remember above all safety is the first thing to consider in any situation. If you feel it is becoming unsafe or your skills are not up to it, slow down, don't close your eyes and hope for the best.



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