PPCDL and things you need to know

I have just gotten my PPCDL recently and would like to share the procedure and tips in obtaining your PPCDL. Will provide some basic knowledge before going into the procedures.

What is PPCDL?

PPCDL is Powered Pleasure Craft Driving License and it is required if you wished to drive a engine powered/ jet propelled pleasure craft up to 24 metres within Singapore Port Limit. For those who wish to drive a larger pleasure craft >24 metres in length, you would have to apply for the Advance Powered Pleasure Craft Driving License. 


Why Pleasure Craft License starts with SZ or SZH?

Pleasure crafts with SZ prefix are for own leisure use, while Pleasure craft with SZH prefix are used for commercial purposes.

Why do we need to get PPCDL?

Many people are wondering why do we have to get the PPCDL license in Singapore. Even driving a jet ski would also require a PPCDL in Singapore waters. In some countries, there is no need for any license if you were to drive your own boat or jet ski, so why is there a need in Singapore?

The main reason I guess is for safety. Imagine all the car drivers on the road drove car without a license, will you feel safe? Singapore being a small island surrounded by water and is one of the busiest port in the world, requires all vessel to drive around safely. So how to ensure we drive safely? Theory test and practical test.

Theory test would give the required knowledge of what to do out at sea. Which vessel to give way at the different circumstances and what to do in times of emergency. We can’t be safe if we don’t know what is the right thing to do.

Some experience boat drivers overseas would question why is there a need to test on alongside and man-overboard recovery. Practical test is more of testing our ability to handle the boat. If we can show we can handle and control our boat well, it would means we can be safe. How best to test your ability to handle the boat? Slip off/alongside and MOB, as they require us to manoeuvre the boat in confine space or with precision.

How to get your PPCDL?

Typically if you wish to get your PPCDL license, you will spend a few months from the start of the course date to the attainment of the license. Reason being you need to first book a course with one of the approved training centres, thereafter book for the theory test (approximately 3-6 weeks later) and if you pass your theory test, you need to book your practical test (approximately 3-6 weeks later). This will set you up to 2-3 months after you complete your course and getting your license, provided you pass everything on first attempt.

So is there a faster way to obtain your license? There is but it would involve some risk which I would share later. First, would talk about the normal route.


Getting your PPCDL through the normal procedure (2-3months)

Requirements and Signing Up

  1. Be at least 16 years old
  2. Go online to obtain medical checkup form for your eyesight to make sure you are not colour blind from SP SMA website here. You need to be able to differentiate colour as driving out at sea during the night requires you to differentiate red, green, white in order to be safe.
  3. Look for a authorised training centre to give you the theory and practical lesson. Check for their available dates, usually Saturday and Sunday and sign up for the theory and practical lessons. You need to get the Certificate of Attendance from the training centres after the course. The cost at different training centres varies but are all similar and competitive. A list of training centres as follow:
    1. Changi Sailing Club
    2. ONE15 Marina Club
    3. Raffles Marina
    4. Republic Of Singapore Yacht Club
    5. SAF Yacht Club
    6. Singapore Police Force Aquatic Club
    7. Singapore Polytechnic
    8. Singapore Powerboat Association
    9. Water-Venture (Changi)

Theory Test

  1. After you have completed your course at either one of the training centres, you can go online to SP website to select either English, Chinese or Malay Theory Test. The test fee before 1 Jan 2017 is $20 (without GST). The test fee from 1 Jan 2017 will include a $10 admin fee, bringing the cost to $30 (without GST).
  2. Once you booked your theory test date, study very hard on the theory. And look out for tricky question as the passing mark is 26/30. Certain training centres would have a so called “10 or more years series” for you to revise through the questions. Anyone interested in getting the version I have can send an email to request for it.
  3. Proceed to SMA in Singapore Polytechnic for the theory test. You will be taking the test on a computer. Questions are random from their question bank and you have to answer 30 questions within 1 hour. You are to bring along the following:
    1. NRIC/ Passport for identification purposes
    2. Certificate of Attendance from the training centres
    3. Medical Report for your eyesight

Practical Test

  1. When you pass your theory test, you will obtain your Theory Test Result Slip. You can then book your next practical test here. The cost before 1 Jan 2017 is $50 (without GST). From 1 Jan 2017, there will be an admin fee of $25, bringing the cost to $75 (without GST). Those interested should quickly get their license before the end of 2016.
  2. Proceed to Poly Marina, beside Republic of Singapore Yacht Club, for the Practical Test. You required to bring along the following:
    1. NRIC/Passport for identification purposes
    2. PPCDL Theory Test Result Slip
  3. The practical test would consist of 2 parts, Practical and Oral questions. For practical portion, you are required to conduct system checks of the boat (physical and equipments), slip off the boat, conduct a Man-overboard (MOB) drill and go alongside the assigned berth. For the Oral questions, they will ask mainly on Lights, Sounds signals, Buoys and Beacons, Cardinal Marks, Rules of the road, and how to determine risk of collision.

Applying for License

  1. After you pass your Practical Test, you will get a Result Slip. With the result slip, you can go to MPA website here to register. Log in with your SingPass or using the Online form to submit. You will need the following:
    1. NRIC/Passport in PDF format
    2. Passport Size photo in JPEG format
    3. Practical Test Result Slip in PDF format
  2. Wait for a day or 2 after your submission. When it is approved, you can proceed back to MPA website here to pay for your license. It will cost $20.
  3. Wait for your license and you can start boating.

Getting your PPCDL quicker with some risk (~1 Month)

So how can we quicken the process of getting our PPCDL quicker. This would of course come with some risk and additional money. So what are the steps?

  1. Be at least 16 years old 
  2. Go online to obtain medical checkup form for your eyesight to make sure you are not colour blind from SP SMA website here.
  3. Check the training dates available for the respective training centres. Check the Theory Test dates and Practical Test dates. Book all the test dates even before going for the Training course. The risk would be if you fail to pass the Theory Test or you missed your training course date, you will waste the money for the other test as there will be no refund.
    • For example, if the PPCDL course is on 5/6 Nov, then you can book your theory test on 8 or 10 Nov, followed by the practical test on 12 or 19 Nov. However, all these booking needs to be done as early as the beginning of October.
    • You have to declare you have attended course to book for the theory test. You will then need to declare you pass the theory test in order to book for the practical test. As long as you indicate your course date, theory test date, you will be allowed to declare you have pass them and book for a slot even before it happens.
    • If you do this, make sure you are available to attend the course, and pass your theory test before the practical test.
  4. Things required are shown above in the normal procedure.


Tips to get your PPCDL with more ease

General Tips

  1. I did my course at Republic of Singapore Yacht Club for the following reasons.
    1. The trainers from METS provided “10 years series” for us to revise for the theory test
    2. The test location is exactly the same place as the Practical Test. So training at the RSYC provide some advantage as it can be considered “home ground”.

Theory Test Tips

  1. Make use of the “10 years series” to prepare yourself for the theory test as some of them are quite tricky. PM me if your training centre did not provide you and I will send it to you.
  2. You can book multiple test slots if you are afraid you might fail. You can book a 7pm slot, followed by 8pm slot in case your first attempt did not pass. This would come with extra cost but save you waiting time if you are in a hurry to obtain your license.
  3. Don’t be complacent. Read the question word for word.

Practical Test Tips

  1. Going through the course and having to wait till your Practical Test would be some time. It is recommended to have a refresher lesson just before your practical test. Cost is $120-$150 per hour, depending on whether your initial course is at RSYC or not.
  2. Even if your training centre is elsewhere, it is good to conduct refresher lesson a day or 2 before your actual practical test at RSYC due to the test location. You can book for refresher slot here.
    • My instructor was Captain Zul and I would recommend him as he is the usual instructor that would conduct all the refresher course and he would provide guides on how to remember what to check.
    • For example, for pre-sea checks, there are lots of things to check and he would break them down to small pieces for your to remember easily. 7, 11, 3, 5
      • 7 Structure Checks – Hull integrity, Ropes, License number, Propeller, Bilges/Compartments, Sufficient Petrol, Battery Connection.
      • 11 Equipment Checks – Further broken down to 5 and 6
        • 6 External equipment – Anchor with sufficient chain, Life Vest, Life Buoy, Oars, Nav Lights and AIS
        • 5 equipment in the fire bucket – Fire bucket, Bailer, Airhorn, Red-hand flare quantity and expiry, Fire extinguisher expiry.
      • 3 License Card Checks- License plate number, No of person, Expiry date. (Note is No. of person and not passengers as the pleasure craft is not allowed to carry fee paying passengers)
      • 5 Engine Checks – Steering wheel, throttle, propellor switch, kill switch, and water flow from engine.
  3. When you book for your practical refresher lesson, try to book the day before on the same time as your practical test. There is high possibility that the weather conditions are similar during the same time of the day.
  4. If you think refresher course is too expensive, you can always book a few slots for the practical test so in cased you fail the first slot, you have another chance in the second slot. This would also cost extra money but it may be cheaper than going for refresher lesson.
  5. For the practical test, there will be a briefing from the chief tester. However, he may not be the tester testing you. So clarify on the requirements with your actual tester before you start your test.
    • One example is the chief tester may brief everyone that you are not suppose to ask your lookouts to hold on to the jetty when you go alongside as it is not safe. However, your actual tester may expect you to give specific orders to your lookouts to hold the jetty and secure the boat when it is safe.
  6. Take note of the wind direction. If there is a strong wind, take that into account and manoeuvre as required. If wind is blowing you towards the jetty when you going alongside, turn early to be parallel to the jetty and let the wind blow you alongside. A late turn would result it a knock and possible immediate failure.

Oral Test Tips

  1. Study your theory test questions as the tester will ask you practical aspect of the theory test when you pass your practical portion. Things they will ask is lights, sound signals, buoys and beacons, cardinal marks, rules of the road and risk of collision.
  2. The practical score sheet list could be found at the following website.



Obtaining a PPCDL may not be difficult if you do put in sufficient effort. Hope this post provide you with some insight and what to do to obtain your PPCDL. Happy boating.

18 thoughts on “PPCDL and things you need to know

  1. hello, is it possible for you to send me the “10year series” course book? @xiner.tann&gmail.com

  2. Thanks for great information. Can you share with me the “10year series” questions? 🙂

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  4. Hi, thanks for the great writeup! So whats the total cost to be if u clear everything on first attempt?

  5. Hi, able you able to send me the 10 years series?
    Appreciate it.
    Thanks and have a great week ahead.

  6. Hi, appreciate if you could share with me the 10 years series to me ?

    Thanks a lot.

  7. Hi. Is it possible if you can send me the 10 yrs series questions? Much appreciated. Thanks.

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