Here we have an overview of which boat licenses are required in German waters. The German Sailing Association (DSV) and the German Motor Yacht Association (DMYV), act on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, and manage the licensing laws. For questions, please contact these institutions.
In general, a boating license of some kind is usually required for boats with an engine capacity of more than 5 hp. In addition, the possession of a license is important for insurance purposes. Insurance companies will only pay for damage claims if the skipper has the appropriate boating license.
Below you will find an overview where you can see which boating licenses you need for certain areas and what they require.
For this license, you must be 14 years old. It entitles you to drive sports boats under sail and it is prescribed for sailing vessels with a larger sail area than 3.20 meters in the waters of Berlin and other areas.
For this license, you have to be 16 years old. It entitles you to drive a pleasure craft on inland waterways. It is required for vehicles with an engine capacity of more than 5 hp.
For this license, you must be 16 years old. It entitles you to ride on the navigable waterways in the scope of maritime shipping-order (3 mile range), the shipping order Ems estuary / Leda and the keeping of pleasure boats with an engine power of more than 5 hp. There are no restrictions on the length and power of the boat. However, the sport boat can only be used for sport or recreation, not for commercial purposes.
For this license, you must be 16 years old and in possession of the sport boat license sea. You also have to be able to show that you have sailed at least 300 nautical miles. This license entitles you to sail in coastal waters up to 12 nautical miles away from the mainland.
For this license, you must be 16 years old. You also have to be able to show that you have sailed at least 1000 nautical miles as a watch captain, and that you have the sport boat license sea. Or, you can obtain the license by proving that you have sailed 700 nautical miles or more as a watch captain on yachts whilst obtaining the sport coasts license. The official sport sea license authorizes you to charter sailing and motor yachts in all coastal waters up to 30 nautical miles distance in: the North and Baltic Sea, the Irish and Scottish lake, as well as the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
For this license, you have to be 18 years old. In addition, you have to prove that you have sailed more than 1000 nautical miles after getting the sport see license. This official license will authorize you to drive sailing and motor yachts around the world.
You need this testimony to sail boats with a length of 15 meters or more on all inland waterways. The only exception to this is on the Rhine, where you need a special 'Rhine patent'.
You need this to sail Lake Constance and the Rhine between Stein a. Rh and the road bridge of Schaffhausen (here you have to take a special test). It applies to all skippers over 18 years old who drive boats with a 6 hp engine, and to all skippers over 16 years old with sailing boats with a sail area of more than 12 square meters.