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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply for a driving license on federal waterways (patent or certificate of competence)

Description

If you want to drive a vehicle on federal inland waterways, you generally need a driving license.

Driving license on federal waterways

You may only drive a vehicle on federal waterways if you are the holder of a corresponding permit. The authorizations are divided into different classes of license:

  • Skipper's license A: to drive all vehicles on inland waterways and maritime waterways up to the maritime shipping limit
  • Skipper's license B: for navigating all vessels on inland waterways
  • Skipper's certificate C1: for navigating vessels of less than 35 meters in length on inland waterways and maritime waterways up to the limit of maritime navigation, with the exception of
    • authorized passenger ships for the transport of more than 12 passengers
    • authorized passenger boats carrying more than 12 passengers
    • Pushing and towing boats with more than 73.6 kW (100 hp) propulsion power
  • Skipper's certificate C2: for navigating vessels with a length of less than 35 meters on inland waterways, with the exception of
    • licensed passenger vessels for the carriage of more than 12 passengers
    • authorized passenger boats for the transport of more than 12 passengers
    • Pushing and towing boats with more than 73.6 kW (100 hp) propulsion power
  • Fire-fighting boat license D1: to operate fire-fighting boats and civil protection and disaster control vessels on inland waterways and maritime waterways up to the limit of maritime navigation
  • Fire-fighting boat certificate D2: to operate fire-fighting boats and civil defense and disaster control vessels on inland waterways
  • Recreational craft certificate (patent class E): for navigating recreational craft with a length of no more than 25 meters on inland waterways
  • Ferry license (patent class F): for driving ferries for a specific ferry station

Certain official vehicles of the federal government and the federal states do not require a permit issued by the GDWS to drive official vehicles. These include:

  • Service vehicles of the Federal Armed Forces, the Federal Customs Administration, the Federal Police, the riot police and the water police of the federal states with a length of less than 25 meters.
  • Service vehicles of the civil defense and disaster control, the federal waterways and shipping administration, the state shipping administration and the fire department with a length of less than 20 meters.

Rhine patents

Special regulations apply on the Rhine. You may only operate a vessel on the Rhine if you hold a Rhine licence or a boatmaster's certificate recognized as equivalent by the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine for the type and size of vessel in question and for the route to be navigated.

A distinction must be made between

  • Major patent: for navigating all vessels on inland waterways and maritime waterways up to the limit of maritime navigation
  • Small patent: for driving a vehicle with a length of less than 35 meters,
    • which is intended to carry no more than 12 passengers
    • provided that:
      • is not a tug or push boat or
      • does not move coupled vehicles
  • Sport patent: to drive a recreational craft with a length of less than 25 meters
  • Public authority license: to operate public authority vessels and fireboats

Special regulations apply to small vessels up to 15 meters in length: these may be operated on the Rhine with a permit issued in accordance with national regulations. In Germany, for example, this is the pleasure craft license.

In order to obtain a boatmaster's certificate or Rhine patent, you must pass an examination at the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping (GDWS).

Further certificates and patents

For vessels over 15 meters in length, special route knowledge is also required on certain inland waterways and the Rhine. You can also obtain proof of special route knowledge by passing an examination at the GDWS.

A patent can also be issued as a Danube captain's license. You may then operate vessels on the Danube in international traffic, i.e. also outside the scope of the inland navigation patent ordinance.

  • Physical and mental fitness to drive a vehicle
  • Reliability (including no previous convictions for traffic offenses)
  • Passing the relevant test
  • Depending on the type of certificate applied for, a certain minimum age:
    • 21 years for the large and small Rhine license, the authority license and the inland navigation license A, B, C, D and F
    • 18 years of age for the sports license and the inland navigation license E
  • From the age of 50, you must regularly submit a current medical certificate to prove that you are fit to sail again. Proof is required
    • at the age of 50, 55, 60 and 65 and
    • annually from the age of 65
  • Medical certificate confirming your physical and mental fitness for navigation on the Rhine or inland waterways (not older than three months)
  • Copy of your identity card or passport
  • Certificate of good conduct for submission to an authority (document type "O")
  • Current passport photo
  • Presentation of the skipper's service book

Different fees apply depending on the scope of the examination:

  • Admission to the exam: EUR 147 or EUR 158
  • Examination fee: between EUR 390 and EUR 585 (the exact amount of the fee depends on whether, for example, a route knowledge test is carried out at the same time or a practical test is included)

Your application and all documents should be submitted to the relevant branch office at least four weeks before the desired examination date. However, due to the high number of applicants, you will generally have to expect significantly longer waiting times until the examination.

Depending on the number of applications and examination location.
Examinations usually take place every two to three months.

You must apply for the boatmaster certificate or patent in writing to the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping (GDWS):

  • Download the application form from the Electronic Waterways Information Service (ELWIS). Fill it out completely and print it out.
  • Attach the necessary supporting documents. Above all, have yourself examined by a licensed doctor and obtain proof of medical fitness.
  • Submit the application documents to the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping.
  • Apply to the authority responsible for you for a certificate of good conduct for submission to an authority. Have the certificate of good conduct sent to the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping.
  • If you meet all the requirements for the relevant boatmaster certificate, the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping will admit you to the examination and arrange a suitable examination date with you.
  • Take the examination. If you pass the test, you will receive a provisional boatmaster's certificate directly on site, which you can use to operate a vessel for three months. Within these three months, your personal license card will be issued by the Bundesdruckerei and sent to you by post.
  • If you do not pass the test, you can retake the test after a certain blocking period has expired. As a rule, the examination board will impose a blocking period of three to six months. You will have to pay the examination fee again for the repeat examination. The parts of the exam that you passed on your first attempt will generally be recognized, so you will only be re-examined on the parts that you did not pass.

Federal Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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