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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply for a driving licence on federal waterways (patent or certificate of competency)

Description

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

Driving licence on federal waterways

On federal waterways, you are only allowed to drive a vehicle if you are the holder of an appropriate permit. The authorizations are divided into different patent classes:

  • Skipper's certificate A: for driving all vessels on inland waterways and maritime waterways up to the border of seafaring
  • Boatmen's certificate B: for driving all vehicles on inland waterways
  • Boatmaster's certificate C1: for driving vessels with a length of less than 35 metres on inland waterways and maritime waterways up to the border of seafaring, except:
    • authorised passenger ships for the carriage of more than 12 passengers
    • authorised passenger boats for the carriage of more than 12 passengers
    • Push and tug boats with more than 73.6 kW (100 hp) propulsion power
  • Boatmaster's certificate C2: for driving vessels of less than 35 metres in length on inland waterways, except:
    • authorised passenger ships for the carriage of more than 12 passengers
    • authorised passenger boats for the carriage of more than 12 passengers
    • Push and tug boats with more than 73.6 kW (100 hp) propulsion power
  • Fireboat patent D1: for driving fireboats and vehicles of civil protection and disaster control on inland waterways and maritime waterways up to the border of seafaring
  • Fireboat patent D2: for driving fireboats and vehicles of civil protection and disaster control on inland waterways
  • Recreational craft product (patent class E): for driving recreational craft with a length of not more than 25 metres on inland waterways
  • Ferry licence (patent class F): for driving ferries for a specific ferry station

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

  • Official vehicles of the Bundeswehr, 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 Protection and Disaster Control, the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, the State Shipping Administration and the fire brigade with a length of less than 20 meters.

Rhine patents

Special regulations apply on the Rhine. You may only drive a vehicle there if you are the holder of a Rhine patent or the holder of a boatmaster's certificate recognised by the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine as equivalent for the respective type and size of the vehicle and for the distance to be crossed.

A distinction must be made between:

  • Large patent: to drive all vehicles on inland waterways and maritime waterways up to the border of seafaring
  • Small patent: for driving a vehicle with a length of less than 35 meters,
    • which is intended for the carriage of no more than 12 passengers
    • provided that:
      • is not a tug or push boat, or
      • no coupled vehicles moved
  • Sports patent: for driving a sports vehicle with a length of less than 25 meters
  • Official patent: for driving official vehicles and fireboats

Special regulations apply to small vehicles up to a length of 15 metres: These may be driven on the Rhine with a licence issued in accordance with national regulations. In Germany, for example, this is the sports boat license.

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

Further evidence and patents

For vehicles over 15 metres in length, special route knowledge is also required on certain inland waterways and the Rhine. You will also receive proof of special route knowledge through an examination at the GDWS.

A patent can also be granted as a Danube captain's patent. They will then be allowed to drive vehicles on the Danube in international traffic, i.e. also outside the scope of the Inland Waterway Navigation Patent Regulation.

  • Physical and mental fitness to drive a vehicle
  • Reliability (including no criminal record for traffic offenses)
  • Passing the relevant exam
  • Depending on the type of certificate applied for, a certain minimum age:
    • 21 years for the large and small Rhine patent, the official patent and the inland waterway skipper's patent A, B, C, D and F
    • 18 years for the sports patent and the inland waterway skipper's certificate E
  • From the age of 50, you must regularly submit a current medical certificate to prove your fitness again. Proof is required
    • at the age of 50, 55, 60 and 65 and
    • annually from the age of 65 years
  • medical certificate of your physical and mental fitness for navigation on the Rhine or inland waterway (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
  • Submission of the service book

Depending on the scope of the exam, different fees apply:

  • 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 usually have to expect significantly longer waiting times until the exam.

Depending on the number of applications and the location of the examination.
Exams are usually held every two to three months.

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

  • Download the application form from the Electronic Waterway Information Service (ELWIS). Fill it out completely and print it out.
  • Add the necessary evidence. Above all, have yourself examined by a doctor licensed for this purpose 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 respective skipper's certificate, the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping will admit you to the examination and arrange a suitable examination date with you.
  • Take the exam. If you have passed the exam, you will receive a provisional skipper's certificate directly on site, with which you can drive a vehicle for three months. Within these three months, your personal patent card will be issued by Bundesdruckerei and sent to you by post.
  • If you have not passed the exam, you can retake the exam after a certain embargo period has expired. As a rule, the examination board will impose a blocking period of three to six months on you. The exam fee will be charged again for the re-examination. Those parts of the exam that you have passed in the first attempt will usually remain recognized, so that you will only be re-examined for the failed parts of the exam.

Federal Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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