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Which boat license do I need on the Rhine?

Which boat license do I need on the Rhine?

The Rhine as a federal waterway

As a 1,232.7 km long river, the Rhine is one of the busiest waterways in the world. The Rhine is a federal waterway on the entire stretch in Germany.

Navigation on the Rhine

The Rhine is used by larger ships and push convoys from its estuary in the Rhine-Maas Delta to Basel. From Breisach to shortly before Basel, shipping and major parts of the Rhine water are routed through the Rhine side canal, which lies entirely on French territory. The Rhine, which forms the border, is meaningless for shipping. Ships with flat superstructures that pass the Mittlere Brücke in Basel can go to the port of Rheinfelden.

The channel connections

The Rhine has connections to other rivers, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea via canals. Some canals are now only of importance for tourism - for boat tourism.

  • The Mülhauser Canal branches off from the Rhine Side Canal below Basel and meets the Rhine-Rhône Canal in Mulhouse, but is only of interest for tourism.
  • The shortest navigable connection between the North and Baltic Seas and the Black Sea runs over the Main and the Main-Danube Canal to the Danube.
  • From Duisburg the Rhine-Herne Canal and from Wesel the Wesel-Datteln Canal connect the Rhine with the Dortmund-Ems Canal, which reaches the Ems. The Mittelland Canal branches off from it as an important west-east connection through the North German lowlands to the Weser, Elbe and Oder.

The boat license

The entire length of the Rhine is a demanding inland waterway in terms of boating licenses. Here the sport boat permits inland and lake are valid (for the sea waterways in the estuary delta).


Sport boat license inland

The sport boat driving license with the scope of inland waterways (SBF Binnen) is the official license to drive a sport boat on federal waterways within the scope of the inland waterway regulations.

A pleasure craft is a vehicle less than 20 meters in length that is not used for commercial purposes - on the Rhine less than 15 meters in length. Pleasure craft with an engine output with a maximum net output of 11.03 kW (15 HP) are exempt from the requirement to have a driving license.

On the Rhine, the limit is already 3.68 kW (5 PS).

Sport boat license lake

The sport boat driving license with the scope of sea shipping routes (SBF See) is the official license for driving motorized boats for sport and leisure purposes, in the scope of the sea shipping route regulations, i. H. on the maritime waterways within the three nautical mile zone and fairways within the twelve nautical mile zone.

The SBF See is mandatory when driving vehicles with an output of more than 11.03 kW (15 PS). There is no limit to the length of the hull of the boat. The skipper can determine a suitable helmsman who does not need to be in possession of the driver's license.

Rhine patent

The ordinance on ship personnel on the Rhine distinguishes between the following types of Rhine patents:

The large patent entitles you to drive all vehicles - the small patent entitles you to drive a vehicle less than 35 m in length and

the Sports patent entitles you to drive a sports vehicle from 15 m in length and less than 25 m in length.


For trips on the Rhine waterway, the Austrian boat license is valid for the Danube waterway and for the sea waterways in the delta area of ​​the Rhine.

Skipper's license - 10 m: Authorization to independently drive small vehicles with a length of up to 10 m on waterways and other inland waters.

BFA travel area 2

The FB 2 certificate entitles you to drive a yacht, motor or sailing yacht in coastal travel. The coastal area extends to 20 nautical miles, measured from the coast (mainland or islands).

Croatian coastal patent

The “Boat Skipper B” patent - the boat license entitles you to drive sailing boats and motor boats up to 30 GT / gross tonnage (approx. 18 m length). The authorization applies to motor yachts, sailing yachts and jet vehicles - the engine power is not limited.


Keywords Coastal Patent, Which boat license do I need on the Rhine?