In which case do I need a boat license?
Sailboat, motorboat, boat without a license without training, boat without a license with training... how to find your way around in French legislation? The seaZen Academy, specialist in solar navigation, offers you to discover the regulatory framework according to your navigation practices.
What do the rules say?
The marine regulations require a pleasure craft license for all motor boats above an engine power of 6 HP. According to the site service-public.fr:
"A Pleasure Craft License is required to operate a pleasure craft with an engine power greater than 4.5 kilowatts (6 horsepower), whether on sea or river."
Why sailboats are often manoeuvred without a license even though their engines are more than 6 HP?
In France, sailboats do not need a permit, we're going to focus on the sailing clubs a little further on.
The boating license is necessary to skipper motor yachts in France
|This pleasure boat license, or boating license, is required if you are sailing on a motorboat over 4.5 kW and this of course applies to all motorboats, even jet skis. The training for the boat license is itself regulated, it must take place in a school approved for the sea license.|
In France, you can consult Sport Découverte's selection of boating license schools. If you are in Beaulieu-sur-Mer we recommend the Agence Maritime (French). Generally, if you want to pass your license in the best conditions, we recommend spending 2 weeks on it. First of all, you have to "digest" the theory and also practice a little bit before taking the test, and then you also have to count the time it takes to register for the exam!
These 3 types of license free motorboats can navigate at sea :
Electric + Battery + Photovoltaic
The efficiency of the catamaran offers maximum size and comfort
The catamaran, with a surface area of 14 m2 is appreciated for its comfort because it is raised, with a real table for 6, spaces to lie down at the bow and stern. Its large sunroof protects from the sun's rays and, above all, allows you to return to port on your own. A safety and flexibility advantage if you need to rent by the hour.
Electric engine + batteries
The electric motor provides more thrust, allowing a larger design
This electric license-free boat is the logical evolution of the combustion boat, bigger with a surface near 10 m2, it does not emit CO2 which is a notable progress in terms of environment. Usually rented by the day or half a day, it must be recharged in the port before each trip.
Combustion engine + fuel
The compact size makes it possible to sail with a combustion engine at a small price
Thanks to its small size for a surface near 8 m2, the traditional license-free boat can be manoeuvred extremely easily. A short briefing of a few minutes is enough. Usually when we talk about boat without a license at sea, we think of this type of boat.
Where can we try all these self drive boats ?
To our knowledge, the marina of Beaulieu, between Nice and Monaco, offers the largest choice of self drive boat in France. All these boats are for rent at Beaulieu. SeaZen, author of this article, proposes sale and rental of Self Drive Boat aboard its solar powered catamaran.
Why is a boating license not required for sailing?
A sailboat can be driven without a license, even if the engine is over 6HP. The legislation is very consistent in this regard. One should not imagine that by adding a sail to a motorboat it will be able to be driven without a license. A sailboat is defined by the ratio between engine power and sail power. In fact, and to put it simply, a sailboat is a boat that potentially moves forward better if it uses its sails and less if it uses its engine. If it is the opposite, then it is a motor boat.
A sailboat can be skippered without a license in France
Driving a sailboat is more complex than driving a motorboat. So every skipper in his right mind understands that he needs a minimum of training before setting out to sea. This is why it is not necessary to have a motor boat license in France.
Which sailing club to choose?
Usually the sailing courses are given by the Sailing Schools under the quality label of French Sailing Federation. If you wish to practice without re-training, turn to the Nautical Club. In general the Sailing Schools are close to the Nautical Clubs.
The nautical clubs are very well distributed all along the coast of France. To choose your club, the first criterion is geographical. Then, the choice depends on what you are looking for. SeaZen being based in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, we recommend for its family spirit the Yacht Club de Beaulieu. To the West, the Club Nautique de Nice is recognized for national competition level. To the East, the Yacht Club de Monaco might be the most select in the world.
To sail is it necessary to buy, rent or practice in Boat Club?
Once you're experienced, you'll have only one desire... To sail! And then it all depends on your needs. Here are a few ideas to help you make your choice:
|Rent by hour||
Photos credit, © seaZen 2018