If you want to sail on the coast, you do not have to learn dinghy sailing first. Of course, this does not hurt and you can learn some special subtleties of sailing on small, light boats. But for many it is also simply a question of time and money when deciding which type of boat to choose.
Dinghy sailing Only if you are absolutely sure that you will be sailing exclusively dinghies on inland waters in the next few years, you should take your sports boat licence for inland sailing. This licence replaced the A-licence of the DSV in 1989. You do not have to acquire a basic licence or sailing licence beforehand. If you want, you can take a taster course, the fee for which will be credited when you subsequently acquire the sports boat licence.
Coastal Sailing If you want to sail on the coast, your first goal is the sport boat licence sea. Only then can you obtain the coastal boat licence, which includes the actual sea sailing training. This licence replaced the old BR licence in 1999. In theory you will deepen your nautical knowledge and learn the basics of sailing. As a prospective sailor, it is cheaper for you to book the sport boat driving licence and the theory training for the coastal sailing licence as a package (combined course).
Try before you buy You may as well start the training for the coastal navigation licence with practical experience. During a one to two week trip on the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, the North Sea or the IJsselmeer you will be introduced to sailing from its most beautiful side! At the end you will take the practical examination. You have 24 months time for the theoretical examination. But even with this variant, you must first obtain the sport boat licence for sailing.
How do I find the right training school? The water sports training should be completed in a yacht school or sailing school. Advantage: good service, often better equipment with teaching material, larger course offer. It is also important that the courses are held regularly. If something should come up during the course so that you cannot take the exam as planned, it is good to be able to re-enter at any time. Another advantage is that a teacher who gives lessons regularly and not just once or twice a year has more routine and can explain better. The German Sailing Association (DSV) not only conducts the examinations but also makes recommendations for the training centres. In these schools you can expect a recognized DSV standard. Should you be disappointed against expectations, you can complain to the DSV.
What else should I look out for? Take part in a course evening free of charge and without obligation! Pay attention not only to the atmosphere, but also check which teaching- and illustrative material is used. Inform yourself about all costs incurred. In addition to the course fee, there are examination fees (possibly also travel expenses for the examiners). The use of the boat during the examination is also subject to a fee (as with the motor vehicle driving licence). Teaching material, books, the official examination questionnaire folder, navigation equipment and the prescribed medical examination are also charged. Important questions that should be clarified in advance are: Is the practical training included in the course fee? Can you repeat the course free of charge if you have to interrupt it for private or professional reasons? When does the next course take place? Are combined courses (e.g. sea/ inland or sea/radio) cheaper?