A holiday with a houseboat involves the pleasant risk that you will start to get enthusiastic about motorboating. The special thing about the houseboat trip is that you can be the "captain" of the boat in special areas even without a sport boat driving licence after a detailed briefing followed by a test drive.
Knowledge about the boat Of course there are a few things to consider when setting out on your first trips. Therefore the most important traffic rules for waterways, the behavior at anchorages and in locks, as well as knowledge for safety on board are obtained during the briefing. You will also learn about motorisation, how to perform various manoeuvres with the ship and how to behave in potentially dangerous situations, for example when someone should go overboard. If you later decide to take a sport boat licence, you already have a head start in knowledge, which makes the final test easier.
Big boats In comparison to sport boats a houseboat is a very large ship with a length of seven to 15 metres and a width of two to four metres. However, this should not deter, since houseboats are throttled to a maximum speed of 10 km/h, which gives enough time to react even at full speed. In addition, the boats are usually protected from damage by thick rubber strips and additional fenders, which come in handy during somewhat rougher mooring manoeuvres. Another advantage of a houseboat charter is that in case of any problems the charterer is only a phone call away and is happy to help.
Charter areas In Germany, for example, you can travel on the Mecklenburg Lake District, sections of the Müritz, Elbe and Havel rivers or in parts of the Saarland with a so-called charter certificate as a substitute for a driving licence. But also abroad, renting a houseboat for certain routes is often unproblematic, so that one can combine the first experiences on the boat with a holiday trip. Since in most cases a houseboat will take you through inland areas, i.e. rivers, lakes and canals, there is no real danger of getting lost even without navigational knowledge.
The sport boat licence If you decide to acquire driving licences to be allowed to drive other motorboats with motorization over 15 hp - boats with less than 15 hp (11.03 kW) can also be driven without a driving licence - then it is worth considering to start with the sport boat driving licence lake, since the driving licence for inland waters can then easily be acquired by a supplementary examination and so you have both licences in your pocket at the same time. Usually it takes about four weeks to learn the rules, the theory lessons, the final exam and the practical test. Since 2010 you also have to have a radiotelephony certificate SRC (Short Range Certificate) as skipper!