Even if you want to sail on the coast later, it doesn't harm to learn dinghy sailing first. On these small, light boats, beginners can learn some special subtleties in sailing.
The basic sailing license Theoretically, no official license is required for sailing - with the exception of Berlin and Lake Constance. However, certificates of competence are required on a number of inland waters. It is best to find out directly from local authorities or water sports schools if a permit is required for sailing. You can do the basic sailing license for dinghy or catamaran sailing in a course that teaches the basic skills of sailing and thus provides a solid foundation for a career in sailing. With the license, dinghies or catamarans can be rented on all waters - with the exception of Berlin and Lake Constance.
Dinghy sailing If you have caught the sailing fever and would like to sail exclusively on inland waters in the next few years, you should take the next step with the sport boat license inland (sailing). This license replaced the A license of the DSV in 1989. In some inland areas in northern and central Germany, the SBF Binnen is mandatory under sail. This license is also required for windsurfing on Berlin waters.
Coastal Sailing Once again, a good base is the key. The Verband Deutscher Sportbootschulen e.V. (VDS) for example, offers a basic sailing yacht certificate, in which the basics of yacht sailing are taught in a practical course. The next step to yacht sailing is the sport boat license sea. After that you can take the sport coastal vessel license, which includes the actual 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?
*Regulations apply for Germany. For other countries please contact your local watersports schools.
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