Get your boat license in France
There are several types of boat license in France. Each license allows navigation in very specific waters. If you want to buy a boat in the Indian Ocean and sail, it is mandatory to pass your boat license.
We present here the different permits in France and their usefulness as well as the content of the tests for each one.
The coastal license or Yachtmaster coastal
This license is compulsory to sail aboard a pleasure boat of more than 6CV less than 6 nautical miles from the coast.
The training includes 13 hours of theory and 3 hours of practice at sea. You will start after the theoretical training with a MCQ of 25 questions on the rules of navigation at sea, 4 errors will be tolerated at most.
The practical exam will include several aspects including leaving a port, turning and reversing, rescue maneuvers, safety, and all the rules of navigation. Your understanding of beacons and signals will also be checked.
You must be at least 16 years old to hold this permit.
To pass the coastal license in Reunion you will have to go to an approved training establishment in the department.
Pleasure river permit or yachtmaster offshore
This license will allow you to sail on river waters and rivers on board a boat less than 20m long. It is recommended to pass the coastal license beforehand, this will save you from taking an additional practical test. Must be at least 16 years old.
This permit includes training on traffic rules, knowledge of the environment, visual and sound beacons, signage as well as prevention and safety.
As for the coastal licence, you will pass a MCQ exam of 25 questions with a maximum of 4 errors tolerated.
The large inland waterway permit
In the continuity of the river pleasure permit, this permit is intended for people over 18 and allows you to navigate aboard a boat over 20m.
The training of 9h minimum includes the following subjects: Traffic rules, knowledge of the environment and visual and sound beacons, signage as well as prevention and safety.
The exam includes a practical test on a boat of more than 20m, the passage of the locks, the U-turn, the mooring, the docking, the mechanics of the boat, and the safety standards as well as a QCM of 25 questions with 4 errors tolerated.
The offshore license or yachtmaster ocean
To pass this permit, you must hold a coastal permit. This is the highest level of boating, this license allows you to navigate the high seas without restriction. It is a difficult exam that requires good preparation and practice.
The program of the training course is as follows: learn to read a nautical chart, navigation according to the winds, currents, bearings and heading, know the lighthouses, the equipment for navigation, and the notions of safety at sea.
The exam is only theoretical, you will have to obtain 10/20 on the whole test and 7/14 on the minimum map reading.
The test includes: a MCQ, calculation of the tides, use of equipment, reading the weather forecast, knowledge of safety and rescue, map reading.
The Boat Pavilion
If you hold an offshore license or yachtmaster ocean, it is essential to fully understand the principle of flags.
The law requires your boat to have and fly the French flag (the French flag at the back of each ship). This represents an international registration and stipulates that your boat is under French law on the high seas and that you are not illegal or pirating.
It is a maritime signal which determines the nationality of the boat, which may moreover be different from that of the crew. The flag of the boat determines the legislation under which it evolves, not the nationality of the crew.