Sport boat

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Sailing yachts belong to the sport boats

A pleasure craft is a watercraft with at least one hull that is used for recreational enjoyment on the water. Rafts do not count as pleasure craft; they are floating bodies. Sports boats include motor and sailing boats and yachts. The motorization and the size of the crew are irrelevant. The length of sports boats is not uniformly limited in German and European law. The defined hull length for a sport boat from 2.5 m to 24 m results from the European CE sport boat directive and is not generally binding. The German sport boat license inland , on the other hand, is only valid up to 15 m in length on the Rhine, on the other inland waters up to 20 m in length, on the maritime waterways without length restrictions (Section 1 of the Second Ordinance on Amending Sport Boat Regulations in the Sea and Inland Area, Federal Law Gazette I No. 24 dated May 9, 2017). A generally applicable legal delimitation of the pleasure craft is therefore not possible. According to European law, sports boats do not include canoes, kayaks, racing rowing boats, surfboards and other watercraft only used in the bank area, as well as personal watercraft . Pleasure craft used within the European Economic Area are divided into one of four design categories according to their seaworthiness .

Traffic rules

According to the legal situation in Germany , the Sea Shipping Road Regulations (SeeSchStrO) only contain special regulations for recreational craft with regard to the Kiel Canal (§§ 41–52 SeeSchStrO). The simplified light guidance for sailing and rowing boats up to 12 m (§ 10 SeeSchStrO) applies practically only to pleasure craft. The collision prevention rules that also apply on German maritime waterways do not contain any special regulations for pleasure craft.

According to the German Inland Waterways Regulations (BinSchStrO), pleasure boats (like all other vehicles) are considered small vehicles if they are less than 20 m in length ( § 1.01 number 14 BinSchStrO ). Tugs, ferries and passenger ships for at least 12 people - colloquially summarized as "professional shipping" - are expressly excluded from the term small vehicles ( § 1.01 number 14 letters a to e BinSchStrO ), which is why they are usually privileged in terms of traffic law.


An approval that would require a technical examination or similar is not required in Germany. Austrian pleasure craft, on the other hand, require a licensing procedure with technical acceptance, both inside and outside Germany (at sea).

The labeling regulations differ in Germany for inland and sea waters. Small vehicles require an official license plate or an officially recognized license plate in accordance with inland waterway regulations. Small vehicles that can be moved with muscle power, such as row boats, dinghies, canoes and kayaks, sailing boats without a motor with a length of up to 5.50 m, motor boats with no more than 2.21 kW (3 HP) drive power, are not subject to labeling . On the maritime waterways only personal watercraft need an official license plate. This is assigned in accordance with the regulations on the marking of small vehicles on inland waterways.

Driving license requirements

In order to be allowed to drive a pleasure craft up to 15 m in length on the Rhine, on the other German federal waterways up to 20 m, on the sea waterways without length restrictions, a pleasure craft license inland or sea ​​is required, depending on the area of ​​travel , provided that the engine output exceeds 11 kW (15 HP) (on the Rhine the limit is 5 HP and therefore lower). The same driving licenses are required for longer pleasure craft as for commercial watercraft. On German state waters, the regulations can be more relaxed (e.g. no driving license on Bavarian waters). Other documents that can be acquired for pleasure craft in Germany are not officially required and are therefore only to be regarded as additional certificates of competence .

Commercial pleasure craft

Commercially used pleasure craft are subject to special regulations in Germany or abroad under the German flag. A basic distinction is made between leasing the vehicle alone without providing a boat driver (bare boat charter) and chartering it with the provision of a boat driver. Vehicles used in the bare boat charter are subject to the recreational craft regulation or the marine recreational craft regulation . The chartering out of vehicles with the provision of a boat driver in the area of ​​the German shipping lanes and the adjoining waters of the German territorial sea is subject to the Ship Safety Ordinance (SchSV). This regulates structural, equipment and operational requirements in the "Directive on safety regulations for sports vehicles used commercially for training purposes".

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. accessed on February 2, 2016
  2. Leaflet of the WSA Lübeck on the marking of small vehicles on inland waterways
  3. Regulations for shipping on Bavarian waters, see § 5 there, which requires driving licenses only for passenger ships, goods ships or a floating device, but not for other vehicles such as pleasure boats.
  4. Ordinance on the commissioning of pleasure craft and personal watercraft as well as their rental and commercial use in the coastal area (See-Sportbootverordnung - SeeSpbootV) Annex 4 (to Section 15 (2)) Occupation of commercially used pleasure boats. Federal Ministry of Justice, 2010, accessed on March 7, 2016 .