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Old 25.06.2021, 22:31
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I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

Had a couple of drinks with my English neighbor yesterday and he used to have a boat here in Geneva a few years back. So decided it's high time I do the same. I like wakeboarding a lot, and I think my kids will enjoy it as well in a couple of years.
So for this I need: a boat license, a parking spot, and a boat.
The boat is easy to get. The parking spot, seems that I need to get on the ball and get on the waiting list - if I don't want straight from the dock and accept to paddle to the boat for a few years I should be able to manage it in one year. Will likely apply in July - anything I should know?

The real question is regarding the boat license. I know more or less how to drive a motor boat - but I will need my wife to get her license otherwise I won't be able to do much wakeboarding... She is not super keen on the idea so I need to make it as easy and fast as possible for her. What's your recommendations for someone who has gone through the process?

Also is there maybe an advantage in parking your boat French side? From a license and parking perspective? I only know about the Swiss side of the lake Geneva.

Any tips etc.. more than welcome. I will be buying something used sub 40k that just gives enough of a wake to have fun, and I'll definitely have someone else with me advising me. Is there maybe a more economical way to buy a boat than to getting it in Switzerland?
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Old 25.06.2021, 22:35
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

Goto Croatia, do the B permit (1 day theory), and then get the RYA license in Croatia. Then get the ICC.



Can all be done in a week, quite relaxed
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Old 25.06.2021, 22:44
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

check the regulations, from what I understood from my dad (he s in the process of doing it), the Swiss mandate that you take the license in your canton of residency. they do not accept foreign licenses for Swiss citizen. how this is done for foreigners you have to check, but I wouldnt be surprised if they have some kind of follow up test or something.
all information can be found the same place as where you find the info for car/scooter/motor cycle driving etc. here in Zurich that s the Strassenverkehrsamt, however that translates to French
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Old 26.06.2021, 18:14
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

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Goto Croatia, do the B permit (1 day theory), and then get the RYA license in Croatia. Then get the ICC.



Can all be done in a week, quite relaxed

... but can't be used on Swiss lakes, only abroad.
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Old 26.06.2021, 18:21
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

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check the regulations, from what I understood from my dad (he s in the process of doing it), the Swiss mandate that you take the license in your canton of residency. they do not accept foreign licenses for Swiss citizen. how this is done for foreigners you have to check, but I wouldnt be surprised if they have some kind of follow up test or something.
all information can be found the same place as where you find the info for car/scooter/motor cycle driving etc. here in Zurich that s the Strassenverkehrsamt, however that translates to French
Assuming you're looking at a motor boat, you need the A-Schein/permis A. You need to take the theory test and once you've passed that, you have to take and pass the practical within 18 months otherwise you have to do the theory again.

Regardless of your nationality, if you don't already hold the Swiss ticket, you will have to start from scratch even if you hold a foreign certificate (unless that is a French, German, Austrian or Italian one). The ICC is only valid here for visitors or for the first 12 months after moving to Switzerland. If you qualify after you move to CH, a non-Swiss qualification is not valid here.

Obviously your previous experience will help you, but I would strongly advise you to take some (private) lessons as the instructor will know exactly what the examiners here are looking for, which may not be the same as you've learned in another system. I would also say from experience that the examiners can be exceedingly picky, depending where you do the exam. There's also a gotcha that means an automatic fail if you're not aware of it - a motor boat *has* to depart from the shore/marina at 90° to the shore for the first 150 m - even if nipping round to the next jetty/marina.

As someone mentioned above, you are generally required to take the exam in your canton of residence unless you can meet one of a list of criteria that allow you to take it out of canton. The authority responsible is the Schifffahrtskontrolle/Office de navigation in your canton, which is part of the Strassenverkehrsamt/Office de circulation.
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Old 27.06.2021, 07:43
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

Getting a slip at a marina will vary depending on the Marina, as an example I have been annually renewing my waitlist for one at nearby Marina...for 6 years. Meanwhile my father in law at same Marina (he takes his out nearly daily) says the great majority of the boats in the Marina never are even used

Too many expats with a feeling they want a boat only to never use it

In other words, bear in mind where you hope to be successful in finding a spot
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Old 27.06.2021, 08:17
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

There are regularly lessons for sale on Buyclub .. This one is expired but shows the provider.

As FCBarca says it's the parking spot which is difficult .. My neighbour has been waiting years and eventually struck a deal with somebody who was giving theirs up.. They kept it in the previous name but neighbour pays, otherwise the spot would have gone back to the pool.
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Old 28.06.2021, 01:28
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

This looks pretty much too good to be true, not least because it may keep your wife from needing to take the test. Well, maybe it *is* too good to be true.

Otherwise, since you need a boat, buying a combo boat+parking place may be worth considering. Expect a "nice" 5-figure amount for the parking spot alone, just like real estate the price will depend a lot on location and size and is open-ended.

Alternatively you could park the boat on a trailer and water it each time. But that requires a trailer, an unusually long parking spot for the trailer, plus a ... coupling(?) ... on your car. And you need to be two each time to water and unwater.

Assuming the test on the Léman today is anything like the one on the Lake of Constance 20 years ago:
The theory test is easy. Read the booklet a few times and you're pretty much ready.

For the practice test you'll need to know where the boat's equipment is (vests, hooks, etc) and the regulation on ship lights and colors. The tester won't care if it's sunny, rainy, windy, Föhn, or whatever (cue landing difficulty). The tester may want to see any of the following: proper landing/unlanding (forwards and/or backwards, larboard and/or starboard) and head-on with mooring. 360° turn on the spot, man-over-board emergency rescue manoeuvre, a few different (very basic) knots. Leaving and entering the inner and outer shore zone.

The Léman is international waters, there will probably be specific regulations you need to know. And you'll need to be familiar with the Swiss shoreline, the tester may (probably will) say "let's go to xyz harbor" and you'll need to make your way there, probably with man-over-board somewhere on the way.

Do plan for practice lessons with a licensed teacher. If this way of land and unland is Greek to you it'll probably be a double-digit number of hours. That is, unless they dont' care on the Léman how you do these manoeuvres.
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Old 28.06.2021, 09:04
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

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Do plan for practice lessons with a licensed teacher. If this way of land and unland is Greek to you it'll probably be a double-digit number of hours. That is, unless they dont' care on the Léman how you do these manoeuvres.
Recalling my lessons and motor exam, that first clip (mooring) would fail in Zurich. Slow is good, his first manoeuvre left him far too far away from the dock so he had to firk his way in, and he's put fenders out which is a big no-no for the Zurich exam. In Zurich they want you to stop max. 50 cm from the dock - but without touching it and no fenders - on first attempt.
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Old 28.06.2021, 12:29
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

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Recalling my lessons and motor exam, that first clip (mooring) would fail in Zurich. Slow is good, his first manoeuvre left him far too far away from the dock so he had to firk his way in, and he's put fenders out which is a big no-no for the Zurich exam. In Zurich they want you to stop max. 50 cm from the dock - but without touching it and no fenders - on first attempt.
I remember them being slightly less anal here, though not by much. But the clip and voiceover is by a boating teacher on a Swiss lake who lauds the skipper for his demonstration of skill, so apparently practice varies.
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Old 28.06.2021, 14:39
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Re: I should buy a boat - where do i start boat license

I know some guys who boat share. One boat with 5 people sharing, and the other with 3.

Main advantage is that the costs are shared and they can wakeboard together.

As they can afford to buy new boats, they bought boats from dealers who provide parking lots as part of the deal.

I also see that the boat with 5 gets hardly used because they are all too busy working/travelling/babies, etc. So I get invited to come along as I have a licence . In the past year though, the boat was used a lot.
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