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Old 14.08.2012, 18:16
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Important information for would-be mariners in Switzerland

(with particular reference to canton Zurich)

I went along to the Schiffahrtskontrolle in Oberrieden today in a (vain) last-ditch attempt to get a D-Schein on the basis of my existing qualifications rather than having to do the whole shebang from scratch again.

From the conversation it transpired that if you are moving into Switzerland, they are *only* allowed/willing/able to swap tickets issued in one of the surrounding countries, i.e. Germany, France, Italy and Austria. They are NOT allowed/willing/able to issue a ticket based on qualifications from anywhere else, irrespective of whether or not you already held the qualification before moving to CH. "Unless you happen to find an office that doesn't know the rules". Evidently this rule is a pan-Swiss rule, not canton-specific. Therefore if you have a UK/US/any other country qualification and want to use a boat in Switzerland that has > 15m2 sail area or > 4hp engine, you must take the entire qualification (D-Schein / A-Schein respectively) from scratch.

It should also be noted that there is such a thing as an A-Schein restricted to sailing boats, in case you want to put a larger outboard on your yacht and this would have to be taken separately from the D-Schein. This being the case, the intimation was that it is a pointless qualification and to just go straight to the A-Schein and dual-qualify. The theory exam is standard and applies to all classes of leisure vessel so you only need to do it once for both A-Schein and D-Schein. This also means you have to learn information that only pertains to motor vessels even if your intention is only to get the D-Schein, and vice versa.

In Oberrieden, the theory exam is also available in English - evidently it is a computer-based exam and you can not only select your language at the beginning, you can also toggle the language on each individual question, so if you have a problem with the terminology of one question in one language, you can swap language for that question only. I will verify and report back when I've done the exam myself.

In terms of canton Zurich, they are not at all fussed whose boat you do the practical exam in, providing it is properly fitted with the requisite equipment. An example they gave was that it would need to be fitted with windscreen wipers if it has an enclosed wheelhouse and it is raining - no problem if it's sunny. Therefore there is no requirement, from the exam side, to go via a sailing school. Obviously if you don't own a boat or have a friend who will lend you one, you will need to contact a school and they will (understandably) want to verify that you are indeed safe to be allowed out and up to exam standard.

As this is Switzerland, some of the requirements above may change from canton to canton so always check with your local Schiffahrtskontrolle. This info also only applies if you are resident in Switzerland and not to tourists.

Hope this helps

Last edited by eng_ch; 14.08.2012 at 18:42.
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Old 14.08.2012, 18:22
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Re: Important information for would-be mariners in Switzerland

Very fussy for a land-locked country .... yeah, yeah .... big lakes and rivers and such - but still not as tricky as the open seas.

So in order to go on the river you'd need a RheinSchein?
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Old 14.08.2012, 18:25
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Re: Important information for would-be mariners in Switzerland

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Very fussy for a land-locked country .... yeah, yeah .... big lakes and rivers and such - but still not as tricky as the open seas.

So in order to go on the river you'd need a RheinSchein?
I believe there is a section on Hochrhein-Theorie in the theory exam.

Oberrieden were at great pains to point out that the rules have nothing whatsoever to do with ability, it's purely politics.

I wondered if it was also worth adding a post in this thread to summarise cantonal requirements? I've posted Zurich's above; Slammer posted Basel's (and St Gallen's) in another thread. Maybe we can collate the info?
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