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Old 30.05.2009, 16:34
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Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Hi there,

I would like to get training in english for a motorboat license in Vaud. Has anybody else done this or know of someone that can do this over a day or 2. I owned a wakeboarding boat in lochness and would like to do the same here.

Does nayone know if I can sit the practical and theory exams in english ?

Does anyone know of any restrictions of speed or wakeboarding restrictions on lake leman ?

Thank you kindly for any guidance / help,

Cheers
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  #2  
Old 08.06.2020, 11:52
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Bumping an old thread here. I would like to get my boating license as well, first to clarify if much has changed/evolved in the theoretical/didactic info. VKS has a 13th edition (2017) available but father in law passed a couple of years ago with a 1998 edition of the manual.

Anyone done this recently with some info to possible share?
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  #3  
Old 19.06.2020, 16:16
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Have a look at sail.ch

There is an app for android / iOS (but in German) mentioned on the site.

Looking at getting my licenses (sailing and power) soon on Zurich Lake.
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Old 14.06.2021, 20:47
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Is it possible to take the course in English or not?
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Old 15.06.2021, 09:39
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

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Is it possible to take the course in English or not?
If it's the same as other cantons, you can take the theory exam in English (well, a sort of English, remembering when I did it), but the practical exam has to be taken in the local language.

You could try putting together a glossary of nautical terminology in that language so you aren't completely at sea (or get someone to help you do so). There are also a number of multilingual dictionaries - I have the "Internationales Yachtwörterbuch", which I bought in a major bookshop in Zurich, but that might be overkill.
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Old 10.02.2022, 19:05
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Signed up early last year to do the theory but did not have the time then. So now on a mission with the Theory exam booked towards the end of March

Bought the standard book that comes in the 3 local languages and gives you access to an app for a year. Will translate some of the important parts to try and learn.

Anyone have any other suggestions to prepare for the theory exam?
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  #7  
Old 10.02.2022, 23:24
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Ordered from Amazon:

The Useful Knots Book: How to Tie the 25+ Most Practical Rope Knots: How to Tie the 25+ Most Practical Knots (Escape, Evasion, and Survival, Band 8)
Fury, Sam
- More for my partner than me as I am pretty good with knots...

Maritime Praxisbegriffe: Deutsch - Englisch - Französisch
Schulze, Michael


Das illustrierte Yachtwörterbuch: Deutsch - Englisch - Französisch - Dänisch - Niederländisch -Spanisch - Italienisch - Portugiesisch - Griechisch
Bird, Vanessa

Yacht-Wörterbuch: Englisch-Deutsch /Deutsch-Englisch
Schult, Joachim

And busy translating the Swiss ' Lehrbuch' and found a study partner

Hopefully pass this so can then do the Powerboat Practical for the boat we hope to have on Zurich lake.
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Old 03.03.2022, 11:22
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Anyone done this recently or in the process of doing this?

Have the vks book which in only in the national languages including the online app for learning and doing tests, but you can do the theory in English, practical must be in one of the national languages so will do this in German.

For learning, the VKS app seems to work well in Chrome (translating), but the tests don't.
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Old 03.03.2022, 11:58
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

I would learn for the Theory in the language you will do the practical test. It's not that difficult as the questions are standard and if you use the apps you can actually just learn the answers straight off.

But, you have to do the practical in German and in the practical they can (and will) ask you theory questions too. I got asked right of way questions and questions about "inner und aussereufferzonen" amongst others in the practical test.

In my opinion, you are slightly shooting yourself in the foot doing the theory in English. I learned for the Theory using the app and did the tests over and over again until I was getting all the answers correct every time and then registered for the theory test.
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Old 04.03.2022, 17:43
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

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I would learn for the Theory in the language you will do the practical test. It's not that difficult as the questions are standard and if you use the apps you can actually just learn the answers straight off.

But, you have to do the practical in German and in the practical they can (and will) ask you theory questions too. I got asked right of way questions and questions about "inner und aussereufferzonen" amongst others in the practical test.

In my opinion, you are slightly shooting yourself in the foot doing the theory in English. I learned for the Theory using the app and did the tests over and over again until I was getting all the answers correct every time and then registered for the theory test.
OK, thanks. Have no problem doing the practical in German, but theory hmm, well lets see...
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Old 08.03.2022, 22:06
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

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OK, thanks. Have no problem doing the practical in German, but theory hmm, well lets see...
Ok, trying this the hardway and learning to answer the questions in German (with some translation). Less than 2 weeks to go, but not working and can dedicate a lot of time to this.

Copying all the questions each time I do it into a word doc, eventually I should have all the questions in a doc (hopefully).
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Old 09.03.2022, 11:22
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

My experience from last year. I don't speak German.
Canton Zug didn't offer exam in English.
I applied to take the test in Canton Zurich. All good.
  1. I did not take the test serous. I didn't study. I failed theory.
  2. I studied, but very little, failed again for 5 points.
  3. Studied a lot = Passed theory the third time.
I used the phone app from these folks www.bootsschule.ch
Broken English used both in the app and on the test in Zurich.
Although I was passing the exam with 0 negative on the app, when I arrived on test day, the official test had questions formulated in another broken English. I got stuck on few questions, but I passed.
My practical test was in Arth - Kanton Schwyz. I applied to Canton to Zug to allow me to take the test in Canotn Schwyz. My instructor was Thomas Wengel, based in Immensee.

https://www.yci.ch/index.php?option=...=94&Itemid=484

As I holiday in Croatia and Greece in the summer (Swiss boat licence is not valid there) I just returned from Southampton (www.solentboatevents.co.uk) were I did powerboat level 2 + passed the VHF radio exam. Powerboat level 2 issued on the spot. ICC coming to me in few weeks. I'm so glad I did this course. I was hoping we will go in more rough sea, but nevertheless it was a good experience to get some qualification on waters where high tide was 4.7 meters compared with Croatia and Greece where high tide is less than 50 cm.

My advice RE Swiss boat licence is: Take the test seriously and study well.

After powerboat level 2, I was hooked to do Powerboat level 3 and 4. But again, they don't go to far out at sea.

Wondering, what course will go out at sea, far from shore in more rough seas?
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Old 09.03.2022, 11:51
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

After returning to Switzerland last year did I want to exchange my German boat license for a Swiss one. I know that CH accepts them... but apparently do I have to make the theory test again... so I am in the market for the best learning materials ;-)
Will need to book a test in SZ this spring.

Fun fact that might be interesting for some: While you have one year to exchange your car license is it apparently two years to do so for boating licenses. While I had to give up some rights from my car license (well, "volunteered" to do so in order to save quite some costs...), do I apparently keep my German license on top of the Swiss one as mine is valid for the ocean and the Swiss ones are not.
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Old 10.03.2022, 10:27
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

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My experience from last year. I don't speak German.
Canton Zug didn't offer exam in English.
I applied to take the test in Canton Zurich. All good.
  1. I did not take the test serous. I didn't study. I failed theory.
  2. I studied, but very little, failed again for 5 points.
  3. Studied a lot = Passed theory the third time.
I used the phone app from these folks www.bootsschule.ch
Broken English used both in the app and on the test in Zurich.
Although I was passing the exam with 0 negative on the app, when I arrived on test day, the official test had questions formulated in another broken English. I got stuck on few questions, but I passed.
I think this is the issue. I only did the questions in German and when I thought too much about translating them into English I sometimes got into trouble. Common sense is allowed when doing the test in other countries, it's not in Switzerland. They want it one way and one way only and some of the questions lose something in translation. There were questions for me when I translated it in my head and thought about the answer, I'd have answered it differently to what was expected from them in German.

I would say just learn the terms in German and do all the practice tests in German. It might take more time, but there are no surprises when you go in on the exam day. I was in and out of the theory exam in under 10 minutes because I just recognised the questions and knew the answers straight away.


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As I holiday in Croatia and Greece in the summer (Swiss boat licence is not valid there) I just returned from Southampton (www.solentboatevents.co.uk) were I did powerboat level 2 + passed the VHF radio exam. Powerboat level 2 issued on the spot. ICC coming to me in few weeks. I'm so glad I did this course. I was hoping we will go in more rough sea, but nevertheless it was a good experience to get some qualification on waters where high tide was 4.7 meters compared with Croatia and Greece where high tide is less than 50 cm.

My advice RE Swiss boat licence is: Take the test seriously and study well.

After powerboat level 2, I was hooked to do Powerboat level 3 and 4. But again, they don't go to far out at sea.

Wondering, what course will go out at sea, far from shore in more rough seas?
In most cases, you get rough water handling in the RYA Powerboat advanced course. I actually even did it (and used to teach it) for the old Level 4 (Safety Boat) course back in the day when I was an RYA instructor. They say that the Advanced Powerboat is close to a level of Coastal Skipper with night navigation, passage planning etc and dealing with rough weather is also something that should be considered part of the course.

Having said that, just because you've done a course on it does not mean you should just go out and hammer a rental boat somewhere in rough weather. Not all boats are created equal and the handling is different. The boats that are usually commercially rented are often not so up to taking a hammering and in the contracts, it often says what maximum conditions you can use them in.

I rented a RIB as a support boat for a sailing regatta on the west coast of France last summer. The boat did not have as much V as it should for the conditions (and for trying to hammer up to the weather mark ahead of the fleet), half way through the week the boat had a crack on the windscreen which eventually popped out and the anchor had split the plywood floor of it's locker. This was largely due to it being a bit more designed for families cruising on sunny days rather than being hammered straight upwind in 20 knots of wind against tide conditions.

I didn't have to pay for the repairs as I was quite open about what I was using the boat for when I rented it and they accepted that. I've also chartered sailing yachts and in the fine print of the contract with the last company I chartered from it said that the sails shouldn't be hoisted in more than a force 5!!!
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Old 28.03.2022, 17:09
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Past the Theory last week (5 Errors, to pass you can have a max of 15 errors). Have quite a lot of experience, mainly sailing/racing and have many qualifications (Tidal advance when I was 14 years old next level was instructor which can only be done at 16) and did the 'RYA powerboat 2' course 18 months ago.

Used the VKS material you can buy that comes with a login that includes tests (in German, Italian, French). In the actual test you can use English.

The questions in the VKS tool are EXACTLY the ones in the test and you can do it in English. The order of the answers are not the same though.

The questions are multiple test with three possible answers where one or two could be what you need to select. Result is based on the number of errors so quite tough.

- I did the test in English
- I did the practise in German and used Deepl to translate as needed, some questions are very easy in German, some more wordy ones I needed Deepl
- you have to be careful to understand the question e.g. who has right of way vs who needs to give way.

Next step is to start my practical for power boats and get out on the water in May
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Old 16.08.2022, 10:34
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

How did the practical go? Did you manage to pass it?

Has anyone used boatdriver.ch for the theory? Is it enough, or should I do the VKS translation route as well?
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Old 16.08.2022, 10:50
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

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Has anyone used boatdriver.ch for the theory? Is it enough, or should I do the VKS translation route as well?
I have tested all the apps and websites I found. I decided on www.bootspruefung24.ch - got the "pro" version of the App on my iPhone and exclusively used this app to prepare by just doing prep exam after prep exam. I dont know if they offer English as I am a German speaker... so obviously did the theory in German. The exam questions in the app and exam were 100% identical. I passed with 0 mistakes. If you dont speak any German is it not an option... but I would argue that anyone can memorize the multiple choice questions and answers even if you are not a fluent German speaker... most of them are very repetitive, at least half have images and usually is "no, you cant" the correct answer... I am certain I could do so in French or Italian while not speaking any of that.
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Old 16.08.2022, 19:49
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

Yes, passed the theory and practical. In the end I mainly used the online VKS tests and kept doing them till I stopped selecting the wrong answers. Some questions are simple/obvious and I did not need to translate, but some I did translate but learned the German too. The test can be done in English and the questions are exactly the same as the one's in the practise tests. My German is ca. B1 level.
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Old 07.09.2022, 03:34
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

bumping thread with a partially related question:

has anyone successfully converted their foreign boat license to a Swiss one? i currently hold one from the US (New York), and will be a non resident spending some weeks/months in Switzerland. is the conversion even necessary (or would my US license be recognized)?
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Old 07.09.2022, 11:03
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Re: Motor Boat License training & exams for English

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bumping thread with a partially related question:

has anyone successfully converted their foreign boat license to a Swiss one? i currently hold one from the US (New York), and will be a non resident spending some weeks/months in Switzerland. is the conversion even necessary (or would my US license be recognized)?
Non-residents cannot convert their license and typically dont need to. My German license was fine for renting boats in Switzerland within the first 12 months after moving... by then I needed to have it converted. The conversion seems to differ from Canton to canton... I needed to re-do the theory exam in SZ while a friend in Zurich just needed to pay a fee and thats all.

I have no idea if US licenses are accepted - for cars is it no problem, but when it comes to boating are the Swiss authorities a bit difficult. I somehow remember that they only accept the papers of the neighbouring countries DE, F, I and A... but that might have been "accepted for an easy conversion". You will need to ask for your specific license.

Last edited by Treverus; 07.09.2022 at 11:23.
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