A boat license for sailboats? The Government's Response

Sailing schools are a good alternative to a boat licence for sailboats

The government responded to a question from LREM MP Annaig Le Meur on the need for a boating licence for sailboat operators. A global approach to safety at sea.

MP concerned about sailboat training for boaters

The deputy of Finistère Annaig Le Meur, a member of the majority, addressed a written question to the Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, in charge of pleasure boating. Entitled "Training of recreational boat users", the elected representative's question was about the relevance of the lack of mandatory training and licences for sailing. The inexperience of boaters would increase "the risks for people on or near sailing boats" and monopolize "many resources for rescue services", says the MP, citing the figure of 1830 people rescued in 2016 on sailing boats by the SNSM. It therefore calls for government measures to "establish a minimum level of knowledge to be acquired by users of sailing pleasure craft

The government opposed to the boat licence for sailing

In the response below, the government clearly indicates that it does not consider it necessary to introduce a sailing licence. The apprehension for sailing, considered more complex than motorboating, encourages a voluntary training approach.

"The provisions relating to the current driving licence for motor pleasure craft were introduced by Decree No. 2007-1167 of 2 August 2007. They reflect the decisions of the Inter-ministerial Committee for the Sea of 16 February 2004 on the administrative simplification of the permit procedure, the modernisation of programmes and the accreditation of training institutions. Approximately 90,000 permits are issued each year following a practical and theoretical examination. The exemption of pleasure craft from the driving licence for sailing boats, which has taken over previous regulations, is due to specific reasons. Indeed, unlike powerboating, the ability to steer a sailing ship requires a long and technical apprenticeship. The neophyte in sailing must, because of the specificity of the practice, commit himself to a training path. The latter is provided by sailing schools, of which there are about a thousand. The number of "sailing passports" exceeded 300,000 in 2018. The purpose of the licence for motor vessels, in addition to knowledge of the general rules of navigation, is above all to alert the boat owner to dangers that he or she may not be aware of because of the apparent simplicity of manoeuvring his or her boat, as well as its speed and its possible consequences for other users of the water body. The problem posed by the number of requests for assistance from sailboat pilots, and, more generally, by all water sports enthusiasts, is not underestimated, but, in the immediate future, the government's thoughts focus more on modernising the examination of the pleasure craft licence and its organisation, rather than extending it to other types of navigation. The creation in 2018 of an observatory of nautical leisure accidentology (SNOSAN) will provide more precise data and figures on the number of interventions and their cause."

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