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The information below is intended to provide answers to questions that come up regularly. It is not intended as a comprehensive guide and it has limited applicability. Please read the countries introduction to ensure that it is appropriate to you. The standard documentation a UK flagged pleasure vessel operating outside UK Territorial Waters should carry is detailed on the paperwork page.

UK Government travel advice

FCDO advice including information on permitted duration of stay and visas for Germany:

Evidence of competence

For information on the validity of RYA certificates abroad see Evidence of Competence Abroad.

Where evidence of competence is requested, as long as the certificate holder is a visitor, does not stay in Germany for more than a year without interruption and does not have a residence in Germany, an ICC should be acceptable as follows:

Coastal Waters including Zone 1 and 2 waterways: there is no maximum length for which the German 'Sportbootführerschein' is valid for coastal waters and therefore acceptance of the ICC should have no upper length limit. 

Zone 3 and 4 waterways: evidence of competence is required. A valid ICC should be accepted as evidence of competence for UK flagged vessels of less than 20m in length other than on the River Rhine where it is only accepted for vessels less than 15m in length in accordance with Germany's adoption of Resolution 40.

For larger vessels, a German certificate (either a Rhine Sportpatent or Sportschifferzeugnis for the other Zone 3 and 4 waterways and, if necessary, a Streckenkundenachweis) is required. At present there is no licence issued in the UK that is acceptable for UK flagged vessels over 20m in length that wish to navigate the Zone 3 and 4 waterways in Germany.

Map which shows the German waterway zones.

German translations of many RYA certificates and their related course syllabus are available from the RYA website.

Standard entry and exit formalities

EU member state (part of the customs territory of the EU (which includes territorial waters)).  Further information is provided on the Entry & Exit Formalities page under Customs - EU Member States.

Part of the Schengen area.

As part of the customs territory of the EU (which includes territorial waters) and the Schengen area customs and immigration checks may not always be required on arrival and departure.


On both inland and coastal waters, it is forbidden to be in control of or at the helm of a boat if the concentration of alcohol in your breath is 0.25 mg/l or more and the blood alcohol concentration is above 0.5 mg/100ml.


Signatory to the Regional Arrangement Concerning the Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways (RAINWAT). Where a VHF is required or is to be used on the inland waterways of RAINWAT signatory countries, the set must be ATIS enabled and vessels must comply with the requirements of the RAINWAT.


Kiel Canal - Guidance for operators of recreational craft