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Boating in the summer is a very fun activity, especially if you have a boat at your disposal and live close to water. But to sail a motorboat, you must know the rules well. When is a boating license required and which outboard motor is best for each boating license? Secondhand Outboard Motors gives you an explanation.

Please note: the following information and regulations apply in the Netherlands. If you live in another country, different rules may apply there.

Sailing without a boating license

You do not always need a boating license to drive a motorboat. When do you not need a boating license? As a rule, you can drive boats with a length of up to 15 meters and a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour without a boating license.

Sailing without a boating license is also age-related. For example, you can drive a motorboat without a boating license from the age of 12. The condition for this is that the boat is no longer than 7 meters and it can sail at a maximum speed of 13 kilometers per hour. A rowing boat, pedal boat or canoe that is no longer than 7 meters may be operated by all ages.

When is a boating license required?

Above we told you when you can drive a boat without a boating license. However, it is mandatory to have a boating license if the motorboat you are sailing is longer than 15 meters or can travel faster than 20 kilometers per hour. The minimum age to drive a motorboat for which a boating license is required is 18 years.

Types of boating licenses

Do you need a boating license for your boat or motorcycle? Or would you like to obtain a boating license? We distinguish four types of boating licenses: the Small Boating License (consisting of I and II), the Large Pleasure Boating License, the Limited Large Boating License and the Large Boating License. We are happy to explain to you when you need which boating license.

Sailing license for small boats

The Small Boating License (KVB) exists for small pleasure craft. The Small Boating License consists of Small Boating License I and Small Boating License II. Basically, you need a Small Boating License for pleasure boats with a length of 15 to 25 meters and with a minimum speed of 20 kilometers per hour. For pleasure boats, think of rubber boats, motorboats, watercraft and jet skis. Furthermore, the Small Boating License is mandatory for ships that are used for business purposes and are 15 to 20 meters long.

Small Boating License I (Klein Vaarbewijs I)

With a Small Boating License I you can sail on rivers, canals and lakes, including Gouwzee and Randmeren. However, you are not allowed to enter seaports and sail on larger inland waterways with a Small Boating License I.

Small Boating License II (Klein Vaarbewijs II)

A Small Boating License II is required to enter seaports. A Small Boating License II is also required for sailing on larger inland waterways, such as the Western Scheldt, the Oosterschelde, the IJsselmeer, the Markermeer, the Wadden Sea, the IJmeer and the Eems and Dollard.

Large Pleasure Boating License (Groot Pleziervaartbewijs)

The Large Pleasure Boating License (GPb) is mandatory for:

  • A pleasure boat from 25 to 40 meters long.
  • Pleasure boats that require access to large waters.
  • A boat with more than 12 paying passengers and a size of 20 meters or more.

To obtain the Large Pleasure Boating License, you must first be in possession of the Small Boating License.

Limited Large Boating License (Beperkt Groot Vaarbewijs)

The Limited Large Boating License (BGVB) is required for commercial shipping. If you sail ships between 20 and 40 meters commercially, this license is mandatory. You also need a Limited Large Boating License for a tug or push boat with a length of 25 to 40 meters that you only use as a pleasure vessel.

Large Boating License (Groot Vaarbewijs)

You need the Large Boating License (GVB) for large commercial shipping. This type of boating license is mandatory for commercial vessels with a length of at least 40 meters. The Large Boating License is also mandatory for pleasure boats with a length of at least 40 meters.

Outboard motors for every boating license

If you have a Small Boating License, you will most likely sail a ‘lighter’ boat than if you have a Large Boating License. Each type of vessel requires a different outboard motor. Below we give a number of suggestions for outboard motors for the vessels.

Vessels up to 25 meters

For vessels up to 25 meters with a speed of at least 20 kilometers per hour, you need a Small Boating License. The following outboard motors could be suitable for these types of vessels:

For ships up to 40 meters you need a Large Pleasure Boating License (for pleasure boating) or a Limited Large Boating License (for commercial shipping). The following outboard motors could be suitable for these types of vessels:

For ships of 40 meters or more you need a Large Boating License. The following outboard motors could be suitable for these types of vessels:

Buy a motorcycle at Outboard Occasions

Do you need an outboard motor for your motorboat? Buy your new outboard motor at Outboard Occasions. We have a very wide range of new and second-hand outboard motors. We have the largest selection in the Netherlands. Choose from all kinds of A-brands, such as Yamaha, Suzuki, Tohatsu, Mercury and Honda. You get a 6-year warranty when you purchase a new motor and a 1-year warranty with a used motor. Buy your outboard motor from us and have it delivered to your home within 2 working days.

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Frequently asked questions

Here you will find answers to common questions. Is your question not listed? Please feel free to contact us. We are happy to help you.

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  • What do you need a boating license for?
    In any case, you need a boating license for a motor boat that is longer than 15 meters and can travel faster than 20 kilometers per hour.
  • Do you need a license for a speedboat?
    You need a boating license for a speedboat. A speedboat is a motorized boat. This can often go faster than 20 kilometers per hour. Vessels that can sail faster than 20 kilometers per hour require a boating license.
  • Do you need a boating license to sail at sea?
    Yes, you need a boating license to sail at sea. A Small Boating License II is required to enter seaports. A Small Boating License II is also required for sailing on larger inland waterways. For commercial shipping you need a Limited Large Boating License or Large Boating License.
  • When do you need a boating license?
    You need a boating license if the motorboat you are sailing is longer than 15 meters or can travel faster than 20 kilometers per hour. The minimum age to drive a motorboat for which a boating license is required is 18 years.