Do you want to be captain of a boat and take control of the rudder without a license? In many countries you don’t need a boat license up to a certain engine power, so you can rent a boat without a license and enjoy!

Since the regulations are once again very different, we have prepared a short summary from different travel areas for you.

Note: Although many countries do not require a driver’s license, we still recommend that you get one. On the one hand, you have a greater level of knowledge as a boat driver and a certain prior experience in terms of technology and regulations and it offers you a greater choice of destinations and boat types.


Here, a license is required for all motorboats with a power greater than 15 hp and a length up to 20m. However, other boats such as inflatable boats up to four meters in length, small cabin boats and boats with GRP hulls can be rented without a license.

Even if no license is required, the driver must be older than 16 years and must know how to behave on the water. Otherwise, there is a risk of danger for oneself and other participants on the water.

Special regulations within Germany apply to the following areas of water:

BodenseeUp to 6 hp
RheinUp to 5 hp
Spree-Oder-Wasserstraße km 14,1-20,7Up to 5 hp
Individual state watersUp to 5 hp
Elbe in the port of HamburgUp to 5 hp


Boats up to 15m in length, which do not exceed a maximum speed of 20 km/h, can be driven on inland waters without a license.

Spain and Italy

Here the same rules apply as in Germany – boats up to 15 hp may be driven without a license. It should be noted that for a tourist from Germany, the German regulations also apply. An Italian may drive e.g. on the Gardasee up to 40 HP without a license. This does not apply to visitors from abroad.


Here the free driving is generally permitted up to an engine power of 6 HP. In addition, sailboats can be driven without a license. Nevertheless, you should have previous experience in sailing.

Great Britain

Boats up to 15 hp can be rented on sea waters. For inland waters you need a driving license. Furthermore, some waterways are subject to a fee.


Here the regulations are a bit more relaxed. The 15 hp limit applies to inflatable boats with outboard motors. For all other motorboats there is the possibility to drive them up to 30 HP without a license.


Compared to Greece, Croatia has very strict regulations. No boat may be steered here without a valid driving license. Often a radio certificate must be shown, if the boat is equipped with appropriate technology.

Of course, there can always be changes in the current regulations. Therefore, our information is without guarantee. To be on the safe side, always inform yourself before departure about the regulations on your route to avoid problems during the trip early on.


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