Just as one needs to obtain a driving licence in order to drive a car, a boating licence is needed for someone who wishes to operate a boat. But what kind of boats need what kind of licences in Slovenia, and in which waters?
We met with Ambrož Jakop, a boat leading instructor at AJ Navtika to learn a bit more about how to get legal on the water and to broaden our perspective on the possibilities for adventure.
Who can apply for a boating licence, what are the limitations?
The boating licence exam can take any person who is 16 and older and has passed the first aid exam and medical examination. Since the latter two are the same one needs for a driving license, holders of any driving license (A, B, C, D etc.) are considered to be medically fit and have passed the first aid test. Until the age of 18, however, a holder of a boat licence may not operate boats longer than 12 metres or speedboats.
Are there different licenses one can get for various categories of boats?
Yes, you can either take the basic test that allows you to handle boats under 7 metres in length and with an engine below 10 horse power (7.35 kW), or the boat guiding test which includes five topics and will allow you to operate boats up to 24 metres and without engine power limitations. Both tests take place in front of the state commission at the Slovenian Maritime Administration, and the acquired licenses are also internationally valid. I teach courses that prepare the candidates for these exams.
Let’s say I pass the boat guiding test. Where can I take my boat then, in the sea or only in rivers and lakes?
Sea and fresh water sailing regimes are regulated by different legislations, which is why separate exams have to take place for taking a boat on the seas or in rivers and lakes. However, not many rivers or lakes in Slovenia have sailing regimes or ones that would allow the presence of boats with a mechanical drive unit.
So one doesn’t need a boating license in order to paddle a kayak or a SUP?
No, a license is not needed for sports equipment and vessels without a mechanical drive unit that are under 3 meters long. There are exceptions, however, such as an eight rowing boat, which is longer than that but doesn’t need to be signed in the boat registry, and therefore can be used without a license.
Where can people take a course to get a licence?
Due to the corona situation, we currently do the first theoretical 12 hours in an online course. The remaining 4 hours of practical charting of sailing direction, we do onsite, wherever a specific course is being held.
How did you become a boating license tutor?
At first I was just a sailing enthusiast. Then I established a sailing club and sailing school for children, sailing school for adults and then various courses. This was about 15 years ago when one still needed a Yachtmaster 100 BT license if you wanted to instruct courses, so I did that too. Soon my hobby turned into my job.
Do you have a boat?
I share a sailboat with my friends, a Y40 (40 feet), designed by the Slovenian architect Andrej Justin.
Where do you usually take it?
Mostly across the Adriatic. We’ve just sailed it from its berth in Koper to Lošinj and back home. Later this summer we are planning to sail alongside Dalmatia. And for this corona year, that will probably be all.
If you'd like to learn more about learning how to sail in Slovenia, then visit AJ Navtica here
Photos: Ambrož Jakop