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Sailing in France: licenses

When a boat’s motor or motors have more than 4.5 kilowatts, or 6 horsepower, it is required to get a boat licence in French waters. Three distinct licenses are available:

Carte Mer, coastal sailing during the day, 6 to 50 HP;

Permis Mer Côtier: sailing at night, farther offshore, more than 50 HP;

Permis Mer Hauturier: vast waters, boating in all its forms.

Inland waterways require different, specialized licenses. Motorized pleasure craft licenses are only valid for non-commercial use. A professional qualification in the relevant field must be obtained by anyone who wants to sail for business. The Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development, Transportation, and Housing has further information.

Nonetheless, a license is not required for the vast majority of boats that are available for hire in the canal and river networks. Before you embark on your journey, an expert will show you how to operate and steer your boat when you arrive at the location of your choice.

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