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This page contains information on how to pass your lake license or you sea license.

Lake license

To sail our boat, an official D license is required if you are living in Switzerland or if you are a Swiss national.

There are 3 different exams for a lake license :

  1. Theory : everything you need to know about regulations, signalisation and safety measures.
    You must have passed this exam before submitting for the 2 other practice exams.
  2. License D : practice sailboat. Skipping and manoeuvring a sailboat
  3. License A : practice motorboat. Steering a motorboat. The sailing club does not give lessons to prepare for this exam.

For the sailing license, you need to pass the theory and the D practice.

Registration and costs

You must register and pass the license in the canton where you reside. The exam is the same, but there might be some local differences regarding the registration, costs, and organization for passing the exams.

You register and pay in advance for the various exams you plan to pass. You then decide when you want to pass them by registering for one of the exam session.

You may register for the theory and only one practice.

Once you have registered, you have one year to pass the theory exam.

After you have successfully passed the theory exam, you have 18 months to pass the practice exam. Be aware that there is no practice exam session during the winter season.

If you are located in the Canton de Genève:

You need to register directly at the Service de la Navigation. It is located at the same place as the Service des Automobiles de Genčve.

You need to bring :

  • a registration form that you can find and fill at the Service de la Navigation.
  • 2 identity photos
  • Identity document :
    • Genevois : identity card or passport
    • Confédérés : resident license
    • Foreigners : work or resident license

Fees for the license in 2011 are :

  • CHF 265.- for the theory exam and one practice exam.
  • CHF 120.- for an additional practice exam, if you miss it the first time.

You need to pay these fees upfront when you register. With the theory, you get in addition the book with all the questions and answers.

If you are located in the Canton de Vaud:

  1. Request authorization to pass the navigation license at “Service des automobiles et de la navigation” in Lausanne.
  2. You will receive the forms to be filled out and you’ll have to pay CHF 240.- (2001 rates) covering the theoretical and practical exam.
  3. You may ask to pass the practical exam in Geneva, but then you have to pay again for it in Geneva.

Once you have passed the theory in Lausanne, you can then pass the practical exam in Founex by bringing the HP Club boat from Versoix to Founex.

If you are located in another Canton

You need to check with your local Service de la Navigation (usually same department as Service des Autos)


The exams can be passed either in French, German or Italian. Unfortunately no longer in English as this is not recognized as an official Swiss language. For the theory, you may pass it in English or any other language, but you then need to bring with you an official translator. For the practice, you may also bring an official translator, but we strongly recommend that you pass it in French. The lessons should give you enough of the vocabulary you need to use.


Through the Sailing Club you can accumulate experience and progressively learn how to sail the boat. Occasionnally skippers may help you practice some of the drills required for the license exam.

For specific training to prepare for the license, we recommend that you take lessons with a professional Sailing School (like Moby Dick – Versoix). They will also organize the exam session with you. You may choose to pass the exam with the Sailing Club boat or with one of boat of the Sailing school.

Sea license

You need to get your lake license before you can apply to the sea license.

The sea license includes a very complete exam about subjects like regulations, meteo, use of maps, tides calculations, first aid on board.

You must then validate this exam by having 1000 miles of effective sailing cruise certified by a skipper.

Preparation for the exam is organized by the CCS, Cruising Club de Suisse, during 15 weekly evening lessons from 19h30 to 22h00 over January to April. Exam is in May or June.

For any information and registration, please contact : CCS Genève, www.ccsge.ch

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