Latest News: Forums Cruising Expert on France required to mark my homework

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  • #4610

    Our trip to France this summer generated some interesting research on the “French Rules”: their maritime agency regulations for leisure boating as they apply to folk like us. I found out a good deal (largely from the Drascombe site) but it was still hard to be certain of what was really required. Feeling it would be helpful for all of us to have some clear information on this I asked Ralph Roberts to take a look at what I’d put together. The resulting email correspondence (involving a number of people) has concluded that what is needed is to run the material past a person, or people, with sufficent knowledge of the “french rules” to give us a reasonably authoritative opinion on whether we’re on the right track.

    Does anyone feel that they are such a person, or that they know of one?. If so please Private Message me, and hopefully we can get some information we can all rely on.

    all best

    Boris W6330 “Delphy”

    PS in case you are wondering, one of the reasons I haven’t posted the stuff here so far is it is actually rather LONG for a forum post!!


    I forwarded your question to a sailing friend in Brittany who sent me the following…

    Using dinghies in France is quiet simple, you can do what you want until you get caught !

    This is so French…

    More seriously, here is a bit of the French regulations:

    the link for the entire regulation(in French) probably a translation of an EC regulation:

    -You don’t need any licence to sail! (except if you are doing a commercial trip)

    -A dinghy is considered as an “engin de plage”(i), literally, a beach toy or beach stuff! Just like a windsurf, a canoe, a kite-surf or a rowing boats…

    -Dinghies are allowed to sail or navigate at a maximum distance of 300 metres from the shore at a maximum speed of 5 knots only at day time. They although must respect the yellow channel buoys because of the people bathing.

    However, windsurfs, canoes, kite-surfs and rowing boats are allowed to navigate to a distance of 2 NM from the shore (1 NM in the Mediterranean Sea) but not dinghies!

    A dinghy being although the boat you use to go to your main boat moored somewhere but at a maximum distance of 300 metres from the shore. If you are over the 300m you must have a driving licence if you have an engine and the safety equipment is not the same.

    If you are sailing under the 300m limit, you just need CE life jackets and signal mirror.

    A sailing dinghy over the 300 metres is not an “engin de plage” anymore but a sailing vessel, so your safety equipment is not the same, but because you are a sailing vessel, and if you have an engine, the driving licence is not mandatory, the sails being your main “engine”.

    But in most places in France, dinghies are allowed to sail like the others (2NM) except in dangerous areas (strong currents..).

    Actually, dinghies in France are sailing quite far away from the shore, and nobody (even the authorities) cares! As long as you take care.

    Something you must know about sailing dinghies in France:

    The Coast Guards are called CROSS (Centre Regional Opérationnel de Surveillance et de Sauvetage) VHF Channel 16 or from a mobile 112

    The RNLI is called SNSM (Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer) They will save your life for nothing, but they charge you for towing your boat .Be sure you’re well insured.

    In some areas, if you want to use the harbour commodities to launch your boat, you may have to pay. The more Southern you go the more you pay! So if I were your friends, I would stay in Brittany…

    (i) engin de plage

    Sont considérées comme engins de plage :

    à condition que la puissance maximale de l’appareil propulsif ne dépasse pas 3 kW, les embarcations dont la longueur de coque est inférieure à 2,50 m, sauf lorsqu’il s’agit de planches à voiles ou aéro-tractées, ou que la propulsion d’une telle embarcation est assurée par un moteur à combustion interne qui entraîne une turbine. Dans ce dernier cas, elle est considérée comme véhicule nautique à moteur.

    les embarcations mues exclusivement par l’énergie humaine dont la longueur est inférieure à 4m ou la largeur est inférieure à 0,45 m. Toutefois, dans le cas d’une embarcation multicoque, la largeur additionnée des coques doit être inférieure à 0,40 m. Ne sont pas considérés comme coques, les flotteurs latéraux de longueur inférieure à 1,5 m.

    les embarcations propulsées au moyen d’avirons, dont la largeur de coque est inférieure à 1 m, et dont le rapport longueur/largeur est supérieur à 10.

    les embarcations mues exclusivement par l’énergie humaine qui ne satisfont pas aux dispositions de stabilité et de flottabilité de l’article 240-2.09, quelles que soient leurs dimensions.

    Les engins de plage effectuent des navigations diurnes qui n’excèdent pas 300 m de la côte. Pour ces derniers, aucun matériel de sécurité et d’armement n’est requis. Les annexes peuvent effectuer des navigations à une distance d’un abri n’excédant pas 300 m, leur navire porteur étant considéré comme un abri.


    W9817 Nugget

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