Thursday, June 20, 2013

Boats boats boats boats bobbing up and down again

The principle of having to obtain some sort of certificate of competence before being allowed out with a motor vehicle is a sound one. Imagine the chaos if anyone with access to a car could simply leap in and drive it without any tuition.

This lack of compulsory training has been the norm for boats since forever, although various agencies have introduced voluntary schemes over the years. The Goat passed his BSAC Diver Coxswain exam many moons ago, which gave him an instant Powerboat 2 certificate from the Royal Yachting Association. He subsequently qualified as a Diver Coxswain Instructor and Examiner.

Here’s the thing. As of yesterday, the Goat learned from the local media that Dubai has introduced a ‘Boat Driving Licence’. It is now not permitted to take any form of powered craft on to Dubai’s waters without the ‘driver’ being in possession of this driving licence. Jet-ski pilots are apparently exempt.

The Goat spent a happy hour searching Los Interwebs for information relating to this ‘boat driving licence’. He found these:

This one says the new licence is the first step in regulation of jet-ski usage. Which is a bit odd, given that Dubai Eye 103.8 said jet-skis were exempt… The Goat missed this one when it was published in March, but it's not like there's been much ‘Get Your Boat Driving Licence’ publicity over the subsequent three months. Perhaps the Goat should spend more time hanging around the docks. 

Neither one spells out the requirements; nor does the Dubai Maritime City website. The Goat phoned DMCA and learned that there were indeed no rules, regulations, or requirements for the new licence posted on the website. He suggested that posting something appropriate might prevent DMCA’s telephone helpline from being overwhelmed by concerned boat owners.

As a public service, here is the list of DMCA requirements before a boat owner is permitted to set the iron topsail:-

·        The application form, obtainable from Dubai Maritime City.
·        One colour mugshot.
·        Copy of passport, residence visa, and ID card (because the ID card alone isn’t sufficient).
·        A certificate of fitness, obtained from the Ministry of Health.
·        A police Good Conduct certificate.
·        Evidence of training. A RYA Powerboat certificate is seemingly enough, but a list of suitable qualifications is not currently available.
·        AED600 fee.

The Goat asked how long the licence is valid, but Mr Helpdesk didn’t know. He’ll phone back in a few days, he said.

It seems to the Goat that this is a monstrous pile of fuss and palaver to be foisted on the maritime community at, apparently, one day’s notice. It may be that, once the Clarification is issued, it’ll only apply to commercial outfits and not Joe Public and his water-ski speedboat, nor the local dive club.

Another point of concern that falls way off the edge of the map is what befalls all the qualified BSAC boat handlers. Do they now all have to lash out AED600 and jump through the above list of hoops? Or will they simply limit their boating to Fujairah?



Difi1000 said...

Thanks for info. Having agreed to buy a boat on the 18th, I was a little annoyed by the announcement the very next day!

Do you know if you will need this licence to actually register the boat? Just wondered if that came up when you spoke to DMCA. I still have to go through the joy of registration so wondering if its even possible without getting this licence first!

Anonymous said...

We are hearing that it is very early days and while there has been an announcement there is no system in place yet. At the moment boat registration is with the NTA and that will gradually be taken over by DMCA.
At some point in time when you go to get your boat registered you will start to be asked about your experience and might be told to go and get an appropriate qualification. We will see if RYA and BSAC type qualifications are acceptable or whether only a local provider will be authorised. For registration renewal the requirement to have a licence will come in later phases.
To save yourself a headache, stress, irritation and time contact, its not expensive and they will do all the leg work as per the requirements today / tomorrow and the next day.

Ian the Dog said...

OK nothing to do with boats, but I've just been introduced to a website which I insist that you will enjoy, and I couldn't find an email address for you. Have a look at

Cheers, The Dog

Ehsan Heravi said...

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Ehsan Heravi said...

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RYA Powerboat Training


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