(Boat) driving license - 2

Last week all the time of your principal blog maker was consumed by studying, studying and again studying for a Dutch ‘Vaarbewijs’, part 1, also called an ‘International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft’. Yes, it is a mouthful. As explained last week the ICC we both obtained in the UK in 2011 cannot be renewed and in The Netherlands at least one of us not might, no: must have this (Dutch) document. For a start the male half of the two of us travelled to Nieuwegein, The Netherlands, on Saturday the 13th of February 21, 2016, for a day-course. This 50 page ‘werkmap’ (workbook?) was handed over that day. During the week on-line trial-exams could be made to test oneself - desperately building up enough self-confidence.

One of the pages of the book, this one being about the navigation lights. We never realized that the starboard-, port- and stern light together cover exactly 360 degrees – as do the combined front- and stern light. This way a ship is visible from any angle. This makes it possible to determine in what position another boat is positioned when seen during darkness and in which direction she is moving. We, by the way, have no intention whatsoever to cruise during darkness.

The exam was yesterday, Saturday the 20th, in Dordrecht, The Netherlands – only a one hour drive from where we are at present, Antwerp, Belgium. Forty questions are asked, about (A) the law, applicable on the waterways, (B) propulsion system and safety, (C) (circumstances on the) waterways + basic meteorology and (D) cruising, manoeuvering and measures to take under different circumstances. Available time: one hour. The questions can be worth one (8 questions), two (24) or three points (8). Mental calculation -or using what the Dutch endearingly call a ‘pocket-Japanese’ (pocket calculator, ‘zakjapanner’)- will learn that the maximum number of points are 80. The minimum number of points for passing the exam is 56, so 70% of the available total. Yours truly scored 66 points, or 82,5% and subsequently passed. The A-section though was substandard, 5 wrong answers… B- and C-section one miss, D-section 100% score.

When arriving for the exam one has to identify oneself and a picture is made. Therefore it is possible to fabricate a credit card-size ‘International Certificate…’ etc. on the spot and hand it over to the ones that passed. Not for free, of course, the price is another € 20,00 for this anxiously desired document, issued by the ‘Minister van IenM’ (Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment), no less. It’s worth naming the Dutch one: Mrs Melanie Henriëtte Schultz van Haegen-Maas Geesteranus. How’s that for a name? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanie_Schultz_van_Haegen in case we have aroused your curiousity.

Therefore, referring to the final picture we used last week, here’s a triumphant one of our substitution for the occasion. He, well the real human being, did it and has already applied for the ‘second round’, being certified to cruise the great waters, IJsselmeer (formerly Zuiderzee, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IJsselmeer) and Waddenzee (Wadden Sea, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadden_Sea) too. The intention is to have the ‘Klein Vaarbewijs II’ (note the II instead of I) before the new cruising season starts. Bye for now, we’ll keep you posted.