This blog is about how to get your boating license in Japan as a foreigner!
In Japan, it is necessary to have a boating license for any vessel exceeding 2 horse power.
Being able to read Japanese, it can be a 2 day process, however can be fairly expensive. Mine was 13万 for the 2 day classes, boat driving and test.
There are also options for taking the test in ENGLISH if you cannot read Japanese at all:
This is a recap how I got my license in Kure, Hiroshima.
Before attending the boat license class we were required to submit:
Copy of passport
Copy of resident card
4 2cm? photos (can take a photo booth anywhere in Japan)
Physical exam test signed off by doctor (received document prior to going to doctor)
The physical test by the doctor is just a simple physical at the doctor checking basic health measures.
I actually almost failed from the colorblind test but was able to do an alternate test to pass.
What number is this?!!?!?
Upon arriving at the boat school, they gave me another colorblind test with red/green lights on a boat and thankfully was able to detect the difference between those. Not quite sure if they would have let me continue if not passing that part.
In our session there was only 1 other student and myself. That made it nice to be able to ask the teacher any questions and get pretty much 1-on-1 tutoring.
Here is a picture of the materials we were provided with:
The top left is a practice booklet of test questions similar to those that would be on the test.
It was nice that in this book the furigana on almost all of the Kanji are written above so even without knowing all the Kanji, it was still possible to read the characters and understand the meaning.
The other books were a general book of info about boats/rules and the top right book was a guide to physically driving a boat.
The first day was just study and it felt like being back in college. Kind of dry and the teacher was just reading answers off of the packet and then the answers. Made me wonder why this was costing $1300. Haha. The other student Mr. Kinoshita was very kind and it was fun goofing off with him during the breaks/lunch time.
The second day included more study early in the morning followed by actual practice driving the boat with another instructor. There were two boat instructors and after learning practical skills for about 20 minutes with one of them, we switched to another instructor to be tested by them. It was easier than expected for the practical portion of the exam, especially with having months of practice before the actual test.
Back to the class room for studying for the exam.
I believe the test was 50 questions in 70 minutes and needed a fairly low score for passing. Believe it was 65% or above. The teacher was nice enough to answer questions during the test to and paraーphrase questions.
We didn’t find out our results right away but was contacted later saying I passed.
Believe it took about 1 month after passing the test to receive our actual license which was kind of a drag because we didn’t receive a paper copy and were unable to drive a boat until we received the actual hardcopy license.
A tip about the 4 2cm photos:
DON’T smile in the pictures or they will make you redo them. The first pictures I submitted were normal smiling pictures and they said that the photos couldn’t have teeth showing..One of the many Japanese goofy rules I’ve learned it’s better to not even ask/think about it.
The cool thing with having your boat license in Japan is that other people on the boat can drive while you are on the boat.
Limits for the 2nd Class boating license are:
boats limited to 20 tons (huge)
within 5 miles from shore
Thanks to Mr. Kinoshita for the fun times in the class and making the rigorious study more bearable!
We still keep in touch and he has even came to Kurahashi to come visit! Excited to boat together!
Special thanks to Marine Club Carp Boat for sponsoring the boat license.
Please don’t hesitate contacting MARINE CLUB CARP BOAT regarding any questions on getting your boat license! We want to see more foreigners driving boats around here! It is also possible to be practical training with us here in Kurahashi!
We can show you the best fishing spots in Kurahashi too!
See you in KURAHASHI Island!