Ski Boat Driver Award & International Certificate of Competence


Waterski & Wakeboard Scotland in partnership with British Water Ski & Wakeboard aims to improve the standard of ski boat driving in the absence of any legislation or licensing system in the UK. 


In many parts of Europe a boat driver’s licence is mandatory but not in the UK. Our aim is to offer our own training and awards in order to bridge this gap and offer our members a qualification which demonstrates a particular level of competence.  Note that the SBD series of driving awards are not simply about driving a boat however they are about driving a boat and safely towing a skier or rider.  We offer two tiers of award as proof of your boat handling and towing skills – the Ski Boat Driver Level 2 (SBD2) and the Ski Boat Driver Level 3 Award (SBD3).



Who is it for?

The Ski Boat Driver Level 2 is designed for anyone who wishes to drive unassisted for water skiing and/or other associated disciplines and is, for many, the starting point on the ski boat driver pathway. It is considered the benchmark standard to drive at clubs throughout the UK on both Inland and coastal ski sites.


SBD2 is a pre-requisite to becoming a licenced water ski and wakeboard coach – anyone wishing to drive at BWSW affiliated/accredited centres will be required to have an SBD2 as formal proof of their boat driving ability. Some of the benefits of taking the SBD2 include being issued with an International Certificate of Competence (ICC), which is the international counterpart for driving in European coastal and inland waters. Similarly, as an SDB2 holder you will automatically receive a discount on our Approved Boat Insurance Scheme operated by GJW Direct.



What is involved?


First of all you will need to decide whether you need boat driving lessons, or if you have previous boat driving experience including towing skiers/riders. The examiner may agree to a driving assessment without the need for boat driving lessons.


If you have the required experience, the Ski Boat Driver Level 2 is roughly a day long program consisting of a theoretical based assessment (assessment of boat driving knowledge) and a practical based assessment (assessment of boat handing skills). Prior to completing the theoretical based assessment, candidates will attend a tutoring session designed to develop understanding of a number of key topics relating to driving a ski boat on coastal waters, this will take approximately 3 hours. Following this, candidates will complete a 30 minute multiple choice SBD2 examination.
It is advantageous if candidates have previously studied the subject matter. Therefore, it is recommended that candidates should read, and be familiar with, the SBD2 manual and the Peter White’s ‘Powerboating’ book.


After successfully completing the SBD2 examination candidates can access the International certificate of competence for coastal waters if you require an ICC for European Inland waters (CEVNI Regulations) you can arrange an additional tutorial before taking a 20 minute multiple choice Inland Waters examination leading to an Inland endorsement on the coastal International Certificate of Competence (ICC).


The practical based assessment consists of a 30 minute familiarisation session (to familiarise with the boat, the site and the assessment procedure) followed by a 15 minute slow manoeuvring skills assessment, and a 15 minute water ski/wakeboard driving assessment. Click here to see the driving assessment hand out, which explains the assessment in detail.



How much does it cost?


Courses fees:



Registration fees:

SBD2 fee only £40.00

ICC fee only £40.00

SBD/ICC combined fee £70.00


Membership fees:

Adult £160.00

Junior £65.00

Student (over 18 under 24) £85.00



N.B: This pricing includes sufficient boat time and equipment hire to attend the course and sit the test, any additional boat time will be charged at normal session rates.



What do I need before applying for the SBD2?

 Before applying to complete a Ski Boat Driver Level 2 all candidates must meet the following pre-requisites:


• Be a current member of WWS /BWSW
• Be aged 16 years or over
• Have some experience of driving water skiers (under supervision).
• Read, and be familiar with, the SBD2 Manual (please enquire).
• Read, and be familiar with, Peter White’s ‘Powerboating’  Book (Recommended)


What can I do next?


Once qualified, Drivers may wish to develop further by undertaking the undertaking the following:


• Ski Boat Driver Level 3 Qualification
• Introduction to Coach Award (coming soon)
• UKCC Level 2 Water Ski & Wakeboard Coaching Qualification



The scheme has been approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which has authorised BWSW to issue the ICC. Any holder of the SBDA is eligible for an ICC valid for coastal European waters. For an ICC valid for European inland waters an additional written test on European regulations must be passed.


The ICC is internationally accepted and has been adopted by region EAME of the International Water Ski Federation as the format for all European countries to adopt.


ICC candidates must be citizens of the UK or normally resident in the UK to qualify.


Where can I take the SBD2?


For more information regarding dates and locations of courses, please contact us at