Ski Boat Driver’s Award

The Kent Boat and Ski Club have adopted the Ski Boat Driver’s Award (SBD2), which is a certification of competence issued by the British Water Ski Federation– it is compulsory for all members within the club who wish to drive a boat. However, members who already have RYA Level 1 and 2 do not need to take the SBD2.

British Water Ski 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 licence is mandatory but not in the UK. The SBD2 is now recognised as the benchmark standard of driving skills at clubs throughout the UK and is supported by the KBSC.


  • you must be a member of the KBSC. Non-members welcome to take the SDB2 upon request.
  • you must be a member of British Water Ski
  • you must also be at least 16 years of age at the time of taking the test
  • you must have a level of driving roughly equivalent to RYA Powerboat Level 3
  • you must have read and be familiar with the content of the SBDA Manual 2015, which contains all the information required for the written test and includes a comprehensive full colour guide to flags and other signage

Why should I take the qualification if it is not necessary in the UK?

  • it is compulsory if you wish to drive a boat at the KBSC
  • the award is formal proof of your boat handling experience and skills
  • when you take the SBD2, you can at the same time take the mandatory European counterpart – the International Certificate of Competence
  • the majority of clubs in the UK require the SBDA for you to drive in their water
  • if you wish to take a British Water Ski Instructor qualification, holding the SBD2 is a minimum requirement before you take a course
  • as an SBD2 holder you automatically receive a discount on the British Water Ski Approved Boat Insurance Scheme operated by RA Carter Ltd

What do I need to do in the test?

Theory Training

  • Complete theory training in the classroom (approx 3-4 hours)
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of boat handling procedures and SBD2 course content

Practical Test

  • complete a 60 minute driving test
  • demonstrate to the examiner basic boat handling skills, that you are capable of towing and recovering a skier, and of docking the boat. A full list of requirements can be found in the BWSW document ‘SBD2 Assessment’. This can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

Written Test – Coastal Waters (mandatory)

  • complete a multiple choice question paper of 22 questions (approx 30 minutes)
  • correctly answer a minimum of 18 questions correctly

Written Test – Inland Waters

  • complete a multiple choice question paper of 14 questions (approx 20 minutes)
  • correctly answer a minimum of 11 questions correctly

How much does it cost?

  • £200.00 – administration and examination costs, payable to the examiner
  • £60.00 – for the use of examiners boat. (Compulsory for non-members)
  • £40.00 – SBD2 only –  fee payable to the BWSF
  • £30.00 – ICC only –  fee payable to the BWSF
  • £70.00 – Combined SBD2 and ICC – fee payable to BWSF

How do I maintain the qualification?

  • you must remain a British Water Ski member – as long as you are, the SBD2 qualification remains valid
  • the ICC, however, needs to renewed every 5 years for the licence to be valid

What do I do next?

  • Contact the SBD2 Principal at the KBSC to make arrangements – currently Andy Hubble, telephone 01634 710323. He will give you the SBD2 manual to study.
  • Make a date for the test, and for training if necessary
  • Ensure you have a suitable boat to be used for the examination. It must meet the safety requirements of the KBSC. If you require the loan of a boat for examination purposes, this must be stated at application time so that this can be arranged.
  • Arrange for a person aged over 14 years to be the skier during the practical examination. It is recommended that this person is fully competent, as the test is of the driver and a skier lacking basic skills would hamper the execution of the examination.
  • On the day, bring 2 x passport photos of yourself – one each for the SBD2 and the ICC. This is very important, as we cannot process the paperwork without it.
  • On the day, bring proof of insurance if own boat is used
  • On the day, bring proof of membership of BWSF