This is a cautionary tale to those seeking to in the first instance obtain their French Eaux Interieures Boat Licence ( <20m ) with a view to then obtaining the French Extension Grande Plaisance ( >20m )
This is relevant for Non EU Residents. Please note that my wife and I are Australians and our barge is 27.85m.
1. Based on emails from the French Authorities who administer the French Inland waterways based in Douai, if you are a non resident of the EU and you hold the ICC, you will not be granted automatic equivalent conversion to the Eaux Interieures without passing the CEVNI Inland Waterways examination in French.
2. We had numerous exchange of emails with the French Inland Waterway Authorities and it was made very clear to us that the ICC that we obtained via the RYA was valid for pleasure craft up to 20m only and that the CEVNI test must be undertaken and passed in French in order for equivalence to be permitted even though the CEVNI test was undertaken and passed in obtaining our ICC. I am aware that reference is made to 24m, however, this length was not referred to in any emails that I had with the French Authorities. It has also been pointed out to us that if you are involved in an an accident on the in land waterways ( French or otherwise) then the licence you hold will be very relevant especially for insurance purposes.
3. We then undertook the CEVNI exam in French in Dunkerque and you must learn 300 questions and answers in French and there is a multiple choice exam that randomly selects 30 questions and you must obtain 25 / 30 to pass the exam.
4. We prepared for the exam by enrolling with ENAM Boat School operated by Benoit and Eve and they were very professional. They were also responsible for the required paperwork which is also in French. You must have physical possession of the Eaux Interieures boat licence before you are permitted to undertake the EGP assessment.
5. With the help of Steve and Jo Bridges who own Bargecraft in association with ENAM ( who conduct the EGP assessment), Debra and I enrolled in the EGP course and passed our assessment. As far as I am aware, this is the only English speaking EGP course in France and our experience with Bargecraft and ENAM was outstanding in every detail.
6. It should be noted that the EGP course is an assessment course not an instructional course. In other words you are expected to be able to drive and handle a barge and you are assessed by ENAM as to mooring, de-mooring, going through at least two locks going upstream and downstream.
7. It is a two day course and you spend at least 3.5 hours per day on the rivers and/or canals.
Fair Weather and Safe Barging
Mark Dick and Debra Billett
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ian McCauley, Steve Bridges