Permis Plaisance option Eaux Intérieures (EI)

The Permis Plaisance option Eaux Intérieures (EI), ‘small boat licence’ is the typical starting point for French nationals wishing to cruise the inland waterways.  It is valid for vessels up to 20m.  More importantly for English speaking boat owners, with large boats, it is a pre-requisite before upgrading to the Extension Grande Plaisance (EGP).

How can I get the EI?

It can be achieved through two routes:

  1. Direct attendance to complete the syllabus in French at a registered ‘Bateau École’. The course is open to anyone happy to complete the course in French.  The course includes
  • Piloting a boat on the waterways in France
  • CEVNI theory at an examination centre in France
  • VHF/radio licence in French


  1. European nationals are able to apply through an equivalence process assuming you have achieved the standard level of piloting skills, e.g. an ICC and VHF licence1. The application process is:
  • Completed ‘Equivalence application form’; Cerfa No. 14683*01.
  • Medical declaration form Cerfa No. 14673*01(in French) dated within the last six months.
  • Timbre Fiscal (tax stamp) €70 (available as an online purchase from the Service Public website)
  • Your original ICC is required, photocopy of your VHF licence and passport

Currently, (February 2020), the French authority has advised that there is no change to this equivalent route post-Brexit, however this may be subject to change as the transition period evolves.  We will update this information should it become necessary.

The French authority typically takes 4-6 weeks to process equivalence applications.

The French foreign boating licence department have published a table clarifying what licence is needed and acceptable when cruising on French waters.  Additionally, it states the requirements for equivalence applications depending on nationality/residency.  Driving conditions and Equivalence table - in French or Table of licences and rights – in English.

The completed application pack should be sent directly to:

Pôle Navigation Intérieure
Bâtiment de l'Arsenal
299, rue Saint Sulpice
CS 20839
59508 Douai cedex

Source information

1Equivalence application French government information.