General Information About E-Foiling
Do I need a driver's license to use an e-foil?
As with a boat or jet ski, the driving license requirement is based on horsepower. From a power of 15 hp (11.03 kW), proof of a valid driver's license for the corresponding navigation area is required. E-foils usually have a maximum power of 5 kW. Therefore, you do not need a driving license for e-foils. If you want to drive on the Rhine, you need a valid driver's license for a power of 5 hp (3.68 kW).
Are there any compulsory markings for e-foils?
E-foils are classified as small vehicles or personal watercraft. Thus, these vehicles with 3 hp (2.21 KW) or more are subject to mandatory marking on German inland waterways, which can be applied for at the responsible water and shipping office. Usually, e-foils are delivered with a HIN (Hull identification number), which can be registered with the appropriate delivery papers at the responsible authority. After successful registration, you will receive the license plate (mostly they are like stickers). The license then needs to be attached directly to the board in a visible position. The obligation to register your e-foil in Germany only applies to inland waters. On the sea, such as the Baltic Sea or the North Sea, there are no special regulations or mandatory labeling.
Where is riding with e-surfboards allowed?
First of all, it can be said that e-foils are allowed on many waters (especially the federal waterways). Unfortunately, there is not a uniform solution for Germany, Austria, or Switzerland yet. To be sure, you usually must make an individual inquiry. A list of the authorities in Germany can be found here: Wasserstraßen- und Schifffahrtsämter.
For e-foils, navigation on federal waterways is generally allowed. E-foils are classified as small vehicles and therefore do not belong to the same category as jet skis. Here, routes are also permitted beyond hiking trips.
In Bavaria, for example, e-foils are permitted under public law according to the Bavarian State Ministry. However, a permit alone is not enough. In Bavaria, you also need a private-law permit from the Bavarian Castles and Lakes Administration (Bayerischen Schlösser- und Seenverwaltung) as the owner of the water. However, this consent or permission from the administration does not yet exist. The rules and regulations regarding driving with e-foils also vary in other federal states. Therefore, before you want to use your e-foil on a particular body of water, always check with the relevant waterways and navigation authorities first.