Ski Boat Driver 3


The SBD suite of driving qualifications are about manoeuvring a boat, with a propeller and a tow line in close proximity to a person or persons in the water, these are the only driving qualifications which prepare a boat driver to do this safely. A boat driver, towing water skiers or any other towed sport, has a duty to be qualified and insured. 

SBD3 (Module A)


Following on from the SBD1 or the SBD2, an experienced driver can progress to SBD3

The SBD3 module A qualification identifies a general high level of driving experience, ability and safety, driving for water skiers, Wakeboarders and beginners on the Training boom.

camel boat

The SBD3 module A qualification can also be completed at coastal SBD3 centres

driving To achieve the SBD3 Module A the driver needs to have a broad experience driving for beginners and intermediate skiers and riders as well as beginners.
SBD The SBD3 module A is an ideal qualification for club drivers, commercial drivers and it is in alignment with the driving requirement for becoming a BWSW Level 2 coach. 

The pathway is by continuous self-development guided by the driver checklist, which is a step-by-step guide to attain the required driving skills. These skills can be witnessed by an SBD3 Principal. If there is not an SBD3 Principal at the club, the driver checklist can be witnessed by an official within the club, for example the club Chairperson.
The final assessment must be completed by the club SBD3 Principal. If there is not an SBD3 Principal at the club, the final assessment can be completed at a neighbouring club or commercial centre.

Following on from the SBD3 module A there are specialist modules.

The following advanced specialist driving modules can be added as required;

To successfully complete the following modules the driver will have a very high level of driving experience, knowledge and understanding of the specific discipline concerned.

SBD3 Driving for a Slalom skier (Module S)

Freddie Winter

The driver for this advanced level of slalom skier will be very experienced and familiar with the skier’s requirements. 

Some of the driver skills expected:

  • Maintaining a straight course
  • Understanding the speed control setup
  • Driving correct, smooth ‘P’ turns
  • Stopping at the end of the course to shorten the tow line
  • Minimising wash at all times

SBD3 Driving for a Trick skier (Module T)
Driving for a Slalom, Trick and Jump skier (Tournament Module T this includes S) . The SBD3 Module T is in alignment with the Cutting Edge Platinum Tournament water ski standard.

Trick Skiing


The trick skier will expect a straight course, smooth turns and correct speed.

The driver will make adjustments according to the skill level of the skier.

When driving for a trick skier, the driver needs to be able to select a competent line release person.

SBD3 Driving for a Wakeboarder and Wakesurfer (Module W)




Driving the boat in the correct way will affect the performance of the rider.


It is important for the driver to understand how a boat path that isn’t straight will affect the wake and the rider’s performance.


An SBD3 driver must be able to maintain a constant speed for an advanced rider performing wake tricks without the use of the boats speed control system.


The driver must be able to anticipate the appropriate ballast and speed for the level of riding ability.


Drivers at this level need to be able to recognise and anticipate the requirements of the rider, from preparation to the completion of a trick.




Wakesurfing is great fun for the rider. 

The driver must have general driving experience before developing the skills to drive for a wakesurfer. 

These driving skills include:

Driving a boat with ballast

Setting the speed control

Understanding the safety considerations of wakesurfing

Keeping the rider safe in close proximity to the stern of the boat when delivering the tow rope and boarding the rider.

The driver must understand how to make the best use of the water available.

SBD3 Driving with inflatables (Module I)


The driver must deliver a comprehensive safety briefing for the riders, including safety rules and signals.
Important considerations when driving;
observe manufacturers speed limits
Keep the lines tight.
Do not put the inflatable on the whip
Be aware of the wind lifting the inflatable
Keep a safe distance from any hazards as the riders can’t steer or stop


Club Tournament Driver – Modules SBD3+T (SBD3+tournament)

Commercial Driver – Modules SBD3+I (sbd3+Inflatables)

Club Wakeboard Driver – Modules SBD3+W (SBD3+wakeboard/wakesurf)


SBD3 Test Centres
  • Action Watersports
  • Cirencester Water Ski Club
  • CJM Waterski & Wakeboard
  • Dam's Watersports
  • Fairford Water Ski Club
  • Thorpe Lakes
  • The Water Ski Acdemy - Whitworth
For all SBD3 centre enquiries please contact Michael Lock: . Any relevant documentation required for these modules will be provided to you upon signing up to do the course.