Ski Boat Driver 1 


Recreational water skiing and wakeboarding is great family fun and can be done using most power boats. 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

The purpose of SBD1
SBD1 is the number one qualification in the UK for recreational ski boat drivers at water ski club or as individuals.

The Ski Boat Driver 1 (SBD1) is designed for anyone who wishes to drive unsupervised for water skiing and/or other associated disciplines, it is, for many, the starting point on the ski boat driver pathway. It is considered the benchmark standard to drive at inland clubs throughout the UK.

SBD1 is formal proof of boat driving ability in relation to inland waters in the UK.

What is involved?
First of all you will need to decide whether you need boat driving lessons, or if you have previous boat driving experience including towing skiers/riders. The examiner may agree to a driving assessment without the need for boat driving lessons.

If you have the required experience, the Ski Boat Driver 1 is roughly a 2 to 3 hour long program consisting of a theoretical based assessment (assessment of boat driving knowledge) and a practical based assessment (assessment of boat handing skills). Prior to completing the theoretical based assessment, candidates will attend a tutoring session designed to develop understanding of a number of key topics relating to driving a ski boat on inland waters, this will take approximately 1 hour. Following this, candidates will complete 17 questions, relating to the SBD1 classroom course.

It is advantageous if candidates have previously studied the driving assessment hand-out.

After successfully completing the SBD1 examination candidates will receive a new BWSW membership card which will state that the member holds an SBD1 qualification.

The practical boat driving assessment consists of a 30 minute familiarisation session (to familiarise the candidate with the boat, the site and the assessment procedure) followed by a 15 minute slow manoeuvring skills assessment and a 15 minute water ski/wakeboard driving assessment. Click here to see the driving assessment hand out, which explains the assessment in detail.

How much does it cost?
RRP £150 - Note, the cost of the SBD1 may vary from centre to centre. Many voluntary clubs have lower fees if you join the club and wish to take the test as a club member.

Where can I take the SBD1?
We have a number of centres around the UK that deliver the Ski Boat Driver 1: – Click here to find a SBD1 centre in your area.
Note, some BWSW affiliated clubs like to operate as a ‘closed SBD1 centre’, which means they only offer the SBD1 to their own club members and will therefore not appear on the above link. As such, if you are already a member of an affiliated club that is a designated SBD1 centre, speak to your club representative about availability and cost.

What do I need before applying for the SBD1?
Before applying to complete a Ski Boat Driver 1 all candidates must meet the following pre-requisites:

  • Be a current member of British Water Ski & Wakeboard
  • Be aged 16 years or over
  • Have some experience of driving for water skiers (under supervision) or arrange to take lesson
  • Read, and be familiar with the SBD1 Assessment handout
  • The SBD1 qualification does not provide access to an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) for coastal or inland waters.

What can I do next?
Once qualified, drivers may wish to develop further by undertaking the undertaking the following:

  • Ski Boat Driver 2 Qualification
  • Ski Boat Driver 3 Qualification
  • BWSW Introduction to Coaching Award (coming soon)
  • UKCC Level 2 Water Ski & Wakeboard Coaching Qualification

Related documents

  1. SBD 1 Presentation Candidate Workbook 2022

    8 Jun 2021 / 3783kb

    SBD 1 Presentation Candidate Workbook 2022