In this section we present you the best experiences, services, gadgets, offers, events and much more around water sports in Berlin & Brandenburg. We are happy to share our research, experiences and expertise with you. We are very happy about suggestions and topic proposals.

Practical handbook on buying charters >> Boating for free and still cashing in?

As the owner of a beautiful new boat, instead of running costs of often several thousand euros a year, even earning cash money? Doesn’t that sound too good to be true?

Theoretically, it is even possible – but rather for the big players in the industry. Author Rolf Kohlhas puts exaggerated expectations regarding “capital investment in boats” into perspective right in the introduction. Most owners are interested in minimising running costs and saving time for boat maintenance. For us, however, the idea is still attractive and that is why we ordered the 160-page book with ring binding for 248 euros. The price seems high at first. Included, however, is an individual consultation session (by appointment) with the NAUTIC EXPERTS. The team consists of a tax consultant, a lawyer, a banker and a yacht broker and can look back on more than 35 years of valuable experience. As a newcomer, it is extremely difficult to gain insights into this sworn industry. The book comes as a collection of concentrated expertise – a clear buy recommendation if you are interested in charter!

The book can be read quickly and is graphically very appealing. The content is covered by the respective expert in the areas of purchase charters and models, the right ship and charter company, insurance, financing, tax aspects and legal aspects. The thickest blocks of topics, taxes and law, were the most interesting for us.

Without reading this book, we would almost have plunged into a sad houseboat charter adventure recently with “zero sense of direction and boat desire”. The result would have been a minimum of an industry-unusual (bad) deal, loss of possible tax benefits from the start, a suboptimal boat + area and problems with “hobby” and private use. Therefore, we can only thank for the Praxishandbuch, celebrate the averted loss and sensitise you to the issue. We’ll stay on it anyway – but from now on with expert support.

NAvShip >> Google Maps for the water

For navigation on the water, we always use the app from Navship. The route planning is very simple: Start and destination are defined by clicking on the screen or searching for an address and then the route is calculated. In the settings, you can enter the speed and altitude of your boat, for example, and get routes tailored to it. If problems arise on the route, such as closed locks or low water levels, then this is displayed directly in the app and even often linked to the official document at ELWIS = Electronic Waterway Information Service.

The app for Android, Google currently has more than 250,000 km of waterways, including rivers, lakes and coastal areas. Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and many other countries are fully covered. In addition, there is also a web version. The free version already allows shorter routes. And for less than 2 euros per month, even routes of 2,000 kilometers and more can be calculated (we tested it!). Absolute tip – indispensable for arriving (safely) at your destination.

Book: Port Guide Berlin & Brandenburg >> PURES Gold

Who does not know the problem? The night is approaching and possibly even wind comes up, which makes anchoring impossible. Then quick and good advice is needed to find a marina. The harbor guide Berlin & Brandenburg covers 184 marinas and guest moorings in Berlin as well as on the Spree, Dahme and Lower Havel. Numerous large illustrations, city maps, harbor sketches and district maps allow intuitive orientation and travel planning for water tourists. Of course, all telephone numbers of the harbor masters are also given to reserve a mooring in advance. We have often been helped out of trouble by the book. The latest edition is from 2021 and therefore the information is very current. Absolute purchase tip!

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Solar power on the water >> Jackery Explorer 240 & Eco-Worthy 120W

Our boat Terase already had 2 x 100 watt fixed solar panels installed from purchase. However, the sun is sometimes not enough to charge the large 140A consumer battery, which powers for example the refrigerator or the jet. That’s why I started a comprehensive research on the topic of mobile solar panels and power stations. Basis of my research were several facebook groups and of course search engine queries.

I finally ended up with the extremely robust and reliable Jackery Explorer 240 power station. 67200 mAh or 240 watt hours are enough to charge an iPhone 13 around 20 times. In addition to a 230V Schuko connection with pure sine wave at 200 watts continuous current, which is also suitable for sensitive devices, there are also two 5 volt USB ports with 2.4A each and a 12 volt cigarette lighter. The device is very easy to use and weighs only about 3kg, so it can always travel in the boat case. If this is not enough, the Jackery 500, with more than twice the power, is recommended.

A power station can also be charged via a power outlet at home. However, the whole thing only becomes really useful, free of charge and, above all, sustainable with a solar cell. I have chosen a popular and inexpensive entry-level model. The foldable Eco-Worthy 120 Watt solar panel consists of many cells and provides enough power to charge a power station in a few hours. It comes with all the necessary cables, a 10-in-1 adapter to charge the power station and even a 20A charge controller. I use the charge controller to charge my 12 volt consumer battery when needed.

Below you will find several affiliate links to the featured products. If you click on them and buy an item, you support our work with a small commission from Amazon. You will not suffer any disadvantage – thank you in advance!

SBF Sport boat license inland and sea >> Really doable

Motorboats up to a maximum of 15 hp can be driven, after a detailed briefing by charter providers, even without SBF. So you can jump right into your first charter adventure. The free brochure Safety on the Water is certainly helpful. However, if you are more interested in motorboats and want to have a wider choice of charter boats or just want to go fast, you will have to get a sport boat license. We have registered with the Bootsschule Weiß in Berlin and for 329, – euro are seven hours theory inland + sea on two days and three practice hours in the Tempelhofer port inclusive. On top come the examination fees.

The theory part was entertaining and was routinely presented with a lot of expertise by Mr. Weiß. During the practical lessons, you learn the most important maneuvers such as docking and casting off, man overboard, stopping and so on. We booked two additional hours for a fee in order to have more practice before the exam. The practical exam itself took only 5 minutes and was easy to do. To be honest, you have to do a lot of cramming for the theory test. We used the brilliantly good app from Bootsprüfung.de, which is available for a fee. There are a total of 15 official exam sheets, each with 30 questions that are best learned by heart. We took several weeks to do this and passed without any problems.

By the way, Anne is the higher-ranking skipper, because in addition to the SBF Binnen, she also made See. This allows you to sail in coastal waters in the three-mile zone. For Dirk, the partly contradictory answers for example flagging and sound signals and the navigation tasks were just too much *oops.

Nautilus houseboats >> charter boats and how it all began

If it weren’t for Coronapandemie, we honestly probably never would have gotten into water sports. The thought of chartering a houseboat was always somewhere in the back of our minds. However, trips to other European countries seemed more interesting in the past. Due to the flight ban in the summer of 2020, we were then “forced” to spend our vacation in the German countryside and have definitely not regretted it.

Years ago I became aware of the houseboats of Nautilus by chance and remembered back. After a short research we were able to find a suitable provider in Berlin and booked a Nautino Mini for a whole week in early summer at a price of about 1,500 euros. On site there was an approximately 3-hour briefing. Since the boat is only motorized with a 15 hp outboard, we were able to start our first water tour without a boating license.

The Nautilus houseboats are a dream come true! The shipyard has its headquarters near Königswusterhausen near Berlin. The mastermind behind the then new motorboat genre “raft” is the company owner and architect Andreas Hoffmann. The concept is sophisticated down to the smallest detail. The smallest model, the Nautino, is 8.90 m long and 3.60 m wide and already offers space for up to six people. However, the boat size is optimal for two people with a child. A well-equipped kitchen is standard as well as a luxurious toilet including wet cell and shower. A solar system supplies the electrical equipment such as TV, music system and more. A bow thruster makes the boat even easier to maneuver. However, you really get the hang of it very quickly and there is a good insurance.

We explored the beautiful area Dahme and adjacent lake, which is located in the southeast of Berlin. Our tour took us from the Zeuthener See over the Great Train, Crossinsee, Seddinsee, Dämeritzsee, Flakensee, Little Venice and Kleiner and Großer Müggelsee. The tour can be done without problems with a daily driving time of 3-4 hours. The waters are breathtakingly beautiful and the surroundings offer everything from pretty little towns like Königswusterhausen to pure nature. For more information on one of the best spots in Europe, visit the informative website Reiseland Brandenburg.

I registered for the boating license and after passing the exam in November we bought our Terasa.