Center Guidelines | VDWS

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Center Guidelines


VDWS-watersportschools are VDWS-recognized training centers for watersport. They are members of the registered association VDWS e.V. The guidelines of the recognition of watersportschools emerge from § 2 of the VDWS e.V. statutes.

The training for adequate and correct seamanlike behaviour on the water is mainly assured by commercial training centers. In its capacity as professional association, VDWS aims for a qualified education of all watersportpersons. In order to guarantee the highest possible level of this education, training centers are recognized according to standard guidelines.

For this purpose, the following requirements have to be met, the present list not intending to be exhaustive. These are minimum standards, to be completed by additional criteria of the VDWS Center Manual, in as much as it is required for a training activity of adequate quality.

VDWS' guidelines of recognition correspond to the requirements of the working group VAW (Vereinigte Ausbildungsverbände Wassersport), a federation made up of independent watersport associations from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Member associations of VAW are
VDWS Verband Deutscher Wassersport Schulen e.V. 
VÖWS Vereinigung Österreichischer Wassersport Schulen 
WSVO Wassersport Schulvereinigung Österreichs 
SWAV Schweizerische Wassesport Vereinigung


In order to get the label of VDWS-recognized watersportschool the following requirements must be met: 

1. School management
School management requires a VDWS management licence. The school has to be economically solid and must demonstrate ownership situation.

2. Training location
a) Access to the training waters must be guaranteed without hampering, bothering and especially endangering other watersportpersons and swimmers.
b) If necessary, the legal right of use needs to be attested by owner or public authorities.
c) Training waters has to be in close proximity to the official center location. The option for an imediate physical exchange has always to be given to the studenst, guests and instructors of the VDWS watersport center´s.
d) Sufficient changing cubicles and sanitary facilities situated nearby the school are mandatory (attest of right of use).

3. Schooling equipment
a) Adequate and sufficient schooling equipment (windsurf boards and rigs, kite boards and kites, sailing vessels) is required for all disciplines covered by the school.
b) If required by law or by the site's particularities, a motor-driven rescue-boat as well as a sufficient number of life-jackets must be available. (A motor-driven rescue-boat constitutes a standard requirement for kite surfing, besides in shallow training sites.)
c) A sufficient number of cold weather equipment, compliant with the corresponding hygiene requirements must be provided for.
d) The school disposes of an adequate room for theory classes, a corresponding working space in case of open-air classes. This includes an assortment of teaching materials, as magnet boards (arrows, buoys, and pens), models, VDWS-teachings aids etc.

4. Further equipments and requirements
The list of the preceding requirements is not exhaustive. These are mere minimum standards, to be completed by additional criteria of the VDWS Center Manual, in as much as it is required for a training activity of adequate quality.

5. Public image
Every training center must be clearly presented as a VDWS-school. This includes VDWS- school signboard, VDWS-school banner and VDWS-school stamp.
Only the original VDWS-lettering is to be used for advertising. The current VDWS-logo is to be used in a promotionally effective manner in all brochures and in the Internet, with reference to "VDWS-recognized". (free file on demand)
Every memberschool will be cited in the list of VDWS-schools (print, Internet). 

6. Qualification for training and examination
At least one teacher must be authorized to manage a VDWS-recognized school (VDWS licence of school management). The training center attests that at least the leading instructor possesses a valid training and examination licence for the offered watersport disciplines. The other instructors are expected to have at least one VDWS training licence or a licence recognized as equivalent by VDWS. Interns need to be registered at VDWS. All licence holders have to be VDWS-members. Schools with different locations must fulfil these requirements for all their branches. The school commits itself to align training and examination for VDWS-licences and certificates with the association's regulations.

7. Liability and insurance
The watersportschool has to attest for adequate public liability insurance. It trains on its own responsibility and is not a VDWS agent, VDWS not directly administering basic training. VDWS is not responsible for any kind of claim for compensation of trainees and watersportschools. 

8. Interdiction of distribution of VDWS-material
The transfer of VDWS teaching material and teaching aids for resale is not allowed. However, a limited quantity of teaching material and teaching aids may be passed to other VDWS-schools, in order to bridge a temporary shortage. This does not apply to the association's certificates (especially the basic licences). If, by way of exception, basic licences are passed to another VDWS-memberschool, the VDWS office has to be informed without delay and the serial numbers of the basic licences must be specified. A violation of this regulation may lead to revocation of the school's recognition and a VDWS e.V. process of elimination.

9. Rival membership
VDWS e.V. is a community of interest, aiming to promote education and training in watersports. Every single member should actively support its statutory objectives. As a general rule, parallel memberships in other watersport associations do not contribute to strengthening and cohesion of our association. The school accepts to order teaching materials and teaching aids exclusively at VDWS, and that for all watersport disciplines it has asked for VDWS-recognition. 

10. Recognition
The decision concerning a school's recognition is made by the competent board member. If necessary, the watersportschool will be visited. The school's recognition takes effect after payment of admission fee and membership fee. There is no right of appeal concerning recognition. Limited to one year, the recognition can also be accorded if single regulations of the guidelines for recognition are unaccomplished. The decision is the board's responsibility. As a consequence of the recognition, the VDWS-watersportschool accepts to pay a single admission fee as well as an annual membership fee.

11. Revocation of recognition, expulsion, withdrawal
1. The recognition as VDWS-school is made for an indefinite period. It may be cancelled at any moment, especially in case a watersportschool is no longer in line with the recognition guidelines. VDWS reserves the right to inspect previously recognized schools.

2. In case of violation of the recognition guidelines, the VDWS board may decide:
a) to admonish the watersportschool;
b) to impose a penalty of 2.500 Euros in case of transfer for resale of VDWS-material to third parties;
c) to revoke the school's recognition.

3. In case of revocation of recognition or withdrawal from membership - no matter whether VDWS or the school are cancelling - the school is obliged to transfer its entire VDWS-teaching material to the VDWS office, against reimbursement of the cost price.


Fees are established by the general meeting of VDWS e. V.

1. Contribution for single membership Euros 51,00 (annually, payable 1st quarter)
2. Contribution for school membership Euros 153,00 (annually, payable 1st quarter)
3. Contribution per additional center destination Euros 50,00 (annually, payable 1st quarter)
4. Admission-fee for schools Euros 350,00 (single payment)

The admission-fee contains a "start package"(Center Manual, VDWS-banner, school-stamp, school signboard, VDWS-fashion items, proshop catalogue, promotional package and learning material basic equipment for the respective sport).

German law is applicable for all litigations resulting of the legal relationship between VDWS and watersportschools. Place of jurisdiction is the registered office of VDWS e.V. in 82362 Weilheim i. OB. Germany.

The precedent version of the recognition guidelines for VDWS-memberschools becomes operative on 1st February 2020

Sgd. Thomas Weinhardt 1st chairman
Sgd. Christian Bartesaghi Chairman of schools

Criteria catalogue (minimum requierement)

School infrastructure
The school is in compliance with regulations set out by local authorities for running a watersports school.
Reception / office
VDWS flags and sign
Toilets available
Changing rooms
Showers available
Place for theory lessons available

Rental and school equipment is available as described.
The equipment meets safety standards and complies with local authority regulations.
The equipment looks appealing and is stored in a practical way.

VDWS licence school management
VDWS licence of corresponding discipline

Quality management
QMS available
Logbook available

Rescue boat
Teaching and renting safety concept
Emergency guide

Overview and description of current courses
Employment of VDW manuals
Employment of instruction tools and teaching aids

Contracts and insurances
General terms and conditions
Terms of hire
Water authorization Employer's liability insurance for all disciplines
Staff liability insurance