Technical requirements for vessels


At the Rhine level

The CCNR has exclusive authority to specify technical requirements for vessels navigating on the Rhine. Those requirements are set out in the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations, which is continually updated to reflect technological progress. This regulation was drawn up already in the 19th century in uniform fashion throughout the full course of the Rhine, with no discrimination between vessels.

Every vessel navigating on the Rhine must have a Rhine vessel certificate issued after the boat has been examined by an inspection body, certifying that the vessel complies with the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations. Any Rhine craft can apply for a vessel certificate from any inspection commission, regardless of the relevant nationality.

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At European level

The Rhine inspection regulations, which is only legally applicable on the Rhine itself, has become Europe’s technical reference base for the construction of new vessels, irrespective of whether they are intended for use on the Rhine or elsewhere. Especially the EU adopted the directive 2006/87/EC introducing harmonisation of the technical requirements for inland waterway vessels with Rhine regulatory provisions (with regard to zone 3 of major European waterways).

Every vessel navigating on the European waterways must have a Community certificate issued after the boat has been examined by an inspection body, certifying that the vessel complies with the directive 2006/87/EC

The CCNR has recognised the validity of Community certificates Zone R (namely certificates issued pursuant to the specific transitional provisions for craft navigating on the Rhine mentionned in the directive 2006/87/EC) on the Rhine, while Rhine certificates have also been recognised on all EU waterways. The European Commission and the CCNR work collaboratively through a joint working group (JWG) to amend and updated those requirements.

On 3 June 2015, the CCNR adopted a Resolution creating a European committee for drawing up common standards in the field of inland navigation (Comité Européen pour l’Élaboration de Standards dans le Domaine de Navigation Intérieure – CESNI). The creation of this new working body is in line with the desire of the CCNR, shared by the European Union, to reinforce governance at the European level, particularly in the field of regulations governing inland navigation. The purpose of the new committee is to bring together experts from the Member States of the European Union and the CCNR and representatives of international organisations with an interest in inland navigation. The various stakeholders and professions in navigation in Europe will be well represented.

The CESNI is involved in drawing up standards for the technical requirements for inland navigation vessels and the demands made of crew members, and in the various implementing measures in the regulatory fields concerned. The regulatory frameworks of the European Union – new directives are currently been discussed – and of the CCNR – the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations and the Regulations for Rhine navigation personnel – will in future refer to the standards developed by the CESNI.

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European Union website


At pan-European level

UNECE Resolution No. 61, without mandatory status, provides a set of rules for construction and rigging of vessels, their inspection and issuance of ships’ certificates.

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UNECE Resolution No. 61