Inland Waterways

The Inland Waterways of Europe provide recreational boaters with thousands of kilometers of varied rivers and canals to explore. Many of the waterways are also used by commercial vessels therefore there are rules and regulations governing their use.


The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Inland Transport Committee Working Party on Inland Water Transport

Resolution 24 - CEVNI - European Code for Inland Waterways

The interconnected European waterways pass through many different countries speaking many different languages. CEVNI provides harmonisation of the rules, signs and procedures across much of the network.

CEVNI is now in its 5th revision which is available from the UNECE web-site. An official publication of revision five of CEVNI is also produced.

Resolution 40 - International Certificate for Operator of Pleasure Craft

The International Certificate for Operator of Pleasure Craft is more commonly known as the International Certificate of Competence (ICC). The ICC allows the holder to voyage internationally where the country the holder is visiting has chosen to accept it and subject to any prescriptions made by the visited country.

As the ICC’s validity is determined by the visited country it is not a truly international qualification. However, the ICC is the only international evidence of competence that exists for pleasure boaters in Europe.

Further information about the ICC is available on the ICC page of this web-site.

Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR)

Although the CCNR is primarily involved in matters of consequence to the large commercial vessels navigating the Rhine, the EBA has observers status to ensure it is aware of any matters of significance to recreational boaters, that may arise.

Inland AIS and Inland ECDIS

CCNR has published an information document on the obligation to equip with an Inland AIS device and an Inland ECDIS device, including the type of device that is required and how is must be used. It also details which vessels are exempt from this requirement. It is published in 4 languages: English, Dutch, French, German

Other related CCNR documents

Technical Requirement for Inland Waterways Vessels - TRIWV - Council Directive 82/714/EEC

The technical requirements set out in the annexes to this directive incorporate the provisions laid down in the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulation as approved by the CCNR. This directive applies to recreational craft over 20m in length.


Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels, amending Directive 2009/100/EC and repealing Directive 2006/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.

On 10 September 2013, the European Commission transmitted a proposal to the European Parliament and to the Council to re-organise Directive 2006/87/EC (TRIWV) so that decision-making mechanisms are established in the articles and the annexes contain only technical and procedural provisions.

The re-organisation was intended to allow better coordination and harmonisation on technical and procedural provisions set out in Directive 2006/87/EC with the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations applied under the auspices of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR).

In order to take the proposal forward, a technical committee called (Comité Européen pour l’elaboration de Standards dans le domaine de Navigation Intérieure - CESNI), open to experts from all Member States of the EU, needed to be endorsed. This was a fundamental prerequisite for the adoption of the general approach to the proposal.

At its plenary session held on 3 and 4 Jun 2015, the CCNR adopted a Resolution creating CESNI and standards in the field of inland navigation. This Resolution promotes the development of uniform, modern, user-friendly requirements and takes into account the CCNR’s “Vision 2018” for the sustainable development of inland navigation.

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. An Administrative Arrangement on this was concluded in 2013 by the Director General for Mobility and Transport and the Secretary General of the CCNR.

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. In creating the committee, the European Commission – as well as the CCNR – is looking to simplify procedures in the field of regulating inland navigation, so that the experience acquired by the CCNR can be made fully available to all the institutional partners and stakeholders concerned.

CESNI will be involved in drawing up standards for the technical requirements for inland navigation vessels and the needs of crew members, and the various implementing measures in the regulatory fields concerned. The regulatory frameworks will in future refer to the standards developed by the CESNI. The inaugural meeting of the new CESNI committee took place on 17 June 2015, in Strasbourg. The functioning of the committee and it procedures will be assessed before the end of 2017.

Regional Arrangement Concerning the Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways (RAINWAT)

Through the Basel Arrangement the RAINWAT Committee has introduced and Automatic Transmitter Identification System (ATIS) for vessels making VHF transmissions whilst on the inland waterways of the signatory countries. The regulations are applied to recreational craft including those sailing under the flag of non-RAINWAT countries.


Related documents and links:

Organisations that have an interest in Inland Waterways with which the EBA is in contact:

Click here to read the EBA Position on Transfer of Inland Waterways from State to Private Ownership or Operation in full