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Inland navigation vessels

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you navigate your pleasure craft, passenger, or freight ship on Dutch inland waterways, you must comply with the Inland Navigation Act. Read more.

If you navigate your pleasure craft, passenger, or freight ship on Dutch inland waterways, you must comply with the Inland Navigation Act (Binnenvaartwet).

The Act includes requirements regarding:

  • a vessel's condition, design, and equipment
  • working conditions
  • the physical condition and professional competence of the captain and crew

Inspection certificate or inland navigation certificate

In most cases, your vessel will need an inspection certificate (certificaat van onderzoek) or an inland shipping certificate (binnenvaartcertificaat, in Dutch). A certificate is proof that the vessel is in a sound technical condition. You can apply for certificates for inland navigation vessels to classification societies or inspection bodies (klassenbureaus or keuringsinstanties, in Dutch).

Registering working hours

Shipowners or captains that employ crew, must keep records on the crew's working hours. All vessels must have these with exception of ferries.

Union certificate of qualification as a boatmaster

You will also need a Union certificate of qualification as a boatmaster(EU kwalificatiecertificaat schipper) to navigate the inland waterways. On Dutch waters traffic rules apply, such as rules on lighting, priority, and sound signals. These are laid down in the Inland navigation police regulations (BPR, in Dutch).

Certificate of competence for inland navigation

WIthin your company, at least one person must hold a certificate of competence. This certificate is mandatory for commercial inland shipping. You can apply for the certificate of competence at Kiwa Register.

Exemption special transport on provincial waterways

Do you want to use a canal or river for special transport purposes? Or do you want to use a ship with non-standard dimensions? You need to apply for an exemption from the provincial authorities(in Dutch).

Rhine navigation certificate

As (co-)owner or operator of an inland navigation vessel, you are likely to need a Rhine Navigation Certificate. This certificate allows you to navigate almost all of Europe's waterways, including those of Switzerland. You need to apply for this certificate in the country where your vessel is registered. For vessels registered in the Netherlands you apply for the certificate to Kiwa Register (in Dutch).

Floating constructions

A Union certificate of qualification is obligatory for skippers or operators of floating constructions and large pleasure boats. Floating constructions and any other ships used for construction are to be subject to the same regulations as inland shipping vessels.

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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