Safety requirements for pleasure craft

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you build or import pleasure craft? In the Netherlands pleasure craft must meet safety and environmental requirements. There requirements apply to:

  • pleasure boats between 2.5 metres and 24 metres in length
  • pleasure craft that have entered the market after 1997
  • all sports and recreational boats (inland and seagoing)

Inland shipping certificate

Large pleasure craft must have an inland shipping certificate (binnenvaartcertificaat, in Dutch). A boat must meet specific technical requirements to be eligible for this certificate.

An inland shipping certificate is mandatory for:

  • pleasure craft 20 metres or longer
  • pleasure craft of 100m3 (length x width x depth) or more

You can apply for an inland shipping certificate to classification societies or inspection bodies (klassenbureaus or keuringsinstanties, in Dutch) that have been approved by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT).

CE marking

Pleasure crafts must bear a manufacturer's plate with CE marking. This is a European label that proves that the craft meets European requirements. The plate should be visible from the steering position of the vessel.

Applying for CE marking

Do you want to apply for a CE marking for your pleasure craft? You must have the vessel inspected. In the Netherlands you can have this done by 1 of 3 organisations: Dutch Certification Institute, DMI-EMCI, and the European Certification Bureau Netherlands. Or you can search the European Nando database to find a notified body in another EU country.

WIN code (manufacturers code)

You must place the manufacturers code, the Watercraft Identification Number (WIN code), on the rear (stern) right of your vessel. The code should also be placed on a 2nd, hidden, place on the vessel by the manufacturer. The manufacturers code shows on which manufacturing yard the vessel was build and when the vessel was completed.

Applying for a WIN

To obtain a WIN, manufacturers need to apply for a Manufacturers Identification Code (see link to English pdf form at the bottom of the page) to the HISWA Association (Dutch Water Sports Industry Association). It is mandatory to keep these records.

Owner's manual

If you are the builder of the vessel, you must provide provide an owner's manual and a statement of conformity. In this statement you declare that the vessel meets all legal requirements.

Technical file

Are you a manufacturer? Then you must keep a technical file of the recreational craft (in Dutch) or component that you put on the market.

Certificate of Registry

Pleasure craft at sea do not need to have a Certificate of Registry (Zeebrief). However, it is advisable to apply for a Certificate of Registry to the ILT as this establishes your ownership of the vessel and gives you the right to sail under the Dutch flag. If you sail commercially a Certificate of Registry is mandatory.

Environmental requirements

Maximum emission rates (Part B of Annex I ) of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, particulates, and carbon monoxide apply to new pleasure crafts, as well as noise limit levels (Part C of Annex I) for propulsion engines. To avoid discharge of sewage, new crafts that are equipped with a toilet must have a holding tank or water treatment system.


The requirements for pleasure craft do not apply to:

  • official racing boats
  • canoes
  • gondolas
  • pedal boats and personal watercrafts
  • surfboards
  • originals and replicas of historical crafts
  • experimental crafts
  • crafts built for personal use
  • manned crafts for commercial passenger transport
  • submarines
  • air-cushion crafts
  • hydrofoils

For a full list of exempted vessels see Chapter 1, article 2, paragraph 2 of EU Directive 2013/53 on recreational craft.