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Inland navigation: harmonisation of conditions for obtaining national boatmasters' certificates

The aim of this Directive is to harmonise the conditions for obtaining national boat masters' certificates for inland waterway navigation between the Member States in order to combat distortions of competition between carriers and to increase the safety of inland waterway navigation.


Council Directive 96/50/EC of 23 July 1996 on harmonizing the conditions for obtaining national boatmasters' certificates for the carriage of goods and passengers by inland waterway within the Community [Official Journal L 235 of 17.9.96]


The Directive makes the same distinction as Directive 91/672/EEC, providing for the subdivision of certificates for Community inland waterways (group B) and special certificates applicable to Community waterways and maritime areas (group A).

Scope of the Directive. The Directive applies to all boatmasters of inland-waterway vessels: self-propelled barges, tugs, pusher craft, barges, pushed convoys or side-by-side formations intended for the transport of goods or passengers, except for boatmasters of vessels for goods transport which are under 20 metres in length and vessels for passenger transport which carry no more than 12 people.

A certificate meeting the Directive's minimal requirements is valid in all Community Member States.

Requiremenents to obtain a certificate:

  • minimum age: 21;
  • conditions linked to physical and mental aptitude; a medical examination every year after reaching the age of 65 years;
  • at least four years' professional experience as a member of the deck crew on an inland waterway vessel, with the possibility of a reduction;
  • applicants must have passed an examination of professional knowledge of which the main subjects are listed in Annex II;
  • any special laid down by the Member States with regard to the transport of passengers;
  • special conditions relating to the navigation of boats with the aid of radar.

Possibility for the Commission to take the necessary steps to adapt the model boatmasters' certificate in Annex I and the professional knowledge required for the issue of the certificate specified in Annex II. Composition and role of the committee to assist the Commission in this function.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
96/50/EC7.10.967.4.98L 235 of 17.9.96

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1882/200319.10.03-L 284 of 31.10.03
Last updated: 24.01.2007
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