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Technical requirements for inland waterway vessels

This Directive is intended to promote European river transport by improving the technical harmonisation of vessels. It is designed to lay down a high level of safety equivalent to that for shipping on the Rhine. To achieve this, it provides for the introduction of a Community certificate for inland waterway vessels in each Member State, to be issued by the competent authorities, authorising them to operate on Community waterways including the Rhine.


Directive 2006/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels and repealing Council Directive 82/714/EEC.


The coexistence of various technical regulations on navigable waterways in the Community has long obstructed the free movement of vessels.

This Directive is designed to strengthen the harmonisation of the requirements for issuing navigation certificates by the Member States.

Scope of application

The Directive applies to vessels of a length of 20 metres or more and a volume of at least 100 m3. It also applies to floating equipment, tugs and pushers, and vessels intended for passenger transport carrying more than 12 passengers in addition to the crew. Ferries, naval vessels and warships are excluded from its scope of application.


The Community waterways concerned are classified in four navigable zones plus a zone R – the Rhine – which is covered by a special convention. Any Member State may change the classification of its waterways, subject to their being notified to the Commission at least six months in advance.


Exceptions are allowed: any Member State may, after consulting the Commission, authorise a reduction of the technical requirements of Annex II for craft operating exclusively in certain zones.

Derogations are also possible in the case of vessels operating on waterways not linked to the waterways of another Member State or making limited journeys of local interest or in harbour areas. However, the Member States may also, under certain conditions, lay down additional technical requirements for vessels operating on their waterways.


Craft operating on Community waterways must also carry a Community certificate. Where they operate in zone R, they must have either a Community certificate or a certificate issued in accordance with the Revised Convention for Rhine Navigation. Community certificates are to be issued for craft laid down from 30 December 2008 onwards, following a technical inspection carried out prior to the craft being put into service and intended to check whether it complies with the technical requirements laid down in Annex II to the Directive. If the competent authorities find any infringements of the requirements, the craft may, provided that it does not constitute a manifest danger, continue to operate until such time as the non-compliant components or areas of the craft are replaced or altered. After that, the components or areas must meet the requirements of Annex II.

Community certificates may be issued by the competent authorities of any Member State. It must draw up a list of its competent authorities and notify them to the Commission.

Implementing powers

Directive 2006/137/EC adapts Directive 2006/87/EC to bring it into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission. Directive 2006/87/EC empowers the Commission to update the technical requirements in the Annexes to Directive 2006/87/EC.

Transport of dangerous goods

Directive 2008/68/EC repeals Article 6 of Directive 2006/87/EC on the transport of dangerous goods, and establishes common rules for all aspects of inland transport, including inland navigation.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2006/87/EC



OJ L 389 of 30.12.2006

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2006/137/EC



OJ L 389 of 30.12.2006

Directive 2008/59/EC



OJ L 166 of 27.6.2008

Directive 2008/68/EC



OJ L 260 of 30.9.2008

Directive 2008/87/EC



OJ L255 of 23.9.2008

Directive 2008/126/EC



OJ L32 of 31.1.2009

Directive 2009/46/EC



OJ L109 of 30.4.2009


Annex I – List of Community inland waters divided geographically into zones 1, 2, 3 and 4

Directive 2008/59/EC [OJ L 166 of 27.6.2008];

Directive 2009/46/EC [OJ L 109 of 30.4.2009].

Annex II – Minimal technical requirements applicable to vessels on inland waterways of zones 1, 2, 3 and 4

Directive 2006/137/EC [OJ L 389 of 30.12.2006];

Directive 2008/87/EC [OJ L 255 of 23.9.2008];

Directive 2008/126/EC [OJ L32 of 31.1.2009];

Directive 2009/46/EC [OJ L109 of 30.4.2009].

Annex V – Model Community inland navigation certificates

Directive 2008/87/EC [OJ L 255 of 23.9.2008];

Directive 2009/46/EC [OJ L 109 of 30.4.2009].

Annex VI – Model register of Community inland navigation certificates

Directive 2008/68/EC [OJ L260 of 30.9.2008];

Directive 2008/87/EC [OJ L 255 of 23.9.2008].

Last updated: 13.10.2009
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