Technical requirements for vessels


For the CCNR, the principle of freedom of navigation has always gone hand in hand with the principles of organisation to guarantee safety and proper functioning of navigation.

To this end, the CCNR has produced a number of technical rules in relation to the equipment and safety of vessels. The first Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations (RVIR) dates back to 1905. This regulation has been continually updated to reflect technological progress. The inspection regulations has undergone substantial revisions over the years. The most recent revisions were carried out in 1976, 1995 and 2006.

The CCNR's regulatory powers are mainly based on Articles 1 and 22 of the Mannheim Convention. This regulation was drawn up already in the 19th century in uniform fashion throughout the full course of the Rhine, with no discrimination between vessels.

Every vessel navigating on the Rhine must have a vessel certificate issued after the boat has been examined by an inspection commission. Any Rhine craft can apply for a vessel certificate from any inspection commission, regardless of the relevant nationality

The inspection regulations defines the basic premises on which the inspection commissions issue vessel certificates. In theory, the regulation is meant for the inspection commissions. In practice, the inspection regulations objectively defines the technical conditions to which vessels on the Rhine are subject.

By virtue of its stringent requirements, factoring in cutting-edge technology, the Rhine inspection regulations, which is only legally applicable on the Rhine itself, has become Europe's technical reference base for the construction of new vessels, irrespective of whether they are intended for use on the Rhine or elsewhere. The regulation has been more or less transposed into other national regulations (Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary), by UN-ECE (for the development of technical requirements for vessels, Resolution 61 revised), and by the European Community (Directive 82/714/EC superseded by Directive 2006/87/EC 62 KB 63 KB 60 KB 58 KB ).

In 2006, an EC Directive laid down the technical requirements for inland waterway vessels (Directive 2006/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December), and this introduced full harmonisation of the technical requirements for inland waterway vessels and Rhine regulatory provisions (with regard to category 3 of major waterways). On the basis of this equivalence, the CCNR has recognised the validity of Community certificates on the Rhine (Protocol 2007-II-21 70 KB 41 KB 70 KB ), while Rhine certificates have also been recognised on all EU waterways. In future, Rhine and EU regulations will evolve in tandem so as to remain identical.

This technical regulation is simultaneously stringent while also containing flexibility. The stringency is demonstrated by the fact that the requirements are the strictest and the most technically advanced. Its flexibility can be seen from the range of implementation options:

  • transitory provisions, so as to take account of the vested rights of older vessels;
  • temporary 3-year provisions: before adopting a new technical rule, the CCNR may test it out for 3 years, following which the provision will be abandoned or definitively adopted;
  • waivers: vessel operators may request the use of technology other than that laid down by regulation if it can provide comparable guarantees; the use of alternative technologies as a result of the waivers may thus open the door to regulatory amendments.

The Inspection Regulations Committee

The technical requirements for vessels are drawn up by the Inspection Regulations Committee.

Main areas of responsibility:
Technical safety of vessels, construction and equipping of buildings

Relevant regulations:
Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations (RVIR), including the inspection commission administrative instructions

  • Amendment of the RVIR to reflect current developments or on the basis of experience;
  • Cooperation with the European Commission in connection with the technical requirements applicable to inland navigation vessels;
  • Reduction of polluting emissions from the engines of inland navigation vessels;
  • Establishment of recommendations concerning derogations;
  • Establishment of inspection commission administrative instructions;
  • Meetings with the inspection commissions.

Committee Chairman: Mr. BÜHLER, Commissioner for Switzerland
Secretariat: Mr. BOYER

Working groups: RV/G, JWG (Joint Working Group for experts from EU and CCNR member states on technical requirements for inland waterway vessels)

Schedule of meetings

Work programme 18 KB 24 KB 23 KB


The Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations (RVIR)

The technical requirements for vessels are set out in the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations.

The Inspection Regulations settles the technical requirements for the licence of vessels to navigate on the Rhine, their stability and strength and equipmentand their manoeuvrability. The Inspection Regulations contains extensive requrements for environmental protection and work safety.

Structure of the Inspection Regulations

Part I


Part II

3.Shipbuilding requirements
4.Safety clearance, freeboard and draught marks
6.Steering system
8.Engine design
8a.Emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants from diesel engines
9.Electrical equipment
11.Safety at work stations
13.Fuel-fired heating, cooking and refrigerating equipment
14.Liquefied gas installations for domestic purposes
15.Specific requirements applicable to passenger vessels
16.Specific requirements applicable to craft intended to form part of a pushed or towed convoy or of a side-by-side formation
17.Specific requirements applicable to floating equipment
18.Specific requirements applicable to worksite craft
19.Specific requirements applicable to canal barges
20.Specific requirements applicable to sea-going vessels
21.Specific requirements applicable to recreational craft
22.Stability of vessels carrying containers
22a.Specific requirements applicable to craft longer than 110 m
22b.Specific requirements applicable to high-speed vessels

Part III

23.Equipment of vessels with regard to manning

Part IV

24.Transitional and final provisions


A.Application for inspection
B.Inspection certificate)
C.Register of inspection certificates
D.Provisional inspection certificate / provisional approval certificate
E.(left void)
F.(left void)
G.Certificate for seagoing vessel navigating on the Rhine
H.Requirements for tachygraphs and for the installation of tachygraphs on board
I.Safety signs and signals
J.Exhaust and pollutant particle emissions
K.(left void)
L.Model of the unique European Vessel Identification Number (ENI)
M.Radar installations and rate-of-turn indicators in Rhine navigation
N.Requirements for Inland AIS equipment and prescriptions regarding the installation and the performance tests of Inland AIS equipment
O.List of certificates recognized as equivalent according to § 1.03 and modalities for their recognition
P.Data for the identification of a vessel

Administrative Instructions to the Inspection Bodies and competent authorities according to Article 1.07 of the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations (RVIR)

To ease and harmonize the use of these regulations, the Central Commission can issue administrative instructions for the inspection bodies and for the competent authorities specified by these regulations. These administrative instructions shall be brought to the attention of the inspection bodies and the competent authorities by the delegations. The inspection bodies and competent authorities are obliged to follow these administrative instructions.

The Central Commission has delegated the authority to decide upon administrative instructions to its Inspection Regulations Committee.


Recommendations to Inspection Bodies pursuant to Article 2.19 of the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations (RVIR)

Where the provisions of Part II require the use, or presence, on board a craft of certain materials, installations or items of equipment, or the adoption of certain design aspects or certain arrangements, the Inspection Bodymay permit the use, or presence, on board the said craft of other materials, installations or items of equipment, or the adoption of other design features or other arrangements,, provided they are accepted as equivalent based on recommendations of the Central Commission. This matter is regulated in detail under Article 2.19 RVIR.

The Central Commission has delegated the authority to decide upon recommendations to its Inspection Regulations Working Group.


Joint meetings of the Inspection Bodies

The experts from the Inspection Bodies of the Member States of the CCNR meet every few years 22 KB 20 KB 22 KB 20 KB in order to discuss the harmonization of the application of the technical requirements and to answer questions relating to their practical application. The first such meeting that included also representatives of the Inspection Bodies and the competent authorities of the Member States of the EU took place in 2008. In 2012 the meeting was held in Wroclaw (Poland) 92 KB 95 KB 131 KB 56 KB and in 2018 in Vienna 518 KB 504 KB 521 KB 534 KB .