CCNR embarks on work on the use of vessel handling simulators in testing practical competence – Adoption of a roadmap


At its meeting in Strasbourg on 20 March, the CCNR’s STF Committee (Committee on Social Questions, Employment and Training) agreed to embark on work with a view to authorising the use of vessel handling simulators, more particularly in the context of optional practical examinations. In addition to theoretical knowledge, practical experience is required before a Rhine boatmaster’s certificate (“patente”) can be issued. It is essential that skippers have a high level of competence backed by practical experience, thereby ensuring safety on the Rhine, in keeping with the principles laid down in the Mannheim Document. At present, the only means of attesting this practical experience is the accumulation of four years of navigation time, listed in the crew member’s service record book.

On the basis of a roadmap, the STF Committee has embarked on specific work, backed by a number of competent experts, including those in the EDINNA network (network of European inland navigation training establishments).

By starting this work, the STF Committee is opening the way for the validation of practical experience by means of a test using a vessel handling simulator. Top-quality simulators make it possible to submit candidates to near-real conditions in which they are then able to prove the skills they have learned and their competence.

This additional method of validating the acquisition of practical experience could lead to a reduction in the navigation time currently required by the RPN (Regulations for Rhine navigation personnel) before obtaining the Rhine boatmaster’s certificate (“patente”) and as a result could make it quicker for new crew members, particularly those seeking a change of career, to enter the profession.

By adopting this specific roadmap, the CCNR’s aim is to meet the increasing demand for qualified crew members for inland navigation in the medium and long term. This action is therefore one of the means of achieving the CCNR’s “Vision 2018”, which was launched in December 2013. For more information on Vision 2018: