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Technical Requirements for Inland Waterway Vessels Directive (TRIWV)

The Technical Requirements for Inland Waterway Vessels Directive 2006/87/EC (TRIWV) came in force on 30 December 2006. Member States which have inland waterways listed in the Directive are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive with effect from 30 December 2008.

The list of Member States that are required to implement the Directive by 30 December 2008 are - Austria, Belgium. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherland, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and United Kingdom.

The UK's lack of implementation of the Directive is an interesting situation!!!! Let’s just say “watch this space” as I understand there is a lot cross channel discussion going on right now and what the outcome will be is anyone’s guess. 

Subsequently, there have been several amendment Directives (7) to the TRIWV and there are still at least 3 more in the pipeline. The TRIWV Directive and the published amendment Directives can be found at EUR-LEX A consolidated version is also available at EC

The Directive covers recreational craft with a length (L) longer than 20m and recreational craft for which the product of length (L), breadth (B) and draught (T) is a volume of 100 cubic m or more. The 'length (L)': the maximum length of the hull in m, excluding rudder and bowsprit; 'breadth (B)': the maximum breadth of the hull in m, measured to the outer edge of the shell plating (excluding paddle wheels, rub rails, and similar); 'draught (T)': the vertical distance in m between the lowest point of the hull without taking into account the keel or other fixed attachments and the maximum draught line.

Annex II, Chapter 21 of the Directive covers the specific requirements applicable to recreational craft. 

Recreational craft constructed after 30 December 2008 must have a Community inland navigation certificate attesting full compliance of the craft to the requirements of Annex II, Chapter 21 of the Directive if they are using waterways of Member States that have implemented the Directive. Recreational craft thus certified are able to use all waterways including those waterways in Zone R. Waterways in Zone R are the Rhine and its estuaries from Basel to the open sea plus the Lek and the Waal.

Recreational craft constructed before 30 December 2008 have two options.

  • A Community inland navigation certificate a attesting full compliance of the craft to the requirements of Annex II, Chapter 21 of the Directive. Recreational craft thus certified will be able to use all waterways including the Waal, Lek and Rhine.
  • A Community inland navigation certificate attesting that shortcomings found after a technical inspection to the requirements of Annex II, Chapter 21 of the Directive do not constitute a manifest danger. Recreational craft thus certified will be able to use all waterways but not Zone R waterways. However, a Community inland navigation certificate issued by the Netherland Authorities allows navigation on the Waal, Lek and Rhine but only in the Netherlands.

There is a period of grace for recreational craft constructed before 30 December 2008 before they need to have a Community inland navigation certificate and was generally thought to be until 30 December 2018 specified in the Directive. However, Member States are allowed to implement an earlier date and this is exactly what Belgium has done.  

In Belgium, the period of grace has been reduced dramatically depending of craft age. Craft constructed before 01 January 1912 need to have a certificate before 30 December 2010. There are other dates for less old craft, but finally, all craft built before 30 December 2008 will need a certificate by 30 December 2014. Other Member States may now implement similar dates as Belgium. 

A word of warning here - craft not certified before the cut-off date will then be considered a "new" craft and hence will need to have a certificate attesting full compliance of the craft to the Directive!!!!  

The maximum duration of a Community inland navigation certificate is 10 years. However, each Member State’s inspection authority for certificates individually decides the duration of an issued certificate for each inspected craft (up to the maximum 10 years). 

Directive 2006/87/EC is rather a daunting read and the following flow charts, for recreational craft only, are provided as an aid to try and help understand the complexities of the Directive. I had some difficulty in compiling them and suspect that the flow logic may still have some errors!!!

Copies of the four pages (.jpg) can be downloaded from the following links below -

Page 1 - start page, page 2, page 3 & page 4


Page last updated 26 December 2009

© Michael Clarke - 2009