European Boating Association
EBA was created as a pressure group on behalf of recreational boaters, mainly to be aware of and influence where necessary and possible European legislation and regulations as well as other regulations, safety or other. RYA (Royal Yachting Assoc) were prime movers and still run the secretariat. Members are national clubs from European countries, mostly Yachting/Sailing but some inland waterways clubs. DBA were at first “observers”(no vote), later becoming associate members in 2002 and then full members. Di Murrell was DBA’s first delegate, Guy Toye followed in 2002 and later was elected one of the three V-P’s. He managed to create an Inland Waterways Group to increase the visibility of Inland Waterways but it has always been an uphill struggle. He gave up being DBA delegate in 2011, Di taking over. The new V-P is Dieter Haendel of German Motorboat Assoc. Relevant to DBA, EBA has been very active in
- Re-defining and pushing the national acceptance of the ICC (International Certificate of Competence) – a major success was to remove any link with a candidate’s nationality, thus enabling non-EU citizens to be issued with an ICC provided they have the necessary competence
- Attempting to limit new regulations so far as (a) reasonable and (b) possible
EBA website: http://www.eba.eu.com/
UNECE (United Nations – Economic Commission for Europe)
– meets in Geneva, delegates from all European countries in the geographical sense (Russia to Iceland, Norway to Turkey). Guy Toye represented EBA on the Inland Transport Commission from 2002 – replacing Robin Sjoberg of RYA – basically EBA were very happy that someone with inland waterways experience was willing to take it on. ITC were happy, so they affirmed, because they had a delegate from recreational boating who actually spoke and contributed to meetings
Major actions affecting DBA were the amendment and updating of ICC (Resolution 40 of UNECE), the updating of CEVNI regulations (European Code for Inland Waterways), contributing to the updating of the Blue Book regarding recreational navigational routes as well as contributing to the deliberations on various standards, safety regs., etc.
UNECE has excellent web access, as you would expect – try the IWT site: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/sc3/sc3.html
– produces directives that, after agreement at the different European levels (Council of Ministers, Parliament and Commission) and ratification by national legislatures, have then force of law;
(CCNR – Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine) – the oldest of the three bodies, created by the Convention of Mannheim in 1868, whose Regulations have, automatically, force of law with regard to navigation on that river – the only one of the three with, ipso facto, that legal force. Members are the states bordering the Rhine plus UK, which left and then returned in 1968
- UNECE Inland Transport Commission, which passes Resolutions that are presented for ratification (or not) by the European member states.
Over the last few years, DBA has organised a number of presentations for EBA to present the recreational waterways and the benefits that their use can bring to the delegates. This is useful in that the delegates are mainly senior civil servants with responsibilities in commercial inland water transport. For some of them, these presentations can open new possibilities – for example, the Russian Chairman said to Guy that the social aspects resulting from the improvements in the Birmingham canals, illustrated in a presentation by Martin Clark, from Jacobs Engineering, opened his eyes.
Aside from UNECE, DBA has good information regarding EC activities, through Michael Clarke, but little on CCNR – which is a pity because, due to its legal status, the fact that it covers the major fluvial axis of Europe, the Rhine, and, possibly, its longevity, its regulations are accepted as the basis of all waterway regulation. In other words, if the CCNR comes out with some new regulation (or change), sooner or later all other regulations will be changed to conform. We therefore ‘ought’ to have better links with them than we have. The EU Commission is now challenging the CCNR supremacy and introducing legislation in 2014 making the CEU certificate over-arching.
VNF (Voies Navigables de France)
is the equivalent of the UK's Canal and River Trust and Environment Agency rolled into one. There are one or three smallish waterways outside VNF but it seems at present that the trial transfer of major waterway systems such as the canals in Burgundy from VNF to the Region (local government) has been shelved for the reason that the President of the Regional Council and his staff realised that the funds that had been promised by central Government to bring the waterways up to par were not going to be made available – so the trial was abandoned.
To be continued....