European Mainland

Lead - Andy Soper

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. The UK Royal Yachting Association (RYA) 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. The current delegate is Andy Soper. The current V-P is Gus Lewis of the RYA. 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 enabling non-EU citizens to be issued with an ICC provided they have the necessary competence

-           Using its Observer status with CEVNI to influence the future of ES-TRIN  and European Certificates for over 20m ships.

-           Using it membership of UNECE to influence changes to the CEVNI, EU -wide, regulations

-          Attempting to limit new regulations so far as (a) reasonable and (b) possible

EBA website:

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).

- Carol Paddison of the RYA represents EBA, and thus us , at these meetings.

Major actions affecting DBA are 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:

European Commission

– 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;

Rhine Commission

Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR)  – 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.  CCNR have now joined with the EU Commission to regulate the certification of ships over 20m  across the EU via the new committee - Comité Européen pour l’Élaboration de Standards dans le Domaine de Navigation Intérieure –( CESNI ) ( )


VNF (Voies Navigables de France)

is the equivalent of the UK's Canal and River Trust and Environment Agency rolled into one. There are a few smallish waterways outside VNF.  We have a growing band of volunteers attending CLU (user groups) co-ordinated by Bob Marsland.


is divided into three waterway areas - Flanders, Bruxelles and Wallonia.

We have informal links with a number of waterway groups and individuals.  The efficiency of their waterway managements, low charging (zero in Wallonia, See HERE for Flanders) and continuing high commercial traffic levels results in waterways that are good to navigate. 

Issues:  Belgium customs were the most aggressive checking UK yachts and ships for red diesel used for propulsion.  Few prosecutions resulted. 

Belgian officials are the most diligent checking and controlling inland waterways but are usually approachable, fair and reasonble.

Belgium introduced compulsory EU certification many years before the EU deadline of 2018 - this has resulted in a compliant fleet!


Everything works and our partner organisation LVBHB (Het Historisch Bedrijfsvaartuig) is alert to issues affecting large craft.  At the end of 2018 they have negotiated a stay of execution of 12 months on  certification of craft as ther are insufficient surveyors and docks to meet the timeframe.


Our partner organisation here is DTMV (Deutsche Traditions-Motorboot-Vereinigung) who have helped to increase acceptance of the ICC from 15m to 20m in Germany.

European Maritime Heritage

We have recently joined this organisation as it has rejuvenated its Inland Waterways Council and Scott Pereira reprsents us.

EMH's  main concern is the protection of traditional ships. Its objectives include:

identify and promote historic water-borne links between European regions, publicising the role of waterways as a cultural bridge between the nations
study and resolve common problems identified in the course of preserving and operating traditional craft in Europe
provide official organisations of the European Union with a representative and consultative service on all aspects of preserving and operating historic boats and vessels .

Andy Soper

March 2023

Minor edits and formatting - Jab '19 , Mar '21 - Pete Milne

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