Radiotelephone is one of the ‘traditional’ RIS technologies. As of 1 January 1995 the CCNR made it mandatory for vessels with machine propulsion to be equipped with a radiotelephone system, except for small craft not equipped with an AIS device.
The radiotelephone service on inland waterways enables the establishment of radio communication for specific purposes by using agreed channels and an agreed operational procedure (service categories). The radiotelephone service comprises five service categories:
Of these five categories, only the first three are important for RIS. Radiotelephone service enables direct and fast communication between skippers, waterway authorities and port authorities. It is best suited for urgently needed information on a real time basis.
In the service categories ship-to-ship, nautical information and ship-to-port-authorities, the transmission of messages should deal exclusively with the safety of human life, and with the movement and the safety of vessels.
On the Rhine, fairway information by voice in the nautical information (shore/ship) service category is communicated by radiotelephone:
The urgent and dynamic information to be communicated by voice radio could concern for example:
In the nautical information service category, notices to skippers are transmitted "to all users" as:
The Rhine is fully covered by the range of the VHF base stations for nautical information.
The radiotelephone service on the Rhine and other inland waterways is based on the following rules and regulations:
The rules for conducting radiotelephone communications on the Rhine and other inland waterways in Europe are found in the Guide Concerning Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways. The Guide Concerning Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways is based on the Regional Arrangement Concerning the Radio Telephone Service on Inland Waterways and published jointly by the secretariats of the Danube Commission, the Mosel Commission and the CCNR. The guide is divided into a general section, containing information that is important for all inland waterways of the listed contracting states, and regional sections, including information for a specific inland waterway region in each case. The general section of the Guide Concerning Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways must be kept on board any vessel for which the use of radiotelephone is required. The specific regional section of the Guide Concerning Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways that entails the inland waterway regions where the vessel is currently underway and which it will navigate during the voyage must also be on board.
The CCNR adopted the Guide Concerning Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways with Resolution 2001-II-18 , at the same time entrusting the Commission’s Police Committee to assign the Police Regulations Working Group the task of updating the regional section of the guide on a yearly basis within its own competence.
The general section of the Guide Concerning Radiotelephone Service is currently being updated.
Radar is the most important aid for tactical traffic information in inland navigation.
The technical requirements for vessel-based radar in inland navigation were developed within the framework of the CCNR and adopted in a separate regulation with Resolution 1989-II-35. The requirements were subsequently revised with Resolution 2008-II-11 and, like all other technical requirements related to vessel equipment, included in the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations. These requirements were also adopted in Directive 2006/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels and repealing Council Directive 82/714/EEC. The same applies to rate-of-turn indicators.
The use of radar in Rhine navigation is specified in article 4.06 of the Rhine Police Regulations. Among the provisions limiting radar use, the regulations specify that only vessels equipped with an indicator for turning speed (rate-of-turn indicator) may use radar. Pursuant to article 7.06(1) as well as Annex M, Part I (radar equipment) and Part II (rate-of-turn indicators) of the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations, radar equipment and rate-of-turn indicators must additionally be approved by a competent authority and installed by an approved specialised firm. Annex M, Part IV includes a sample of the certificate, required to be issued by the specialised firm after installation, attesting to the installation and functioning of radar navigation equipment and rate-of-turn indicators.
Pursuant to annex M, Part V of the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations, the CCNR maintains lists of:
Radar equipment and rate-of-turn indicators, which have been approved since 1 January 1990 and prior to 1 December 2009 on the basis of the Provisions regarding the Minimum Requirements and the test Conditions for Radar equipment in the Rhine navigation and of the Provisions regarding the Minimum Requirements and the Test Conditions for Rate-of-turn Indicators in the Rhine navigation, may continue to be installed, and may continue to be operated, provided that an installation certificate is available that is valid in accordance with the requirements for installation and functional testing of radar equipment and of rate-of-turn indicators in the Rhine navigation or of annex M part III of the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations. In accordance with the above-mentioned requirements, the CCNR maintains lists of:
The specific provisions governing the continued use of older radar navigation equipment and rate-of-turn indicators are given in chapter 24 of the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations.
The riparian States of the Rhine employ shore-based radar in particular along sections of the Rhine that are difficult to navigate or have especially heavy traffic. This allows the traffic centres (traffic posts) to obtain a highly accurate picture of the current traffic situation.