Crew and staff


For more than a century, the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) has been developing safety regulations for Rhine navigation personnel. These regulations define the certificates and qualifications required by navigation personnel aboard freight or passenger vessels. They also concern crew composition: deck and engine room crew members, safety personnel on passenger vessels, and personnel aboard craft using LNG.

In the 2018 Mannheim Declaration, the CCNR reaffirmed its commitment to developing modern and flexible crew-related regulations. These regulations need to take account of social aspects and the rapid development in working conditions both on board and ashore, driven in particular by the emergence of new technologies. Inland navigation professions need to be made more attractive: modern regulations can play a part in this.


Navigation personnel-related regulations

The Regulations for Rhine navigation personnel (RPN) encompasses all the regulations for navigation personnel on the Rhine. The various provisions are regularly updated to take account of the real world situation. They apply on the Rhine, from Basel to the open sea.

The CCNR adopted the first international agreement on boatmaster certificates on 14 December 1922. One hundred years later, the CCNR continues to perpetuate the tradition of leading the way on qualifications and crew-related issues.

The most recent version of the RPN came into force on 1 April 2023.


New RPN: what changed on 1 April 2023

The new RPN has the following objectives:

  • To develop modern and flexible crew-related regulations
  • To make inland navigation professions more attractive
  • To make navigation personnel more adaptable and mobile
  • Support navigation personnel throughout their career and enable them to adapt to technological change

With a view to harmonising regulations at European level, the CCNR incorporated in the RPN the requirements adopted by the CESNI (European Committee for drawing up Standards in the field of Inland Navigation). The CCNR’s certificates of qualification, service record books and logbooks meet the same requirements as European Union (EU) certificates. As such, they are valid on all EU navigable waterways!

The main changes in the new RPN are listed below:

  • More flexible regulations: to encourage technical innovation (craft automation, for example), the CCNR can authorise derogations for crew-related requirements. This must be on a case-by-case and experimental basis, while ensuring adequate safety.
  • Enhanced digitalisation: individuals who so wish may receive the Rhine licence and certificate of qualification as an expert in electronic format, and no longer as a card.
  • Clear professional career paths: the new RPN clearly spells out career opportunities for all crew members.
  • Reduced requirements for recreational and administration licences: the CCNR has modernised the requirements applicable to engineers and people wishing to obtain a recreational or administration licence. Henceforth, recreational licenses will only be required for craft of a length of between 20 and 25m and equipped with propulsion engines exceeding 11.03 kW (15 HP). The minimum age required to set the administration license exam has been lowered to 18 years from 21. Moreover, the recreational and administration licence exams may be taken on a simulator.
  • Modern and transparent requirements for stretches posing specific risks: reduced requirements have been introduced concerning the required knowledge of stretches of the Rhine posing specific risks, and the required corroboration. Only three voyages in each direction, not sixteen, are now required on the stretch in question. These voyages must have been completed within the past three years. The examination for stretches of waterway on the Rhine posing specific risks may be taken in countries other than the Member States of the CCNR. An agreement to this effect has already been entered into between Germany and the Czech Republic.
  • Transitional provisions: certificates of qualification, service record books and logbooks issued under the previous Regulations for Rhine Navigation Personnel and those recognised by the CCNR as being equivalent will remain valid until they expire or until 18 January 2032 at the latest. The objective is to facilitate the mobility of personnel.

The brochure “New RPN: what has changed since 1 April 2023?” 1044 KB 1044 KB 1045 KB 1044 KB spells out the main changes for the various users. The published resolution also contains detailed explanations for each amended article: 1102 KB 1020 KB 1123 KB

How does the new RPN facilitate access to IWT for side entrants from the maritime sector?

With the new RPN entered into force on 1 April 2023, conversion from the maritime sector to the IWT sector is facilitated by a better recognition of the professional experience.
Before 1 April 2023, whatever the qualification and the experience gained in maritime, only 2 years were recognised to access the position of a boatman. There was no direct access to helmsman or boatmaster qualifications.

With the new RPN, up to 500 days can be recognised to access the qualification of boatmaster or the qualification of helmsman.

To be noted: in the new RPN, there is no longer a limit on the number of days sailed per year (180 days for inland navigation and 250 days for maritime navigation). 123 KB 127 KB 123 KB 126 KB

Other provisions

Other countries’ certificates and documents recognised by the CCNR as being equivalent (see section “Recognition of equivalence”) in accordance with the transitional provisions in the RPN.

The applicable labour and social law regulations governing navigation personnel are different from those emanating from the RPN. (These regulations, see legal and social issues).

Enhanced cooperation between the competent authorities of the Member States

The CCNR’s common legal framework enables medical fitness examinations to be undergone with any doctor approved by a competent authority. In practice, and for certificates of qualification issued in accordance with the new RPN, the holder can undergo his medical fitness examination in the country of his choosing (Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands or Switzerland).

The authorities of the Member States of the CCNR also cooperate closely when it comes to confiscating documents. The principal effect of this is to maintain traffic safety but also to avoid employers being presented with certificates of qualification that have been withdrawn or suspended.

The recording of data on certificates of qualification, service record books and logbooks in the national electronic registers linked to the European Crew Database is effective in enhancing this coordination.



Questions pertaining to personnel and professional training are dealt with by the Committee on social questions, employment and training (STF) and its STF/G Working group.

Their tasks can be divided into three main categories:

  1. The traditional activity of updating regulations: tasks to do with amending regulations, within a strictly Rhine framework.
  2. Activity concerning developments in training and qualification regulations: tasks relating to the need to make the profession more attractive and to combat labour shortages. Within this framework, the CCNR not only works with the observer States and the other river commissions, but also with other international institutions and organisations, such as Edinna.
  3. An activity pertaining to the technological and environmental transition: tasks relating to the need to enable navigation personnel to undergo training to operate aboard innovative vessels (for example, if they use new fuels).

Every two years, the Committee defines a work programme with future priorities and tasks 102 KB 102 KB 97 KB

The STF Committee traditionally meets twice a year, in Strasbourg. Schedule of meetings

Chair: Mrs Petra NETHÖVEL-KATHSTEDE, expert from the German delegation
Secretariat: Mrs Charline DALOZE, Administrator responsible for professional qualifications and crews


Recognition of equivalence of non-Rhine boatmaster certificates and other documents

The adoption of Additional Protocol No. 7 on 27 November 2002 amended the Mannheim Convention to permit the recognition of non-Rhine qualifications. This means that holders of recognised boatmaster certificates or radar certificates can now operate on the Rhine. The aim was to simplify professional obligations and contribute to the development of a large European inland navigation market.

The CCNR adopted its first decisions on the recognition of non-Rhine boatmaster certificates in 2008. Since then, the CCNR has recognised the national certificates of seven European States that are not CCNR members and those of four CCNR Member States as being equivalent. An exact list of the recognised boatmaster certificates and certificates of fitness for navigating using radar is given in the tables below.

Administrative arrangements were also entered into between the CCNR and the relevant States in order to establish the principle and methods of cooperation between both parties. Mutual recognition of boatmaster certificates and radar certificates is to be accompanied by mechanisms for administrative cooperation between the Rhine authorities and the authorities of the States whose certificates are recognised, in order to guarantee the equivalence in duration of the relevant certificates, develop common practices, and also implement reliable information exchange systems. To this end, the agreements make provision for the organisation of joint meetings, and sets up mechanisms to transfer information between the various competent authorities.

National boatmaster certificates recognised as equivalent on the Rhine, possibly subject to additional conditions

Additional conditions are frequently imposed to ensure the validity of national boatmaster certificates of recognised equivalence on the Rhine. These conditions mainly cover the local knowledge required on the Rhine, and renewal of the physical and mental fitness certificate, as attested by additional documents which must be presented at the same time as the national certificate.

  • National boatmaster certificates recognised as equivalent on the Rhine, possibly subject to additional conditions 450 KB 430 KB 432 KB 427 KB

National certificates of fitness for navigating using radar recognised as equivalent on the Rhine, possibly subject to additional conditions

The CCNR has recognised a certain number of national certificates of fitness for navigating using radar as being equivalent to the "Patente Radar du Rhin". Here too recognition is frequently subject to additional conditions.

  • National certificates of fitness for navigating using radar recognised as equivalent on the Rhine, possibly subject to additional conditions 158 KB 161 KB 179 KB 161 KB

Recognition of equivalence for service record books

On 8 December 2010, the CCNR and the competent ministries of seven central European States (Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) signed a multilateral Administrative Arrangement, according to which the signatories agreed to recognise the service record books issued by their respective competent authorities. The Arrangement came into force on the Rhine and throughout the territories of the seven States on 1 July 2011.



  • Administrative Arrangement 224 KB 223 KB 223 KB 212 KB
  • Rhine service record book 10659 KB
  • List of the competent authorities 56 KB 53 KB 56 KB 54 KB
  • Notification of entry into force 50 KB 17 KB 50 KB 49 KB
    • Entry into force in the Czech Republic 43 KB
    • Entry into force in Hungary 48 KB 48 KB 48 KB 47 KB
  • Model for recognised service record books
    • Austrian service record book 4558 KB
    • Bulgarian service record book 255 KB
    • Hungarian service record book 57361 KB
    • Polish service record book 7816 KB
    • Romanian service record book 190 KB
    • Slovakian service record book 3438 KB
    • Czech service record book 13465 KB

List of Examination Commissions

  • List of Rhine Patent Examination Commissions 23 KB