Rules and Guidelines

On this page various rules and guidelines that skipper and/or vessel must comply with.
The rules differ per ship, cargo or route. Read more about the requirements for fire extinguishers, lifebuoys and life jackets on board.


ROSR is the abbreviation of the Regulations for Research Vessels on the Rhine, 1995 and the regulations are generally known by the abbreviation. The regulations provide regulations for the technical requirements that are imposed on inland vessels and seagoing vessels in order to be allowed to sail in the Rhine catchment area.

The regulations apply to:
• ships with a length of 20 m or more;
• ships whose volume, calculated from the product L x W x T, is 100 m³ or more;
• on all tugs and pushers intended to tow, push or tow ships or floating equipment along side-coupled;
• on all ships that have a certificate of approval as referred to in the ADN;
• on all passenger ships;
• on all floating equipment.

The Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR) adopts the regulations.
The CCNR has its seat in Strasbourg. 


ROSR – Article 10.05, paragraph 1 – Lifebuoys and Lifejackets

1. Vessels shall carry at least three lifebuoys, which
• to the European standard EN 14 144 : 2003 or;
• Comply with the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas 1974), Chapter III, Rule 7.1, and the International Rescue Equipment Code (LSA), Section 2.1.

They must be in a ready-to-use condition in fixed and suitable positions on deck and must not be attached to the receptacles. At least one lifebuoy shall be in close proximity to the wheelhouse and shall be fitted with an automatic ignition light, powered by batteries, which cannot go out in the water.


Inland Ships Equipment Decision – Article 7.05, paragraphs 1-2 – Lifebuoys and life jackets

1. At least three lifebuoys must be present on a ship. They must be in suitable positions on deck in ready-to-use condition. They must not be attached to the ship. For motor vessels with a length of less than 40 m, two lifebuoys will suffice. At least one lifebuoy must have a throwline of sufficient length.

2. Lifebuoys must comply with the following rules:
a) the carrying capacity in fresh water must be at least 7.5 kg;
(b) they must be of suitable material and resistant to oil, oil products and temperatures up to 50 °C;
(c) they must be clearly visible in the water because of their color;
d) its own weight must be at least 2.5 kg;
e) the internal diameter must be at least 45 cm and not more than 50 cm;
(f) they must be fitted with an all-round grab line;
(g) they must be of a type approved by the Inspector General.


SOLAS describes the requirements that seagoing ships must meet and stands for the safety of life at sea. International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international treaty that was concluded in 1914. The reason for this was the Titanic disaster in 1912.

In 1948, the participating member states of the United Nations decided to set up an organization specializing in maritime safety, International Maritime Organization (International Maritime Organization, IMO). Since 1954 SOLAS has been part of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

SOLAS compliance is supervised by IMO, although this is increasingly being outsourced to classification societies.

MED 96/98/EC (IMO)

The Marine Equipment Directive 96/98/EC (MED 96/98/EC) are the by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) established requirements for commercial shipping. These requirements apply to all new ships and to all existing ships that are not yet equipped with approved equipment.

The MED 96/98/EC applies to the following items of marine equipment:

• rescue equipment;
• prevention of marine pollution;
• fire protection;
• navigation equipment;
• radio communication equipment.

The MED 96/98/EC relates to the EU requirements for transport and international maritime conventions (IMO, SOLAS) and international standards (IEC, ISO). Approved equipment bears the mark of conformity, a steering wheel.


Life jackets

ROSR – Article 10.05, paragraph 2-3 – Lifebuoys and Lifejackets

2. Each person regularly on board shall carry an automatic inflatable lifejacket that is suitable for him/herself and that complies with European standard EN 395:1998, EN 396:1998, EN ISO 12402-3:2006 or EN ISO 12402. 4:2006 within reach. Hard life jackets that meet these standards are also allowed for children.
3. Life jackets must be tested in accordance with the manufacturer's indications.

Inland Ships Equipment DecisionArticle 7.05, paragraph 3-4 – Lifebuoys and Lifejackets

3. On a ship, a life jacket must be available for every person who is regularly on board.
4. Life jackets must comply with the rules for life buoys with regard to load capacity, material and color. They must be of a type approved by the Inspector General. Inflatable life jackets must be capable of being inflated automatically and, moreover, both by hand and by mouth.

As of December 1, 2011:

6. The crew members and other persons on board must wear life jackets in accordance with Article 10.05, paragraph 2, of the Rhine Vessel Inspection Regulations:
a) when disembarking or boarding, insofar as there is a risk of falling into the water;
b) when staying in the dinghy;
c) in the case of work off-board, or;
d) during stay and work on deck and in the gangway, if bulwarks of at least 90 cm high are not present or railings as referred to in the fifth paragraph are not installed continuously.

The work outboard may only be carried out when ships are stationary and only if no danger is to be expected from other shipping.

50N Buoyancy Aid (ISO 12402-5)

No life jacket!
For experienced swimmers a short distance from the bank and near any helpers.
Not safe in unconsciousness.

100N Lifejacket (ISO 12402-4)

For users on inland waterways and sheltered waters.
Limited safe in unconsciousness (clothing dependent).

150N Lifejacket (ISO 12402-3)

For use on all inland waters, open water or coastal water.
Limited safety when using heavy and/or waterproof clothing.

275N Lifejacket (ISO 12402-2)

For users on the high seas with extremely harsh conditions.
Safe in almost all cases in the event of unconsciousness, even with heavy and/or waterproof clothing.

Lifejacket Maritime (SOLAS – MED 96/98/EC)

At least according to SOLAS standards.

Block vest: 175N buoyancy.
Automatic inflatable life jacket: 275N buoyancy.

These vests are suitable for users on the high seas in extremely harsh conditions.
Use is safe in almost all cases in the case of unconsciousness, even with heavy clothing.

Life rafts

Regulations on liferafts have expired, but they are still produced according to these rules (ROSR 1995 Article 15.09(6)):

ROSR 1995 – Art 15.09, paragraph 6 – Additional common rescue equipment

6. Additional common rescue equipment is equipment that makes it possible to keep several persons afloat while in the water. They have to:

a) have a label indicating the destination and the number of persons for which they are suitable;
b) have a buoyancy in fresh water of at least 100 N per person;
(c) are made of suitable materials and are resistant to oil and oil-derived products, as well as to temperatures up to 50 °C;
d) be able to occupy and maintain a stable position afloat and be provided with suitable means to hold on to the indicated number of persons;
e) have a fluorescent orange color or have permanently applied fluorescent surfaces visible from all sides of at least 100 cm²; and
f) they can be quickly and safely dropped overboard by one person or floated to the surface from the place where they are installed.

Fire extinguishers

ROSR – Article 10.03 – Portable Fire Extinguishers

1. One portable fire extinguisher in accordance with European standard EN 3:1996 must be available at the following locations:

a. in the wheelhouse;
b. in the vicinity of any access from the deck to the lodgings;
c. in the vicinity of any access to premises which are not accessible from the premises in which heating, cooking or cooling installations are located, which operate on solid or liquid fuels or on liquefied gas;
d. at every entrance to engine rooms or boiler rooms;
e. at a suitable location below deck in the engine rooms, when the total engine power exceeds 100 kW.

2. As portable extinguishers, prescribed in the first paragraph, only powder extinguishers with a capacity of at least 6 kg or other portable extinguishers with the same extinguishing capacity may be used. They must be suitable for fire classes A, B and C as well as for extinguishing fires in electrical installations up to 1000 V.

3. In addition, powder extinguishers, extinguishers with liquid contents or foam extinguishers may be used if they are at least suitable for that fire class, which is most likely to be relevant in the room for which the appliance is intended.

4. Portable extinguishers containing CO2 as extinguishing agent may only be used for extinguishing fires in kitchens and electrical installations. The contents of these extinguishers may not exceed 1 kg for every 15 m³ of the space in which they are stored and used.

5. Portable fire extinguishers must be inspected at least every two years. A statement of this must be issued, signed by the person who performed the inspection, and stating the date of the inspection.

6. Where portable fire extinguishers are concealed by their arrangement, the cover or shield shall bear a "fire extinguisher" sign with a side length of at least 10 cm, in accordance with sketch 3 of Annex I.

New regulations for all fire extinguishers as of January 1, 2001: NEN 2559

Every year: normal inspection (for shipping every 2 years)
After 5 years: comprehensive examination, complete disassembly
After 10 years: general overhaul
After 15 years: comprehensive examination, complete disassembly
After 20 years: disapproved

Other Equipment

ROSR – Article 10.02 – Other equipment

1. The following items of equipment referred to in the Rhine Police Regulations must at least be present:

a. VHF radio installation;
b. apparatus and installations necessary for giving the prescribed light and sound signals, as well as for carrying and displaying the optical signs;
c. lights operating independently of the electricity network present on board to replace the lights prescribed for mooring;
d. a fire-resistant collection container with lid for oil-containing rags and marked as such;
e. a separate fire-resistant collection reservoir for other solid small-scale chemical waste and a fire-resistant reservoir with a lid for liquid small-scale chemical waste as referred to in the Rhine Navigation Police Regulations, which is designated as such in each case;
f. a fire-resistant collection container with lid for slops and marked as such.

2. In addition, at least:
a. steel mooring lines:

Each ship must be equipped with 3 steel mooring lines. Its minimum length must be:
For ships with a length L of less than 20 m, the shortest mooring line can be omitted. These trusses must be designed for a minimum breaking strength RS, which is determined using the following formula:

1st truss: L + 20 m, but not more than 100 m,
2nd bunch: 2/3 of the first bunch,
3rd truss: 1/3 of the first truss.
for L x W x T up to 1000 m³:
for L x W x T larger than 1000 m³ :

An inspection certificate according to European standard EN 10 204: 1991, model 3.1, must be on board for the prescribed steel ropes. These ropes may be replaced by other ropes of the same length and breaking strength. The breaking strength for these cables must be demonstrated in an inspection certificate.

b. trusses for towing:
tugs must be equipped with a number of mooring lines appropriate to their function.
However, the main hawser must be at least 100 m long and have a breaking strength in kN corresponding to at least one third of the total power in kW of the propulsion engine(s). Motor vessels and pushers authorized to tow must be equipped with at least a 100 m long tow line, the breaking strength of which in kN corresponds to at least a quarter of the total power in kW of the propulsion engine(s);

 c. a throw line;

 d. a gangway, at least 0.40 m wide and at least 4 m long, the sides of which are marked by a light stripe; this gangway must be fitted with a handrail. For small ships, the Committee of Experts may allow shorter gangways;

 e. a boat hook;

 f. a suitable first-aid kit with a content in accordance with a standard of one of the Rhine bordering states or of Belgium. The first-aid kit must be kept in a quarters or wheelhouse and stowed in such a way that it can be reached easily and securely if necessary. If first-aid kits are hidden from view, the cover must be marked with a first-aid kit symbol in accordance with sketch 8 of Annex I with a side length of at least 10 cm;

 g. binoculars, 7×50 or larger lens diameter;

 h. a sign with instructions on how to rescue and train drowning people;

 i. a spotlight that can be operated from the helm.