Cruising down the Danube? Find out what documentation could affect your boat

Germany – Documents for the Danube

Last October we were re-entering the EU at the Serbian / Hungarian border on our Irish flagged boat Aquarelle.

In spite of our careful checking of regulations beforehand, we found that the Hungarian river police would not accept our Irish Documentation as the certificate of registry did not have a “valid until” date.

As a result, we made a point of visiting the national offices that deal with regulations to find out what was necessary in each country

Please note that this is not the official position, but my interpretation having asked questions of the water police.


Boat documentation requirements: German Danube

  • If a boat is less than 15m long and the engine power is less than 5hp (3.68kW) no documentation is required.

Any EU boat up to 20m and having 12 or less persons on board requires the following documentation:

  • ICC – International Certificate of Competence for the skipper issued by a government approved agency or association.
  • Registration document issued by a National Authority or an association approved by the government.
  • Boats between 15m and 20 meters need an inspection or survey document.
    Insurance is not a requirement!
  • Typically if the requirements of the flag country have been adhered to there should be no problem.

Regarding non- EU boats: in most cases there should be no problem if the equivalent of the above requirements are adhered to. See (unfortunately this is only in German) for what is accepted from non EU countries.

VHF radio:

  • It is required to have a VHF radio.
  • ATIS is not currently required (2010) but will be in the near future.
  • It is required to have a VHF Operator’s Certificate and VHF licence for the boat.

Boats over 20m will be required to have TRIWV and soon will need AIS.

  • Skipper of boats over 20m must have a professional licence.
  • New build boats are required to have a holding tank, but there are no facilities for pump out. Even the cruise ships discharge directly into the river.
  • There is no time limit on the period that a visiting boat may stay in Germany.
  • There is no official position regarding the wearing of life jackets on leisure craft; however commercial craft operators have to wear them.

Note: boats over 15m need a pilot for the Danube between Vilshofen PK 2249 and Straubing PK 2330, but if you ask beforehand you may get a derogation. Check with Wasser und Schiffahrtsamt at Regensburg, or email:

  • There is no extra documentation required for a tender provided it has ‘Tender to ….’ (boat’s name or number) on it.

The agency responsible for Inland Waterways in Southern Germany is:

Wasser und Schiffahrtsdirektion Süd
Wörthstr. 19
97082 Würzburg

Tel: +49 931 41 050

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Germany - Documents for the Danube
  3. 3. Austria - Documents for the Danube
  4. 4. Slovakia - Documents for the Danube
  5. 5. Hungary - Documents for the Danube
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