RIS - River Information Services on the Inland Waterways

    RIS River information services op de binnenwateren

    In European countries with inland waterways, attempts were made to develop a system to steer and guide navigation. In this context, the European Commission took the initiative to harmonise these attempts with the aim to enable the waterway user to perceive the European waterway network as one unified entity.

    On 30 September 2005, 'Directive 2005/44/EC of Parliament and Council of 7 September 2005 on harmonised River Information Services (RIS) on inland waterways in the community' was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (RIS-001). The Directive was implemented by 20 October 2007.

    The Directive sets up a framework for the implementation and use of the harmonised RIS. This framework aims at supporting inland waterways by:

    • Improving safety, security, effectiveness and environmental friendliness of this transport modus;
    • Facilitating interfaces with other transport modes.

    In order to support RIS and the interoperability, the European Commission was asked to take a certain number of measures within a determined timeline and through the commitology procedure (art 5 and 11 of the Directive). These measures are:

    • Technical guidelines for the planning, implementation and operational use of the services (RIS guidelines);
    • Technical specifications for the Electronic Chart Display and Information System for inland navigation, the so-called inland ECDIS;
    • Technical specifications for electronic ship reporting;
    • Technical specifications for vessel tracking and tracing systems;
    • Technical specifications for the compatibility of the equipment necessary for the use of RIS.

    The RIS Directive makes it mandatory to set up an inland waterway information service and applies to all Member State inland waterways of class IV and above, which are linked by a waterway of class IV or above to a waterway of class IV or above of another Member State, including the ports on such waterways. A Member State is free to apply the Directive to inland waterways outside this scope.

    At the moment, the European Commission has not yet published all the technical guidelines and specifications. Those that have already been published have the form of Commission Regulations, which means that they are directly applicable in Member States. Transposing the guidelines and specifications in national law is therefore not necessary.

    The technical guidelines were published through Regulations 414/2007, 415/2007 and 416/2007,  see RIS-002, RIS-003 and RIS-004.

    Some relevant documents:
    RIS-004: Commission regulation (EC) No 416/2007 of 22 March 2007 concerning the technical specifications for Notices to Skippers as referred to in Article 5 of Directive 2005/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on harmonised river information services (RIS) on inland waterways in het Community (European Commission)

    RIS-003: Commission regulation (EC) No 415/2007 of 13 March 2007 concerning the technical specifications for vessel tracking and tracing systems referred to in Article 5 of Directive 2005/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on harmonised river information services (RIS) on inland waterways in the Community (European Commission)

    RIS-002: Commission regulation (EC) No 414/2007 of 13 March 2007 concerning the technical guidelines for the planning, implementation and operational use of river information services (RIS) referred to in Article 5 of Directive 2005/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on harmonised river information services (RIS) on inland waterways in the Community (European Commission)

    RIS-001: Directive 2005/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on harmonised river information services (RIS) of inland waterways in the Community (European Parliament and the Council)