In the future, commercial harbour passenger ships carrying out passenger transport in the harbour waters of Amsterdam will be required to have an operating permit if this transport is carried out with motorised passenger ships. We are working towards the introduction of this permit requirement in the future. This way, we will be able to effectively manage shipping movements in port waters, ensuring the safe and smooth transport of passengers.
Quickly find your answers:
Why an operating permit?
The number of ships using the harbour waters of Amsterdam has increased over the years. This increase is mainly due to intensified commercial shipping and increased passenger shipping and has consequences for the safety and efficiency of shipping traffic on the Afgesloten IJ and for the transit of ships through these waters. In addition to this, the nuisance to local residents - in particular the nuisance caused by party boats - has increased.
What will change?
To regulate the number of shipping movements, the Mayor and Aldermen of the Municipality of Amsterdam intend to introduce an operating permit system for the harbour waters. The statutory bases for this are the Verordening op het Binnenwater 2010 (Municipal Bye-law for the Inland Waterways 2010) and the Regeling Passagiersvaart Amsterdam 2013 (Amsterdam Passenger Shipping Regulations 2013). Please note that in the future, due to this policy review, an operating permit may be required for the transport of passengers on the harbour waters.
On the basis of the Municipal Bye-law for the Inland Waterways 2010, it is prohibited to transport goods or passengers with a commercial vessel against payment or against another remuneration without a permit issued by the Mayor and Aldermen. The permit mentioned above is also called "operating permit". The Municipal Bye-law for the Inland Waterways 2010 also applies to harbour waters.
Who will be obliged to have a permit?
Some categories are subject to exemptions. An overview of these categories is given below:
- River cruise;
- Motor charter ships, provided that they are used for a cruise;
- Sailing charter ships (“brown fleet”), provided that they are used for a cruise;
- Ships with an operating permit for inland waters; an exemption may be applicable for some parts of the harbour waters in these cases;
Which ships will not be obliged to have a permit?
- Ships that are exclusively used as pleasure craft and do not offer commercial transport of passengers;
- Cargo ships;
- Ships in transit through the area.
What will be the conditions for obtaining a permit?
- The ship must be equipped for the carriage of passengers, irrespective of the number of passengers.
- It must concern a commercial activity with that passenger ship with a focus on Amsterdam;
- The ship must have a valid Certificaat van Onderzoek or CvO (Inspection Certificate);
- The Inspection Certificate must be issued for the "zone 3" sailing area, which includes the harbour waters.
The policy intention
We can also send you the policy intention by email and it is also available for inspection at our office.
The Policy Intention will be available for inspection for a period of six weeks starting on Monday 29 May 2017 at the reception desk of Havenbedrijf Amsterdam NV at the following address: De Ruijterkade 7,1013 AA Amsterdam. Please make an appointment with Mr Jaap Nab, Legal Policy Officer at the Harbour Master's Division. To make an appointment, please send an email to email@example.com, stating "Afspraak voor inzage” (Appointment for inspection).
We believe that it is very important that citizens and entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to react before a policy is adopted. That is why the opportunity for public participation is offered. As the consultation period ran from 29 May to 9 July 2017 - and has now ended - we are sorry to say that incoming reactions will no longer be dealt with.
The Amsterdam Municipal Executive has recently decided to revise its policy for the Inland Waterways permit system. The fact that there is some overlap between the policies for the Port Waters and for the Inland Waterways makes it possible to closely align the two separate permit systems. We expect the new policies for both systems to be finalised in 2019.
As the details of the finalised Harbour Waters policy are unclear at this stage, the Municipal Executive is unable to say at present to what extent the opinions submitted will be incorporated into this policy, and is therefore currently not in a position to respond to these opinions. They will be able to provide feedback as soon as the new policy has been finalised.
There is also a possibility that the draft policy will be amended to such an extent that the Municipal Executive will decide to resubmit this draft policy to you during a public participation process at a future date. You will then again be given the opportunity to submit your opinion.
We will provide you with more information as soon as it becomes available.
Application for a permit
Duration of a permit
The application procedure has not yet started. Application for a permit will be possible after the policy adoption and this will be well before the obligation to have a permit has come into force.
With regard to the costs (or fees) associated with the application for a harbour waters operating permit, more information will become available after the public consultation has taken place and the definitive regulation has been adopted by the Mayor and Aldermen.
Application procedure for a harbour waters operating permit
Are you obliged to have a permit? The permit application and the issue of a permit will be handled by Havenbedrijf Amsterdam NV. When the public participation process has been completed and the definitive regulation has been adopted by the Mayor and Aldermen, more information will become available with regard to the exact procedure to apply for a harbour waters operating permit.
Harbour waters versus inland waters
In certain cases, an operating permit may also be required for passenger transport on inland waters. These permits are issued by Waternet. Please consult the Waternet website for more information on operating permits for passenger transport on inland waters.
Frequently asked questions
Please read below our answers to frequently asked questions.
When do I have to apply for an operating permit for my ship in the category "passenger ship"?
To obtain an operating permit for harbour waters, the 12-persons requirement is abandoned. Ships that are designed for passenger transport on the River IJ must have an operating permit, irrespective of the number of persons on board.
A number of exempted categories have been defined.
Is there a distinction between modern or classic passenger ships?
My passenger ship does not have a valid Certificaat van Onderzoek or CvO (Inspection Certificate) - what could it mean for me?
How do I know if my passenger ship has been approved to sail in zone 3 waters?
What is meant by the term "commercial use of a passenger ship"?
I regularly use my ship for pleasure boating in Amsterdam, taking people with me. Do I need to have an operating permit for harbour waters?
When exactly do the commercial activities with a passenger ship have a focus on Amsterdam?
I have a passenger ship outside Amsterdam and wish to sail in Amsterdam now and again. How many times a year do I have to use the operating permit for harbour waters in order to keep this permit valid?
Do I first have to obtain a mooring permit to be eligible for an operating permit for harbour waters?
I would also like to sail on inland waters - do I then need to have two operating permits?
How long will the permit be valid once the first year has passed?
I have a shipping company with 3 passenger ships. Do I have to apply for an operating permit for harbour waters for each ship separately or is it possible to apply only once and can I do this on behalf of the shipping company?
Is there a limit to the number of applications I can submit?
Is the operating permit system for harbour waters a closed system?
Will a list of permitted ships become available?
If I sell my passenger ship, will it be possible to transfer the operating permit to the new owner?
If I give my ship another name, do I have to apply for an operating permit for harbour waters again?
If I decide to install another engine in my passenger ship, do I have to submit an application for an operating permit for harbour waters again?
Am I obliged to be insured in order to qualify for a permit?
Are there any exceptions?
In addition to ferries, these ships include river cruise ships, ships used for sail-and-bike tours, and sailing charters. Also included are ships that are provided with an operating permit for harbour waters, a CvO (Inspection Certificate), a ship's master in the possession of a Commercial Vessels Master's Certificate, and make use of six embarkation and debarkation points along the River IJ and the IJ-haven.
If I have an operating permit for harbour waters, am I automatically allowed to enter the harbour basins?