Service booklet

Important information

What is a service booklet?

All personnel on board an inland waterway vessel must be in possession of a valid service booklet. A service booklet is a named document for crew members and is mandatory for all crew on Dutch inland vessels. A service booklet also serves to show sailing times and voyages (on the Rhine and on other waterways) when obtaining a patent or sailing licence. The service booklet is only valid when it is provided with the official endorsements.

The holder of the service booklet must have it stamped at least once every 12 months from the date of issue. This shall be done by a competent authority which is also responsible for the completion of the personal data. In this way, the number of years of sailing experience is officially recorded and the holder of the service booklet can also prove it.

All European recognised service booklets have a similar format.

Contents of the Service Booklet

The service booklet contains personal data including:

  • proofs of professional competence
  • obtained diplomas
  • medical certificates
  • details of journeys made

Who fills out the service booklet?

You give your service booklet to the skipper of the ship on which you are employed. The skipper fills in the data of the individual voyages for the calculation of the sailing time and to show the river sections that you sailed. Under the heading “Voyage from…” the place of departure and under “to” the furthest final destination must be entered. Under “via”, an entry is only necessary when the vessel sails on another waterway. Data from a previous voyage must be entered before the start of the next voyage.
In addition, the service booklet contains a section for skills acquired according to the Rhine regulations. This can only be filled in by a competent Rhine authority.

How is a function determined?

The service booklet must be checked and stamped by the competent authorities every twelve months. In order to check the number of sailing hours, you must bring (a copy of) the service timetable.

At the time of application, it will be determined which function applies to you. In order to determine this, the SAB needs documents from you and requirements are set with regard to sailing time and diplomas. This is important:

  • a sample booklet
  • copies of inland navigation and shipping diplomas

How is the sailing time calculated?

In inland navigation, 180 effective sailing days count as one year’s sailing time. Within a period of 365 consecutive days, a maximum of 180 days can be calculated as sailing time. Not enough days? In that case, the (sailing) year is only achieved when the 180 days have been achieved. Only then does the next (sailing) year start.

Is a Rhine certificate equal to a service booklet?

For holders of a Rhine certificate (Rijnpatent), this counts as a service booklet. Crew with a large sailing license or Rhine certificate do not need to keep a service book, except for registering the ship’s voyages on parts for which the Rhine certificate or certificate of competency does not apply.

What to do when the service booklet is full?

When the service booklet is full you can request a new service booklet via SAB. Follow the procedure as described on the application form. In addition to all requested documents, you can also send or take the full service booklet with you.

What should you do if the service booklet is missing?

If the service booklet is lost, you must file a report at the local police. Then apply for a new service record booklet. This does not require a medical certificate, but you must submit the original official police report.