Coastal Waters: there is no specific requirement for evidence of competence other than that stipulated by the vessel’s flag state. It is recommended (particularly in the Mediterranean) that you carry any certificates you have with you, as we very occasionally hear rumours that a certificate has been requested.
Inland Waters: evidence of competence is required for most inland waters unless the boat is less than 5m in length and is not capable of more than 11 knots (20kph). France has not adopted Resolution 40 however, the ICC is still recommended for a UK flagged boat as an ICC with the inland category validated demonstrates that the holder has sufficient knowledge of the traffic regulations applicable on inland waters, in particular the CEVNI.
The ICC may not be sufficient for vessels over 20m in length.
French translations of many RYA certificates and their related course syllabus are available from the RYA website. www.rya.org.uk/go/translations
The first obstacle to navigation for seagoing ships is often where inland waters begin. This can be a lock, a bridge or a tidal barrage. On smaller rivers, however the limit of the inland waters is taken to be the mouth. There are of course exceptions so if in doubt check with the local Harbour Master.
You must carry onboard
A copy of the CEVNI regulations (when visiting French inland waters).
ATIS and the RAINWAT Agreement
France is a signatory to the Rainwat Agreement, therefore an ATIS enabled VHF is required for the inland waterways of France.
French law requires that as of 1 January 2008 new vessels, whether French or foreign flagged, are fitted with a treatment system or retention tank for black water if they wish to have access to French ports, moorings and anchorages.
Users of older vessels which are not equipped with treatment systems or holding tanks for black water are, like all other pleasure yacht users, required to comply with the rules which prohibit discharge in ports and designated anchoring spots. They must therefore use shore toilets.
How these rules are to be applied or enforced is not very clear but it is anticipated that guidelines or a further law defining the extent and manner of application and any sanctions will be issued in the future.
In principal it is forbidden to flush toilets into canals and rivers, but as pump out facilities are few and far between until now discreet overboard discharging has been tolerated, this may of course change.
Details of closures on the French Canals and the cost of the Vignette (the recreational licence requried by boats navigating the French VNF waterways) can be found on the VNF website (see link).
Credit cards at fuel pumps in France:
Members have previously reported problems they have encountered when trying to obtain fuel in France using a credit card.
The most common difficulty is in trying to get fuel at unattended, automatic fuel pumps, where UK credit cards don't always work. This is a retailer-related problem that affects all UK credit cards used in France; indeed, many such fuel pumps only take the carte bleu card, available to French residents only.
Unfortunately, and while there is no reason why UK chip and PIN cards should not to be accepted at such pumps, there is no way to resolve this unless and until French retailers review their policy. The solution, less convenient but usually cheaper, is to carry a couple of jerry cans and be prepared to fill up from a roadside facility.
Problems may also occur when a transaction (such as the cost of a full tank of fuel) appears out of kilter with the card user's usual spending pattern. This may cause the system to call the issuing bank for verification, known as referral . The dealer may not be prepared to wait for this and may tell you your card has been declined. The best way to avoid this is to inform your bank prior to going away so that a note can be placed on your customer account. Be prepared to give details of the dates, location and duration of your trip to France and explain that you are likely to use your card for refuelling.
Feedback about your experiences of using a credit card to purchase boat fuel when visiting France are welcomed.
The marina Port Chantereyne in Cherbourg is offering members of the RYA a discount on berthing fees. They have also offered an information sheet on using red diesel in France.
Article Published: June 22, 2009 16:00
Article Updated: April 17, 2015 16:36
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EQUIPMENT REQUIRED FOR FRENCH FLAGGED PLEASURE CRAFT (TRANSLATION)
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