Maritime travel

If you are travelling by boat over sea or inland waterways, you are protected by the European legislation outlined in Regulation 1177/2010. As a boat passenger, you have a right to information, assistance and compensation in the event of a delayed or cancelled journey. You are also protected by the law if you have reduced mobility. This regulation applies to passenger vessels with more than twelve passengers, with the exception of excursions and tour boats.

Houten vlonder met een opgerold touw erop

Good to know

What are my rights in the event of a delayed or cancelled boat journey?

If your boat journey was cancelled or delayed by more than ninety minutes, you have a right to assistance:

  • Free snacks, meals and refreshments;
  • Accommodation, if needed.

This right lapses if the operator can prove it concerns a case of force majeure, e.g. poor weather conditions.

In the event of a delay or cancellation, you will be notified of the situation and the expected times of departure and arrival. This must be done as quickly as possible, yet no more than thirty minutes after the scheduled time of departure. You have a right to a refund or an alternate route if:

  • You do not wish to continue your journey;
  • The service is cancelled;
  • You are delayed more than ninety minutes.

You have a right to compensation of 25-50% of the cost of your ticket in the event of a delay or cancellation. This right lapses if the operator can prove it concerns a case of force majeure.

My boat journey was delayed. Do I have a right to compensation?

You have a right to financial compensation if you have suffered a delay upon arrival at your final destination. The compensation is at least 25% of the cost of your ticket. This rule applies in the following cases:

  • One-hour delay for a planned travel time of four hours;
  • Two-hour delay for a planned travel time of four to eight hours;
  • Three-hour delay for a planned travel time of eight to twenty-four hours;
  • Six-hour delay for a planned travel time of more than twenty-four hours.

If your delay is twice as much as the minimums listed above, you have a right to compensation of 50% of the cost of your ticket.

I have a physical disability and I wish to travel by boat. What are my rights?

In this case, you are also protected by European legislation. You must be treated in the same manner as all other passengers and have a right to free assistance. This assistance must be offered to you at the port terminals and on board ships. You must notify the operator or port authority of your coming and your need for assistance in advance. You must do so when making your reservation or at least forty-eight hours before boarding.

If you have reduced mobility and if your mobility equipment was lost or damaged because of actions or negligence on the part of the transporter or terminal operator, you have a right to financial compensation.

I want to file a complaint against the operator. How can I do that?

You must file your complaint within two months after the service was provided or should have been provided. The operator must send a receipt confirmation within one month of receiving your complaint. In it, they will inform you whether your complaint has been confirmed, rejected or if it is still being processed. Within two months of the operator receiving your complaint, they must give you their final answer.

I want to file a complaint about an operator. How can I do that?

If you believe that a boat operator did not take your rights as a passenger into account, you must first contact the maritime company itself.

If you do not receive an answer, or if you are not satisfied with the answer you received, you can file a complaint with the national enforcement authority of the country where the incident took place. In the Netherlands, that is the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT).

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