Rotterdam to Rhine

Nautilus International has the largest number of inland waterways members of any European trade union. The Union is running a campaign to ensure all workers, from Rotterdam to the Rhine, are aware of the Union and the advantages of membership.

What this campaign is about

Many of the barges plying their trade on European rivers were traditionally family businesses, where the crew would learn their skills from older relatives. However, this has changed a great deal in recent years, and these companies have increasingly come to resemble seagoing outfits, with crew members recruited from throughout the world and expected to have specialist qualifications.

Nautilus works to improve the pay and conditions of inland waterways workers in Europe. We negotiate with employers on pay, working conditions, working time and pensions to secure agreements which recognise members’ skills and experience.

The Union is also campaigning to ensure that working and living conditions for workers onboard vessels are of a socially acceptable standard.

What we want to achieve

Quite simply, the Union wants to be able to represent every British, Dutch or Swiss person working on the coastal waters, rivers, canals and lakes of Europe.

The more boatmen and women that the Union has in membership, the stronger our bargaining position; and the better we can fight for improvements to terms and conditions, training and safety.

What have we achieved so far

Union officials have visited numerous crews working on the Rhine to talk to them directly about the benefits of membership. We also have offices in Rotterdam and Basel where help and advice can be sought by officials who truly understand the industry.

Nautilus has agreed a special reduced introductory subscription rate for inland waterways workers looking to join.

What’s next

More boat visits are planned; see the events section for details. To join Nautilus and benefit from our support for inland waterways crews, either complete the online form or contact

Join us

Nautilus International's General Meetings are usually held every four years.

If you are a maritime professional, we are the specialist trade union and professional organisation for you.

Why join? Join now!