Members' Research Service By / June 3, 2018

Ferry passengers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for ferry passengers.

© Christopher Dodge / Fotolia

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for ferry passengers.


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Passenger and vehicle ferry
© Christopher Dodge / Fotolia

If you’ve taken a ferry journey this year, chances are you weren’t alone. There are 400 million passenger journeys to or from EU ports every year. The next time you hop on board a ferry in an EU port, think of how many aspects of your crossing are backed up with EU rules.

Your passage through the port should have gone smoothly thanks to established security standards. If your ship flies a flag of an EU country, it is regularly inspected by a specialised authority checking all the aspects necessary to its safe navigation – including water-tightness, fire safety and lack of wear and tear. The equipment on board, such as lifeboats, also has to meet safety requirements and be certified. EU rules also require that the crew receive quality training and that their working conditions do not compromise the ship’s safety. While most of these rules are based on international standards, the EU has incorporated them into its laws so that they are applied in a harmonised way in all EU countries and can be legally enforced.

As a passenger travelling by sea you enjoy the same rights wherever you travel in the EU. These include the right to information or compensation in case of delay or cancellation. And your shipping company must be sufficiently insured to cover the risks of possible damage not only to your person, but also to your luggage and vehicle.

On leaving the port, everyone on board has to have been counted and registered. To help potential search and rescue operations, new EU rules mean that the relevant passenger data will soon be digitalised and registered electronically.

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