Fishing vessels — health and safety of workers on board



Directive 93/103/EC — minimum safety and health requirements for work on board fishing vessels


It outlines measures and responsibilities intended to improve health and safety on board fishing vessels.


Owners of fishing vessels must ensure that their use does not endanger the safety and health of workers, considering foreseeable weather conditions. Under the terms of Directive 89/391/EEC, they must also consider any hazards faced by remaining workers when their co-workers leave their workstations to respond to dangerous situations.

New fishing vessels and major repairs and alterations to existing vessels had to comply with minimum safety and health requirements by 23 November 1995, while existing vessels had a further 7 years to comply.

Any occurrences at sea affecting the safety and health of the workers on board must be reported to the relevant authorities and in the ship’s log.

EU countries must ensure that vessels are checked regularly by specifically empowered authorities to ensure compliance with the directive.

Owner obligations

Owners must ensure that vessels and their fittings and equipment are clean and well-maintained and must follow the detailed requirements listed in the annexes to the directive in the following areas:

Adequate and suitable emergency and survival equipment should be kept on board.

Training and consultation

Workers should be kept informed of all health and safety measures and should be appropriately trained, in particular in accident prevention and the use of life-saving and survival equipment. Anybody likely to be in command should be additionally trained in the prevention of occupational illness and accidents, the stability and maintenance of the vessel under all foreseeable operational conditions, and radio navigation and communication.

Workers, or their representatives, should be consulted on safety and health measures in accordance with Directive 89/391/EEC. Representatives should be given the means to carry out these activities, including time off without loss of pay, and must not be penalised because of them. They must also have the opportunity to submit their observations during inspection visits under the worker participation terms outlined in Directive 89/391/EEC.


EU countries must report to the European Commission every 5 years on the practical implementation of the directive, including the points of view of employers and workers.

A 2009 report from the Commission assesses practical implementation of this directive, as well as the 1992 directive on the minimum safety and health requirements for improved medical treatment on board vessels.


It has applied since 2 January 1994. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 23 November 1995.


For more information, see:


Council Directive 93/103/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for work on board fishing vessels (thirteenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16 (1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (OJ L 307, 13.12.1993, pp. 1–17)

Successive amendments to Directive 93/103/EC have been incorporated in to the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, pp. 1–8)

See consolidated version

Council Directive 92/29/EEC of 31 March 1992 on the minimum safety and health requirements for improved medical treatment on board vessels (OJ L 113, 30.4.1992, pp. 19–36)

See consolidated version

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the practical implementation of Health and Safety at Work Directives 93/103/EC (fishing vessels) and 92/29/EEC (medical treatment on board vessels) (COM(2009) 599 final of 29.10.2009)

last update 18.08.2016