East Coast Branch

3rd - 17th August 2024

Cruise to The Netherlands

Event Details

Linda and I have drawn up a provisional itinerary for the Netherlands cruise, leaving as a group from Ramsgate on Sunday 4th August and returning to Ramsgate on Saturday 17th August. This is to allow people with only a two week holiday ‘window’ to get to and from Ramsgate to their home berths.

The itinerary we are suggesting is:

  1. Ramsgate
  2. Nieuwpoort (Bel)
  3. Middleburg (NL) via Vlissingen
  4. Sabbingeplaat (Veersemeer) via Veere
  5. Goes
  6. Sint Annaland
  7. Willemstad
  8. The Grevelingenmeer
  9. Zierikzee
  10. Roompot Marina
  11. Nieuwpoort
  12. Ramsgate

We understand that Nieuwpoort is an easy place to enter end exit Schengen as well as having several very large marinas and an easy all tide entrance. Linda will emailing a spreadsheet of this itinerary to all those who contact us to express an interest. The spreadsheets will include distances and estimated passage times.

Preparing for the trip

Using your VHF radio in the Netherlands

Before our rally to the Netherlands in August, if you have not done so already, you may wish to update your VHF radio to transmit ATIS information and have a different bank of channel numbers which are required for European inland waterways. We had a 2004 Icom VHF in our last yacht ATIS enabled and also the Icom VHF in Jemma when we fitted it in 2011. It was a very simple process and cost very little. More about this below, but first a little about ATIS.

The Netherlands are a signatory to the Regional Arrangement Concerning the Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways or RAINWAT as it is usually known. All vessels entering RAINWAT waterways have to be fitted with a VHF radio that can identify itself by a 10 digit ATIS identification number every time the it is used. At the end of each transmission when you release the PTT button the radio sends out an automated signal with the vessels ATIS number, identifying the vessel to fixed inland stations including inland VTS, locks and bridges.

Since 2009 this requirement for ATIS enabled radios applies to visiting pleasure craft in the Netherlands. Also certain functions of VHF radios must NOT be used in ATIS mode including DSC (Digital Selective Calling), high power output (25 watts), dual watch and scanning.

The first thing you will need to do is to get an ATIS number for your yacht. This is simple to do by going to the OFCOM website (www.ofcom.org.uk) and getting an amendment to your Ships Radio Licence which will include an ATIS number. In the UK your ATIS number will simply be your current MMSI number with the digit 9 added as a prefix.

You will then need to ascertain whether your VHF has ATIS already activated and if so just enter your ATIS number. All modern VHF radios have ATIS or can have ATIS activated. On some older models the manufacturer can retrospectively enable ATIS and enter the code for you for a modest fee. Either check in your instruction manual or contact the manufacturer to find out this information. In 2011 Icom (based in Herne Bay, Kent) charged £35 including VAT and return carriage to enable an older VHF, but as we dropped ours off and picked it up in person they only charged us £30! On the Icom radios you have several ‘sets’ of frequencies including ‘International’ for marine use, ‘USA’ obviously for use in the States and ‘ATIS’ for use in RAINWAT countries and it is easy just to switch between them. You must remember to switch back to ‘international’ when you return to UK waters as the use of ATIS is banned here.

The final thing you will need to do to comply with the rules is to download and print a copy of the RAINWAT agreement which must be carried on board your vessel. OFCOM have a link to this from their website or you can visit the RAINWAT website.

If your VHF cannot be updated or you do not wish to have this done there are a couple of options. Firstly you could buy a cheap ATIS enabled handheld VHF, which I believe is allowed in the Netherlands although you would still have to get an ATIS number from OFCOM, or alternatively simply not use your VHF while in the inland waterways. As far as I am aware there is no requirement for a small pleasure craft under 20 metres to have a VHF radio in the Netherlands.


David & Linda Woolgar

If you are interested in joining the cruise, or would like more details, please contact David & Linda on linda.woolgar@moodyowners.org

A view of Nieuwpoort harbour in Belgium. It looks out over the marina along the harbour entrance channel towards The English Channel.


Dover Port (GMT)

3 Aug 17 Aug
LW 0528
HW 1031
LW 1745
LW 0341
HW 0902
LW 1610
HW 2124
An aerial view of Vlissingen Harbour and the entrance to the inland waterways.