Waterborne trade – and Nautilus membership – is not restricted to the sea.
In Europe a substantial amount of freight is transported via rivers like the Rhine, Danube and Maas, and the rivercruise industry is also rapidly growing.
Many of the barges plying their trade in this sector are still traditional family businesses, where the crew learn their skills from older relatives. However, this has been gradually changing in recent years. Larger operators are tending to become more professionalised, and these companies increasingly resemble seagoing outfits, with crew members recruited from throughout the world and expected to have specialist qualifications. With this change in working practices, a need has developed for boatmen to join an international professional body to fight for their interests.
The majority of Nautilus members in the inland waterways sector are allocated to the Union's Netherlands and Switzerland branches – both useful bases for their work across continental Europe. In the UK, there is a sizeable cohort of members working on the Thames.
On the barges and passenger services found on the inland waterways, the personnel most likely to be Nautilus members are the master (skipper) and chief mate. The Union also has members among the passenger vessels' onboard services teams, in roles such as deck customer support assistant.
Collective bargaining agreements
Nautilus has collective bargaining (recognition) agreements with companies in this sector including the following:
- Danzer Shipping Switzerland
- Hatenboer Neptunes
- Inland Waterway Transport
- Koninklijke Van der Wess Watertransporten
- Rederij T. Muller
- Thames Clippers
- Verenigde Tankrederij (VT)