RecCom WG 147: Guidelines for Managing the Relationship between Recreational Navigation and Commercial Ports (2020)

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Press release

The relationship between recreational navigation and commercial or fishing ports is complex. Recreational vessels sometimes operate and berth in locations that are not ideal from the point of view of the integrated management of the coastal zone. Different uses and different interests on coastal segments can cause conflicts and risks that are difficult to manage. Sometimes a portion of an existing fishing, industrial or commercial port is converted to recreational boating use. This may happen as a result of specific intent within the context of a long-term port master plan, but sometimes is only a spontaneous response to the demand by recreational activities. Especially in the latter case, interactions between different kinds of traffic may lead to conflicts and may also cause unsafe and/or unsustainable situations.

The aim of this report is to identify best practice recommendations for the operation, planning and design of recreational navigation to minimise potential conflicts with other types of traffic and seek a new approach to positive synergies with fishing communities. The intention is to generally assess the cause and effects of these conflicts, analyse data relative to accidents between recreational and commercial vessels, and to present case studies that illustrate some of the general trends, in order to reach useful conclusions.

The structure of this report can be summarised as follows:

  • Chapter 1 presents the Working Group aims, members and a brief summary of its activities.
  • Chapter 2 investigates the main characteristics of recreational navigation in the context of port facilities and their relationships.
  • Chapter 3 summarises existing statistics of accidents occurred involving recreational boats with commercial ships or fishing vessels.   
  • Chapter 4 presents a collection of case studies that illustrate relevant examples; each of them is presented with a standard format to derive useful conclusions or lessons.
  • Chapter 5 analyses the lessons learnt from cases studies.
  • Chapter 6 proposes guidelines for design to implement various types of conversion strategies and sustainability opportunities.
  • Chapter 7 drafts some guideline for operation.


  • Written by: RecCom WG 147
  • Published: January 17, 2020