BES Maritime Management Act

Do you want to build a levee? Or expand your beach? Then, based on the Maritime management law BES, you have to request a permit at Rijkswaterstaat in The Netherlands. On these pages you can read the content of this law, what this means for you and for which activities you will have to request a permit.

About the Maritime management law BES

Since October 10th, 2010 Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba form part of the Dutch state constitution. Herewith the Kingdom tasks for these islands are part of the Dutch ministerial responsibility.

On October 2010 the Law maritime management BES entered into force for the management of the waters around Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, following the National ordinance on maritime management. The Insular ordinances have not been changes.

Why a law for maritime management?

The sea waters around Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are economically seen of vital interest for the islands. Think about diving and eco tourism, but also fishery and navigation.


In the Maritime management law BES it is arranged that the minister of Infrastructure and Environment is responsible for the management of the sea around the Caribbean Netherlands. Rijkswaterstaat is the executing organization of the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, and it executes the law. Rijkswaterstaat ensures fluent and safe navigation traffic, clean water and water safety.

What is stated in the Maritime management law BES?

In the Maritime management law BES rules are stipulated for activities in or at sea, which can influence:

  • The safety of navigation and the traffic on sea
  • The plants and animal life in the sea
  • The environment and the nature of the coast and seas
  • The maritime archeological heritage in the sea
  • Pollution of the sea


Rijkswaterstaat supervises the complying with the Maritime management law BES and the obligations stipulated herein (commandments, prohibitions, notification obligations). The prescriptions in permits issued are also inspected. This happens by means of both announced and unannounced inspections. Hereby Rijkswaterstaat also collaborates with local governments. Rijkswaterstaat evaluates submitted notifications of infringements as well.

When an activity or construction is not in accordance with the Maritime management law BES, Rijkswaterstaat can proceed to carry out enforcement actions (apply fines, discontinue the activities, etcetera).

Do you want to know more about enforcement? Then send an e-mail to Rijkswaterstaat: 
Or contact the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland locally via
Telephone: +599 715 8333