The Recreational Craft Directive is a European Union (EU) Directive that has been in force since June 1996 but was only made mandatory on June 16, 1998. It has been amended through the years and its scope extended in 2003. The Directive’s provisions essentially cover four areas which are the following:
Craft Design and Construction
Recreational craft should meet the safety standards or essential safety requirements (ESRs), which are in the Directive. Water vessels that were manufactured for leisure purposes that measure between 2.5 and 24 meters in terms of hull length, and other personal vessels that are less than four meters in length are covered by the Directive. According to the EU legislation (Directive 94/25/EC, as amended by Directive 2003/44/EC), though, craft designed for racing are excluded.
There’s only a certain noise level that is accepted in the EU market for noise emission of watercraft. There are various methods of calculation, but what’s usually done is a pass-by test. Crafts that produce sound levels that exceed the set mark will have to be modified or be completely rejected from entry in the EU market.
Every boat manufacturer should know that the EU has strict regulations on the emission of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and particulates. The Recreational Craft Directive specifies the emission limits of these chemicals based on the craft’s means of propulsion—two-stroke or four-stroke gas engine or diesel engine. These standards should be carefully considered when your boat is evaluated.
The Recreational Craft Directive also requires boat and engine manufacturers to carefully collect relevant data regarding the craft that they’re exporting to the EU. In such a process, a Declaration of Conformity (DoC) should be prepared—it should also bear the CE marking—so that users are informed on the proper and safe use of the craft. These measures will facilitate better utility and improve future trade in the EU market.
Because of the Recreational Craft Directive, manufacturers are obliged to ensure the safety and quality of their products to keep consumers from harm’s way. If you want to successfully enter the EU market, make sure that your boats adhere to the regulations set out in the Directive. For more information about RCD, visit ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/maritime/recreational-craft/index_en.htm
The Essentials of the Recreational Craft Directive