The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) is a CE marking directive that sets the standards of safety that need to be met in the design and manufacture of recreational crafts all throughout the European Economic Area. The RCD concerns recreational boats, partly completed boats, personal watercrafts, and engines destined for use on recreational crafts. A few recreational crafts are exempted from the RCD, and these are the following.
Recreational Craft Directive exemptions include original historical crafts and their individual replicas. However, for a historical craft to qualify for exemption, it should have been designed before 1950. Likewise, most of the original materials must be intact and so labeled by the manufacturer.
The RCD also provides exemption for boat trailers. Boat trailers are vehicles designed to carry, launch, and retrieve boats. They may even be used to store them as well. All types of boat trailers are exempted, including hydraulic, non-hydraulic, self-propelled, roll-on, and glide path types. They are exempted because they fall under the scope of Directive 2007/43.
Canoes are lightweight and narrow boats identifiable by a pointed upward slope on each end of the boat. They are propelled by one or more kneeling or seated paddlers. It is important to note that only manually-operated canoes fall under the scope of the exemption. If a canoe has an electric motor or sails on them, it is no longer exempted.
Kayaks are small, relatively narrow manually-operated boats with a covered deck with one or more cockpits that sit one paddler each. According to the Craft Directive Application guide, kayaks are primarily designed to be propelled by human power. Therefore, as is the case with canoes, kayaks that are propelled by propulsion engines or sails cannot be considered as falling within the scope of the RCD.
Surfboards are light, elongated platforms that carry no more than two persons standing, sitting, or kneeling on the craft’s hull. Unlike canoes and kayaks, powered surfboards also fall under the Recreational Craft Directive exemptions as long as they are fitted with flotation and fail-safe devices and controls. For more information about the RCD, you can visit ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/maritime/faq/index_en.htm.
Crafts that are Exempted from the Recreational Craft Direct