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Recreational Craft Directive: Exclusions to the Rule

by markbrown

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The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) is a law that came into effect on June 16, 1996. It details the modules and requirements that recreational craft manufacturers need to comply with when building crafts for sports and leisure purposes. All recreational crafts and its components that are covered by RCD are required to bear the CE marking, as stated in Article 10 of the RCD. This includes fully-completed or partially-completed recreational crafts.

This Directive was first used on June 16, 1996 and became a requirement after two years. This meant that recreational crafts placed on the market after June 16, 1998 were required to comply with RCD fully. There are exclusions to RCD, however. These include crafts that were finished and/or sold before June 16, 1998, crafts whose hull length is between 2.5 m and 24m and crafts that are owner-built, provided they weren’t placed in the market for five years.

The responsibility for RCD compliance lies within the company or individual who first places the product on the European market. RCD is only enforced once in the lifespan of the recreational craft, particularly at the first point of sale on the transfer of ownership. Aside from carrying the CE marking accordingly, each craft must also be assigned a Craft Identification Number (CIN).

Recreational Craft Directive is not merely a code of practice, but a definite legal requirement. Violators will be prosecuted, and in case of successful prosecution, the violator will attract a criminal conviction. Penalties for RCD violation can be three months imprisonment and/or a £5,000 fine.

Upon completion of the recreational craft, the person responsible must issue a Declaration of Conformity certificate, stipulating that all Recreational Craft Directive modules and requirements have been complied with. The certificate should also include compliance with basic Essential Safety Requirement (ESR) standards. However, unlike RCD, ESRs are not mandatory stipulation.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) are the authorities responsible for enforcing RCD. DTI enforces it nationally, while TSOs manage it locally. If you own a recreational craft listed among the exemptions for Recreational Craft Directive, you will need to collect evidence that supports this and put it in writing so that you can present it to the proper authorities when they ask for it. Learn about the stipulations of RCD from

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