The Recreational Craft Directive
Purpose and application
The Recreational Craft Directive has been introduced by the The
European Commission to ensure a harmonized standard of safety in the
design and manufacture of recreational craft throughout the European
The Directive applies to all craft intended to be used for sporting and
recreational purposes with a hull length of between 2.5 and 24 metres. Certain
particular items of equipment are also covered, including ignition-protected
equipment for inboard and stern drive engines; start-in-gear protection
devices for outboard engines; steering wheels, steering mechanisms and cable
assemblies; fuel tanks and fuel hoses and prefabricated hatches and portlights.
There are also certain specific exclusions from the Directive. The Directive
does not apply to:
Craft built for use by the builder are also excluded from the Directive
provided they are not subsequently placed on the market for at least five
- craft intended solely for racing,
- canoes, kayaks, gondolas and pedaloes,
- surfboards and sailboards,
- historical replicas,
- hovercraft and hydrofoils
- craft intended to be crewed and to carry passengers for commercial
purposes (these are covered by another directive).
The Directive has both administrative and protection requirements. The administration
requirements are that the product be CE marked. The Directive also lays
down requirements for type testing and/or quality control procedures. These
are set out in a series of 'modules' and are based on the size of the craft
and whether any of the appropriate harmonized standards
have been used when designing the craft.
The Directive lays out the essential requirements of recreational craft
in some depth. These are based upon the conditions
for which the craft has been designed to be used:
In all there are thirty separate headings under which safety requirements
are listed. These include requirements for marking, stability, fire protection,
gas equipment, engine protection and many other items. Some are already
the subject of harmonized standards, while others have standards in preparation.
The Directive came into force on 16 June 1996, with a transition period
which ends on 15 June 1998. This means that until 16 June 1998, manufacturers
may continue to sell craft complying with the appropriate national regulations
within the EU but such craft must not be CE marked.
This brief description of the Directive necessarily does not contain all
the requirements or exclusions. For further information or assistance with
CE marking your products, please contact us by telephone, fax or e-mail
and we will be pleased to do what we can to help.
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