RMN article on Recreational Craft Directive

RMN Article on the "New Standards"

RBBI comment: The article below used to be posted on the RMN Recreational Marine Navigator web site which appears to no longer exist.

Overview of New Iso Standards for exporting to Europe

           Starting June 16 1996, all 15 countries member of the EEC will apply a unified set of rules for the certification, registration and documentation of pleasure boats between 1,50 and 24 meters (5 to 75 feet). These norms become effective in June '96 but there is a "grand father clause" allowing manufacturers to sell their existent stock until 1998. Some categories of boats are excluded: racing boats, prototypes, amateur built boats etc.  One of the purposes of this set of rules is the standardization of the tax rules about boats, allowing the free trade of pleasure boats within the EEC. While this has been called the " new ISO norms" by many boat builders, it involves much more than the respect of technical standards.

These norms sort boats in four capability categories:

- ocean going

- offshore

- coastal

- protected waters

The standards for each category address general safety, structural integrity, stability etc. The new rules list "essential requirements" that are defined in "Standardized European Norms". The bulk of these norms is made of "CEN" and "ISO" norms but some classification rules are also used: Veritas, Lloyds etc.

In general, boats smaller than 12 meters (40 feet), can be certified by the builder for the coastal or protected waters category, but this requires a good knowledge of the new norms. Larger boats and other categories must be certified by a "notification" organization. Many international classification societies are accepted as notification organizations.

Besides the respect of the above standards, other requirements are listed in the new rules:

- boat numbering is regulated

- a conformity statement must be included in the owners manual, in the language of the country where the boat is first sold.

- an owners manual in the language of the country where the boat is sold. The format and content of the owners manual is


- a technical file must be kept and made available on request, to the administrative offices of the country where the boat is first sold. It must be written in the language of that country and include all the information related to the certification. This file must be kept in archives by the builder for 10 years.

This is a very condensed overview of these new regulations.

Despite the apparent complexity, conformity is not difficult to attain and the standardization should be seen as a real progress.

Any boat builder who had to communicate with the previous national regulation agencies in a variety of languages will appreciate it.

For more information contact:

National Marine Manufacturer's Association(NMMA)

200 East Randolph Drive, Suite 5100
Chicago, Ill 60601-6258
tel: 312-946-6200
fax: 312-946-0388

International Marine Certification Institute(IMCI)

3050 K St. N.W., Suite 145
Washington, DC 20007
tel: 202-944-4980
fax: 202-944-4988

American Boat And Yacht Council(ABYC)

3069 Solomons Island Rd.
Edgewater, MD 21037
tel: 410-956-1050
fax: 410-956-2737

International Marine Consulting Associates(IMCA)

2900 4th St. North
St. Petersburg, FL 33704
tel: 813-823-7666
fax: 813-822-2414

Also Professional Boatbuilders  #41 June/July issue

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