Key Changes in the new Recreational Craft Directive

The Recreational Craft Directive has been revised and the key effects will be applicable from 18th January 2016. The existing directive will stay in effect for the next eleven months and will be repealed from next January. A further period of one year has been slated as a transitional one for the new revised directive. The transition period will come to an end on 18th January 2017. Three more years will be allowed for both small and medium sized businesses to comply with the initial stage of this new directive.

Small and medium-sized manufacturers of boat engines with power that is equal to or less than fifteen kW can comply with the First Stage for the exhaust emissions and they can continue to place engines of such output on the European Union market prior to 18th January 2020.

The revised Recreational Craft Directive is likely to reduce the overall emission levels considerably from both the diesel and the petrol powered crafts. This new directive will align the European Union’s exhaust emissions with the EPA levels of United States of America. Some other changes will include revised obligations for manufacturers, distributors and commercial importers who are operating economically along with notified bodies. Environmental and safety requirements that were established in the First Annex of the existing directive have also been revised. Now, it is made mandatory to fit holding tanks or systems for treatment for black water and of various safety mechanisms on PWC and the outboard engines. Strict levels for exhaust emissions are going to apply to the engines in the future. The revised proposal will also take into account the European Boating Industry’s suggestion of fitting holding tanks or water treatment systems on-board to avoid sewage discharge at sea.

The key changes to the existing Recreational Craft Directive have been created for those distributors, manufacturers and importers (both commercial and private) who would like to place the recreational crafts, components and marine engines along with personal watercrafts on the market in European Union and that will include Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

Other Key Changes to the Directive

One of the major changes in the requirements of the revised Recreational Craft Directive is the signed Declaration of Conformity which has to accompany the boat, engine or its component when it is presented in the market in European Union. This declaration is needed to prove that the boat is in compliance with all Essential Requirements (ER) of the new directive and this has to be shown along with the Owner’s Manual and Technical Documentation.

The manufacturer has to submit the Craft Identification Number and the Builder’s Plate with particular details on how the boat has to be marked with formal text. With effect from 18th January 2017, the manufacturers will also have to add contact address to the Builder’s Plate and this information has to be a single contact point and it need not necessarily be the location where the manufacturer is originally established or within the European Union; it need not be a website address, also.


ISO Technical Committee 188 has been made responsible for the standardization of construction details and equipment of the recreational boat and other small crafts using material up to twenty four meters across the length of the hull. One of the ways to conform to the Essential Requirements is by employing Harmonized Standards. These standards are published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The Design and the Construction of the boat has to be verified by the sub-committee that is made up of DE or design equipment and FP or fire protection along with Fishing Vessel Safety and Stability and Load Lines. The key changes are focused on the building of on-board life saving appliances.

The sub-committee for pollution prevention and response has been made up of Bulk Liquids and Gases and the key revisions are focused on Ballast Water Management and the impact on the polar waters of black carbon emissions.