What is Recreational Craft Directive?

RCD or the Recreational Craft Directive is a dictate that enables trade in Europe with a new approach. It sets up minimum requirements for the manufacture and purchase of boats based on the guarantee of sale and their use within the European Union. The current version of the Recreational Craft Directive will be replaced on optional basis from 18th January 2106 and will become mandatory with effect from 18th January 2017. The current directive concerns the CE certification of boats.

The requirements of the Recreational Craft Directive are referred to as the Essential Requirements or ER. These requirements will cover all the aspects of boats ranging from the construction strength to the identification marks and from owner’s documentation to handling and stability. It also covers the installation of the fuel and electric systems on the boats.

CE Certification

Boats that are manufactured to comply with the Recreational Craft Directive are always CE-marked and they have to carry an identity spot which is known as CIN or the Craft Identification Number along with a Builder’s Plate that displays the CE-mark and all other essential information concerning the boat’s design, particularly its category towards which it was exclusively built. For your understanding, there are four categories – A, B, C and D. These categories are defined as the per the wave and wind conditions that will be experienced by the boat that is being built and accordingly the category will cover Sheltered Waters, Coastal, Offshore or Ocean waters.

The manufacturer of the boats can comply with the Essential Requirements (ERs) in several ways based on the category of design and the size of a boat. Boats that are manufactured for categories A and B and the large sized boats for Category C are always made with a third party involvement. This notified third party will check and monitor the construction and design of the boat.  All boats made under Category D can be certified by the manufacturer itself. In all these categories involved, industry standards and codes will apply.

RCD made easy

Some handbooks and guides have been published exclusively by organizations like the British Marine Federation along with some short courses on the Recreational Craft Directive to both its members and non-members.

Manufacturers of boats, particularly for export to the European Union, have to keep an eye on the standard revisions to the industry requirements. They have to keep themselves up to date with the latest list of ISO standards.

Super Boat USA has the required expertise in leisure marine industry. It manages the Manufacturer’s Identity Codes, often on behalf of BIS (Innovation and Skills) and the Department for Business so that all international standards’ requirements are met in the marine sector.

The Recreational Craft Directive lays out safety requirements at a uniform level in the designing and manufacturing of recreational craft across the European Economic region. It covers all super boats meant for recreational and sports purposes that have hull lengths ranging from two and a half to twenty four meters. The compliance to this directive is compulsory for all the new boats that have been placed on the European Union market since 1998.

The Recreational Craft Directive does not apply to boats that are meant only for racing, kayaks, canoes and gondolas. It also excludes all sailboards and surfboards and hydrofoils and hovercrafts.

Administrative Requirements

The Recreational Craft Directive has requirements on both the protection and administrative fronts. The protection requirements have about thirty safety provisions that include fire protection, engine protection, gas equipment, stability and marking.

The administrative requirements look for the CE-marking and that the manufacturers have compiled a database of technical information. The file has to include calculations and test trial reports displaying information that the craft has sufficient stability in the respective categorized sea conditions. The manufacturers also have to submit a Declaration of Conformity. The administrative requirements also go on to expect self-certification by the craft manufacturer or a third party certification with all procedures covering quality control. These have to be presented in modules with a basis on the craft size and the sea conditions for which it is intended to be used in.