Understanding the Recreational Craft Directive

Recreational Craft Directive or RCD is a set of minimum requirements laid down by the European New Approach Directive that enables trading of boats. RCD basically guarantees that a boat is suitable for use and sale inside European Union (EU) territories. However, RCD is not a quality assurance directive and it does not entirely cover the safety guidelines of a boat. Every craft needs RCD to obtain its Craft Identification Number (CIN).

In relation to RCD, each craft should also meet Essential Requirements (EC), which include durability and strength of the boat during construction, identification marks, handling, installations of different systems, and the owner’s papers.

In 1994, the European Commission first introduced the RCD. Two years after, RCD became a voluntary directive in EU until 1998, when it became mandatory for the entire area. Amendments were made in 2005, which included the addition of jet ski crafts and marine engines. RCD aims to ensure a level of uniformity in the design and partial safety of recreational boats within EU.

Although RCD was mandated in the European Economic Area, it does not cover the entirety of water crafts. Recreational Craft Directive exempts racing boats; submersibles; hovercrafts; small boats, such as kayaks, canoes, and gondolas; surfboards; privately used and owned crafts that have not been in the market for at least five years; and commercial crafts.

Note that any craft that was placed in the EU market after the latest amendments should comply with the CE, except for the boats stated above. RCD applies only once to every craft. It means that once the craft has previously met the requirements of the directive, it need not be covered by RCD again. There is no renewal or a subsequent RCD compliance needed.

Brand new crafts, meanwhile, need to meet the RCD before being sold in the market. These crafts need to meet certain documents, aside from CE and CIN, prior to selling them. On the other hand, if the craft is already…

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