New EU Recreational Craft Directive introduced

Staged at METS (Marine Equipment Trade Show) in Amsterdam, and hosted by ICOMIA and IBI in collaboration, the Workshop on New Technologies and Manufacturing was aimed at boat builders operating internationally, and presented to a keen audience of industry specialists in late November of last year.

Udo Kleinitz from British Marine Federation presented an informative update on coming changes to the EU Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) whose establishment has been published in the EU official journal. This means that EU member states will now have to formally embody the new RCD in their national law. There will then follow a ‘transposition period’ from the end of 2015 to the end of 2016, where both old and new directives can apply. From 2017 all products will have to comply with the new RCD.

The main changes in overview relate to the following:

  • Deletion of descriptions such as; ‘Coastal Waters,’ and ‘Estuaries’ etc. These will be replaced with more specific references to actual conditions such as ‘Wind Speed’ and ‘Wave Heights.’
  • Buoyancy, floatation and means of escape.
  • Kill chords.
  • Mandatory tank ventilation only to be for petrol engines in future.
  • Emissions to be standardised with USA and other global limits.
  • Toilets to be solely connected to a holding tank or water treatment system.
  • All electrical circuits will be made safer against overload conditions.
  • Minimising the risks of falling overboard and to facilitate re-boarding. (Means of re-boarding (MOB) shall be accessible to or deployable by a person in the water unaided.)

The last two points created some discussion amongst the delegates as they no doubt will for the industry in general. Anyone who has been involved in a MOB incident will know how critical the last point is, and the question of holding tank emptying, and how it is treated (or not) in various EU coastal states will be a long running debate. There will be plenty of time for this, as according to Udo the next RCD revision will be in eight years!


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