Marine Surveyor YDSA
THE RECREATIONAL CRAFT DIRECTIVE
A BRIEF GUIDE FOR INLAND CRAFT
Within this brief overview I will attempt to clarify some of the
requirements associated with the RCD. Unfortunately the relevant statute
has been composed in legalese and somewhat complicated.
There remains a great deal of myth and confusion associated with
the Directive. Further information can be obtained from the British
Marine Federation (BMF), Trading Standards Departments or the Department
of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Morse Marine can offer a consultation and inspection package that
enables the builder or owner to comply with the Directive.
At the time of writing two controversial issues remain, firstly what
is meant by "Completion date" and secondly what is meant
by "Built for own use". Within the statute no meaningful
definitions are forthcoming and depending with whom you consult, different
interpretations are provided by the official bodies.
WHAT IS THE RCD
The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) is a trade directive that
became law on the 16th June 1996. A two-year introductory period was
allowed for and therefore new craft placed on the market after the
16th June 1998 must comply with the mandatory requirements of the
· Craft smaller than 2.5m and larger than 24m.
· Craft that were completely finished before 16th June 1998.
· Completed craft that were sold before the 16th June 1998.
· Craft built for own use provided that they are not subsequently
placed on the community market during a period of 5 years.
· Gondolas etc.
Lies with the company or person first placing the product on the
European market. The Directive is only enforced once during the life
of the craft i.e. at the first point of sale on the transfer of ownership.
The responsible person shall ensure that all aspects of the Directive
are complied with. Each craft must be allocated a prescribed Craft
Identification Number (CIN) and the craft must carry an approved CE
Plate marked accordingly.
The department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are responsible for administering
the Directive nationally and Trading Standards Officers (TSO's) are
responsible for enforcement within Local Authorities.
Prosecution can lead to a £5,000 fine and/or three months imprisonment.
Should there be a successful prosecution the offender will attract
a criminal conviction. The RCD is not a code of practice it is a legal
There are four design categories ranging from 'A' to 'D'. Inland
craft are generally categorised as 'D'. This means that the builder
has recommended that the craft is suitable for sheltered waters where
the wave height is no grater than 0.3m and the wind strength is no
greater than 4 (Beaufort).
Production control for category 'D' craft and category 'C' craft
(no longer than 12m) remain the responsibly of the builder and therefore
deemed to be self-certified. Other craft require the involvement of
a Notified Body to certify aspects of the production process, assess
conformity and for example check the stability of the craft.
ESSENTIAL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS (ESR's)
Upon completion of the craft the following ESR's must be complied
with. It is intended that the ESR's be supported by the harmonised
standards, however this not a mandatory stipulation; other standards,
proven industry standards and codes of practice can be utilised to
demonstrate conformity where appropriate.
1 - Boat Design Categories
2 - General Requirements
2.1 - Hull Identification
2.2 - Builders plate
2.3 - Protection from falling overboard and means of reboarding
2.4 - Visibility from main steering position
2.5 - Owners manual
3 - Integrity and Structural Requirements
3.1 - Structure
3.2 - Stability & freeboard
3.3 - Buoyancy and floatation
3.4 - Openings in hull, deck & superstructure
3.5 - Flooding
3.6 - Manufactures recommended load
3.7 - Life raft stowage
3.8 - Escape
3.9 - Anchoring, mooring & towing
4 - Handling characteristics
5 - Installation Requirements
5.1.1 - Inboard engine
5.1.2 - Engine ventilation
5.1.3 - Engine exposed parts
5.1.4 - Outboard engines starting
5.2.1 - Fuel system - general
5.2.2 - Fuel tanks
5.3 - Electrical Systems
5.4.1 - Steering System General
5.4.2 - Emergency Arrangements
5.5 - Gas System
5.6.1 - General Fire Protection
5.6.2 - Fire Fighting Equipment
5.7 - Navigation Lights
5.8 - Discharge prevention
DECLARATION OF CONFORMITY
Upon completion of the craft the responsible person must issue a
Declaration of Conformity stipulating that the RCD provisions have
been complied with. The certificate should include the standards used
to demonstrate that the ESR's have been attained. For category 'D'
craft the internal production control method (module A) is applied;
the builder, supplier or owner is required to self-certificate.
Each craft must be provided with a dedicated boat manual that should
include specific detail and explain the following to the user:
· The identity of the boat (i.e. builder, model and Craft Identification
· That the boat complies with the RCD;
· The meaning of the RCD category & associated stability
& loading data;
· The limitations of the systems and the boat itself;
· How the boat and systems should be safely operated;
· What equipment is on board;
· Where essential (including) equipment can be found;
· How the boat systems should be maintained;
TECHNICAL CONSTRUCTION FILE (TCF)
During the construction of the craft the builder is required to compile
a TCF; the builder must retain the file for a period of 10 years.
Extracted from the statute: -
"The technical documentation must comprise all relevant data
or means by the manufacturer to ensure that components or craft comply
with the essential requirements relating to them.
The technical documentation shall enable understanding of the design,
manufacture and operation of the product, and shall enable assessment
of conformity with the requirements of this Directive.
The documentation shall contain so far as relevant for assessment:
· a general description of type,
· conceptual design and manufacturing drawings and schemes
of components, sub-assemblies, circuits etc.,
· descriptions and explanations necessary for the understanding
of said drawings and schemes and the operation of the product,
· a list of the standards refereed to in Article 5, applied
in full or in part, and descriptions of the solutions adopted to fulfil
the essential requirements when the standards referred to in Article
5 have not been applied.
· results of design calculations made, examinations carried
· test reports, or calculations namely on stability to point
3.2 of the Essential Requirements and on buoyancy to point 3.3 of
the Essential Requirements."
British Waterways (BW) and The Environment Agency (EA) control, for
the most part, the UK waterway system. Upon licensing a new craft
the following will be required:
· A 'Boat Safety Scheme Certificate'.
· A 'Declaration of Conformity' (Annex IIIa Declaration) issued
by the shell builder.
· A 'Declaration of Conformity' (Annex XV) issued by the supplier
of the completed craft.
Upon the second annual licence application the Annex IIIa Declaration
for a partly completed craft will not qualify for a licence; either
a 'Boat Safety Certificate' or a full 'Declaration of Conformity'
will be required.
1. There is no mandatory requirement for a Boat Safety Certificate
with a new craft, although for licensing purposes the Navigation Authorities
require a Boat Safety Certificate after a four-year term from the
2. The Boat Safety Scheme management stipulate that almost without
exception the harmonised European Standards are in accordance with
the compliance options within the BSS Guide.
HOME BUILT BOATS
Boats built or largely completed by the owner can be excluded from
the scope of the RCD provided the craft is not sold within the EEA
for a period of five years. However a boat is not Home built if the
owner 'project manages' other trades.
Bare shells and Sailaways are deemed to be partly completed craft;
accordingly the supplier of the partially built boat will have to
demonstrate compliance and provide certification stipulating his part
in the manufacturing process. The certificate is termed an Annex IIIa
Extracted from: RECREATIONAL CRAFT DIRECTIVE AND COMMENTS TO THE
DIRECTIVE COMBINED - FIRST EDITION - 09/06/98 - Page 9
" (g) Craft built for own use, provided that they are not subsequently
placed on the Community market during a period of five years.
The exclusion in (g) concerns craft built by their future user, provided
that they are not placed on the EEA market within five years of being
put into service. This does not preclude the sub-contracting, by the
builder, of specialists in certain aspects of the fitting out of the
boat e.g. electrical or electronic engineers.
If, for whatever reason, a boat built for own use were intended to
be placed on the Community market, whether completed or partly completed,
within the 5-year period, then certification by a person or persons
fulfilling the role of manufacturer would be required in a similar
manner to (f) above. These persons would take the responsibility for
the appraisal of the design, construction and any necessary modification
of the boat. This appraisal, with regard to compliance with essential
requirements of the Directive, involves the procedures necessary for
A member of the general public building his own boat (in his garage
or garden, for example, from materials bought on the open market is
deemed to be "building a boat for his own use". This boat
lies outside of the Directive and does not require compliance with
the essential requirements and thus CE Marking. If for whatever reason
this situation changes then the provisions detailed above would be
seen to apply.
It should be made clear that a private person who enters into a contractual
arrangement with a professional company, yard or individual constructor
to build a one off boat (be-spoke) is deemed to have entered into
an arrangement where there will be a transfer of ownership. Such a
boat is deemed to fall under the Directive and will have to comply
with the Essential Requirements of the Directive and applicable conformity
assessment procedures. Reference is made to text expanding Article
Boats built for own use have the concept that a person is building
their own boat and not having it built by others."
POST CONSTRUCTION ASSESSMENT
Extracts from RSG Guidelines (June 16, 2001) relating to Post Construction
"In certain circumstances, it is necessary for existing boats
to be certified, in line with the RCD, after they have been built.
The only possible modules applicable are Module G, Module Aa or Module
A. All essential safety requirements are applicable for such boats.
The following boats are included in the scope of the proposal:
· Boats built for own use when placed on the market within
the first five years of completion.
Attention is drawn to the responsibility and the legal aspects, having
the owner, the importer, or the person putting the craft into EEA
service, as applicable, to assume the role of the manufacturer and
being identified as the responsible person in this context."
Note: Despite petitioning the DTI the commission has not addressed
the numerous craft placed on the UK market that are non-compliant
with the RCD.
CONSULTATION & INSPECTION PACKAGE OFFERED BY MORSE MARINE
· To inspect the craft for Essential Safety Requirements (ESR's)
and Boat Safety Scheme standards.
· Issue Boat Safety Certificate.
· Supply Declaration (Certificate) of Conformity.
· Advise on Craft Identification Number (CIN) compilation and
· CIN registration with RYA or BMF where applicable.
· CE plate supplied and advised marking.
· Consultation and conformity assessment during fitout.
· Compilation of Boat Manual (excluding technical drawings
· Compilation of Technical Construction File (TCF)