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Updated product rules for recreational boats

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Aktualisierte Produktvorschriften für Sportboote
Actualización de las normas aplicables a las embarcaciones de recreo
Actualisation des règles applicables aux bateaux de plaisance
Aggiornamento delle norme sulle imbarcazioni da diporto
Zaktualizowane zasady dotyczące rekreacyjnych jednostek pływających
Updated product rules for recreational boats

The EU has some 6 million motor boats, sailing boats and personal watercraft (jet skis) used for sports and leisure, i.e. non-commercial purposes. The European Commission (EC) has proposed to update the Directive which sets out the requirements for such craft to be put on the EU market. In particular it would further tighten environmental requirements and enhance measures to ensure compliance.


© gianliguori / Fotolia

Recreational craft are a key part of the marine leisure sector, which has annual revenues of about €23.4 billion. The sector counts over 37 000 businesses, predominantly SMEs, with around 272 000 direct employees working in marinas, boat builders, engine or marine equipment manufacturers, hire charter, sailing schools, marine solicitors, etc.

The Commission’s proposal is the outcome of consultations launched in 2008. It would substantially modernise the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) adopted in 1994, which laid down basic safety requirements, as well as its 2003 amendment, in which limits were added for exhaust emissions and noise levels for watercraft with engines. In particular it would explicitly clarify the Directive’s application to personal watercraft – jet skis and the like. The Directive would also be brought into line with the ‘New Approach’ framework, from 2008, which sets out general rules for ensuring products on the EU market conform to safety and related provisions.

Stakeholders have generally welcomed the proposal, finding it well balanced. The new legislation is expected to apply to new craft from 2016.

EC directive proposition

The main changes in comparison to the existing Directive are:

The proposal would not change the limits for noise emissions.

EP amendments

The Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) made a number of clarifications and technical adjustments proposal, essentially aimed at improving definitions and application of certain provisions.

The main amendments cover:

Following IMCO’s adoption of its report in June 2012, a trilogue agreement on the text was reached before summer 2013. However, it may be noted that the Council working party required lengthy technical discussions, before reaching a mandate for negotiations with the EP.

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