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On the 2nd of November the YBDSA (Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association) organized a Training Seminar regarding the RCD (Recreational Craft Directive), which Arend Venema of Whites International Yachts attended.

The RCD was created by the European Commission to provide technical harmonization for trade within the EEA. This means that all recreational craft (with very few exceptions) between 2.5m and 24m hull length placed on the market or put into service in the EEA must have reached agreed minimum levels of safety to reduce risk of personal injury or risk to the environment.

The EEA includes all twenty-five EU States, their overseas territories and dependencies (e.g. Cayman Islands, New Caledonia, Azores, British Virgin Islands etc.) and Iceland and Norway.


A boat does not need to comply with the RCD if it was built in or in use in the EEA prior to 16th of June 1998. What this means is that if as an owner you can prove (e.g. with a marina invoice or statement) that your boat was somewhere in the EEA any time prior to the 16th of June 1998 you can legally claim your boat is exempt from being RCD compliant. In addition, a boat does not need to comply with the RCD if it is only temporarily visiting the EEA for reasons of tourism or transit however the time scales here are undefined.

Second hand vessels placed on the market in the EEA which were not in the EEA prior to the 16th of June 1998 are subject to the RCD. In such cases the person who puts the boat on the market must ensure that it is RCD compliant. This falls into three parts:

  1. Ensuring that the boat physically complies with the RCD Essential Requirements.
  2. Making sure that the Owner’s Manual, Technical File, Declaration of Conformity and Builder’s Plate are all satisfactory.
  3. Lodging an application for a Post-Construction Assessment with a Notified Body who will then issue a report and ultimately a certificate based on this assessment.

Infringement of the RCD can lead to a fine of GBP 5,000 and/or three months imprisonment. If you have any concerns regarding your boat, please give us a call or send an email. We would be happy to advise on any individual issues you might have.