On 3 August 2017, the new Recreational Craft Regulations 2017 finally joined the statute book and became law in the UK after much deliberation. This legislation is more generally known as the RCD, or Recreational Craft Directive (2013/53/EU) and this version updates and repeals the earlier 2004 regulations.
The 2017 Recreational Craft Regulations follow the requirements of the RCD, while also setting out the UK market surveillance responsibilities. This essentially relates to what trading standards can and will do to ensure compliance. Their powers to impose penalties on companies found in breach of the regulations are immense and could result in products being taken off the market, fines imposed and even imprisonment in some cases.
The RCD sets out minimum technical, safety and environmental standards for the trade of boats, personal watercraft, marine engines and components in Europe. It covers boats between 2.5 metres and 24 metres. It ensures their suitability for sale and use in Europe.
Some of the key changes to essential requirements include:
Annex I.A.2.3. Protection from falling overboard and means of re-boarding – means of re-boarding shall be accessible to, or deployable by a person in the water unaided.
Annex I.A.2.4 Visibility from the main steering position now applicable to all craft (changed to include sailing vessels)
Annex I.A.3.3. Buoyancy and flotation/3.8 Escape – new wording introducing stability assessment for multihulls
Annex I.A.5.1.6. – Kill cord requirement for tiller steered OB engines
Annex I.A.5.1.6. – Deletion of mandatory tank ventilation for all tanks applicable only to petrol fuel tank spaces
Annex I.A.5.3. Electrical system – changes addressing electric propulsion
Annex I.A.5.5. Gas system – appliance requirement of flame failure deleted (covered by gas appliance directive)
Annex I.5.8. – Water protection – holding tank / treatment system requirement
Annex I.B – New engine emission limits – alignment with EPA 2010/CARB including test cycles and test fuels