Leading in experience

Behind the picture of CE marking hides a world of certainty. Safety and security for producer, dealer and consumer. Of course a CE certification is required to be able to sell a yacht within the EU. But have you look at that requirement from the other side?


You can also look at a CE certification as a production check. If our experts inspect your design, boat and the construction thoroughly, then this can protect you from liability. Because they discover and report possible defects in good time. After all, a wharf is liable for consequences of defects for years. Another example of the other side of the obligations? Upon subsequent resale of your yacht, new owners will certainly set this as a precondition.

CE certification required?

Determine with the diagram which module the European Commission sets as mandatory for your boat.

Why European Directives and CE marking?

Free trade

The European Union (EU) strives for free trade in goods between the EC Member States. Therefore, the European Community set up the CE Recreational Craft Directive for certain product groups in 1998. This Guideline:

– sets safety requirements

– sets environmental requirements

– sets health requirements

– protects consumers

Identical requirements

Member states are required to convert this Directive into national laws and regulations. These must have the same scope as the Directive. Thus, the differences in requirements that member states set to products are eliminated and therefore also the technical trade barrier. In the Netherlands the national regulations are recorded in the Recreational Craft Directive.


The countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) voluntarily process requirements from the Directive recreational crafts in their national legislation. Today, Turkey is also required to conform to the mentioned Directive.

CE marking

Products which conform to the requirements get a CE marking (Conformité Européenne). Producers who lack marking and which do fall under the Directive cannot be placed on the market and can therefore also not be sold.

Harmonised standards

The Directive sets essential requirements to the product. A derivative of the Directive is the so-called harmonised ISO standards, a guidance document allowing manufacturers to be able to determine how they can produce according to the standards to therefore comply to the Recreational Craft Directive. Also for products where the use of the ISO standards is voluntarily, harmonised ISO standards certainly do play a role.

What is the effective date of the Recreational Craft Directive?

Starting January 18, 2017
The last changed version of the European Recreational Craft Directive has been in force since January 18, 2017. This Directive 2013/53/EU is the changed and supplemented version of directive 2003/44/EC with effective date June 16, 2003. Because of the one-year transition period the requirement to conform to the act started on January 18, 2017.

When can you affix the CE marking?

CE approval

A producer can and should place a CE marking on their vessel themselves. But only if they can declare and demonstrate that their vessel meets the requirements of the Directive. To study this there are a number of inspection regimes, depending on the design category of the yacht.


You will find in the Guidelines what inspection regimes there are. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management appoints the inspection bodies. DCI is an official inspection body in the Netherlands. The easiest way to conform to the requirements is producing according to harmonised ISO standards. The ISO standards for the Recreational Craft Directive can be ordered at the NEN.



Recreational boats from outside the EU must meet the same conditions as recreational boats which have been produced within the EU. This also applies if you want to sell a boat within the EU which was constructed outside of the EU before June 16, 1998. That boat first needs to get inspected and certified.

Please note! The importer is responsible for adhering to the Guidelines!

Can a recreational boat fall under multiple Guidelines?

A recreational boat can fall under multiple Guidelines. There are Guidelines for:

– pressure vessels

– gas appliances

– electromagnetic compatibility

– individual protective measures

– peripheral equipment for telecommunication

More and more Guidelines will be added.

Which requirements do the Guidelines set?


The Recreational Craft Directive sets:

– safety requirements

– health requirements

Requirements for consumer protection:

– environmental requirements

Thus a manufacturer knows exactly what the boat must comply with upon completion. The requirements for the daily use of a yacht, every member state can arrange by themselves. As long as the prototype of the boat does not change.

What products fall under the Recreational Craft Directive?

Included in the Recreational Craft Directive are:

– recreational crafts

– partly completed recreational crafts

– certain loose parts for recreational crafts

– some mounted components of recreational crafts for recreational purposes, such as rental or sailing and navigation courses

For recreational craft, the Directive vessels understands:

– intended for sports and recreation

– for both inland waterways and maritime navigation

– regardless of the method of propulsion

– from 2.5 to 24 metres

NOT included under the directive are:

– racing boats

– canoes

– gondolas

– pedalos

– sailboards

– originals and replicates of historical vessels

– experimental vessels

– constructed vessels for personal use

– crewed vessels intended for commercial transport of passengers

– submarines

– cushion vehicles

– hydrofoil vessels