• Smoker Craft
  • Apex Boats
  • Iliad Catamarans
  • Rapido Trimarans
  • Seawind Catamarans
  • Cheoy Lee Shipyards
  • Pearl Yachts
  • Highfield Boats
  • Azimut
  • Corsair Marine International
  • + many, many more…

Official Reference: 2013/53/EU

Note that Directive 2013/53/EU (known affectionately as RCD II) has now replaced the old RCD I which carried the references 94/25/EC and as amended by 2003/44/EC.

Download the EU Commission’s brochure on CE marking recreational craft.

Dates of Enforcement
16/06/1998 – RCD I became mandatory
01/01/2006 – amendment to RCD I became mandatory, bringing PWC & emissions into scope
18/01/2016 – RCD II became optional
18/01/2017 – RCD II became mandatory & RCD I ceased to exist

Manufacturers should not issue Declarations of Conformity to RCD I (94/25/EC or 2003/44/EC) dated later than 17 January 2017.

Click here to:

  • See a list of the differences between RCD I and RCD II
  • Download a re-certification application form
  • Use the HPiVS Standards Time Machine. to find which standards have been updated since your last certificate.

The Directive applies to the design and manufacture (but NOT operation) of watercraft (ie recreational boats & personal watercraft) that have a hull length between 2.5m and 24m (8ft 2in to 78ft 8in).

All boats that are within the scope must be assigned a design category which is then used to set targets for the assessment of the craft.
The Directive also lists 5 groups of components which are in scope and must be CE marked when placed on the market.

This Directive shall apply … with regard to design and construction, to:

  1. Ignition-protected equipment for inboard and stern drive petrol engines & petrol tank spaces.
  2. Start-in-gear protection devices for outboard engines.
  3. Steering wheels, steering mechanisms and cable assemblies.
  4. Fuel tanks intended for fixed installations and fuel hoses.
  5. Prefabricated hatches and port lights.

In addition, the Directive also includes engines that are to be fitted on recreational craft. To earn their CE mark, all engines must meet exhaust emissions criteria and if the engine has an integral exhaust (eg an outboard or sterndrive) then it must also meet noise limits. If the engine does not have an integral exhaust and is fitted to a high speed boat, then the boat manufacturer must demonstrate that the boat & engine together meet the noise limits.


There are a number of exclusions. Many of these refer to craft with an unconventional mode of operation such as hydrofoils and hovercraft.
The exclusion that causes the most confusion is craft for commercial use. For more details, see the FAQ relating to commercial craft.
Craft intended solely for racing are also excluded (if they are labelled as such). If the craft is intended primarily for racing and may cruise from time to time, it is not excluded.

(i) watercraft intended solely for racing, including rowing racing boats and training rowing boats, labelled as such by the manufacturer; (ii) canoes and kayaks designed to be propelled solely by human power, gondolas and pedalos;
(iii) surfboards designed solely to be propelled by wind and to be operated by a person or persons standing;
(iv) surfboards;
(v) original historical watercraft and individual replicas thereof designed before 1950, built predominantly with the original materials and labelled as such by the manufacturer;
(vi) experimental watercraft, provided that they are not placed on the Union market;
(vii) watercraft built for own use, provided that they are not subsequently placed on the Union market during a period of five years from the putting into service of the watercraft;
(viii) watercraft specifically intended to be crewed and to carry passengers for commercial purposes, without prejudice to paragraph 3, regardless of the number of passengers;
(ix) submersibles;
(x) air cushion vehicles;
(xi) hydrofoils;
(xii) external combustion steam powered watercraft, fuelled by coal, coke, wood, oil or gas;
(xiii) amphibious vehicles, i.e. wheeled or track-laying motor vehicles, which are able to operate both on water and on solid land;

Products are either in scope and must be CE marked or they are outside the scope and cannot be CE marked. CE marking is not a matter of choice!

As there is no legal means whereby an excluded product can be CE marked, you may be assured that HPiVS will confirm, on application, if your product is excluded.

The Mastercraft X30 certified by HPiVS


The detailed technical characteristics of the design, materials, production and testing are not laid down in the Directive but in harmonised standards.

Conformity with harmonised standards “guarantees” conformity with the directive. Their application, however, is not mandatory. If harmonised standards are not suited to a specific product, any alternative standard or solution may be applied if it ensures equivalent safety. It can be difficult to demonstrate equivalent safety and harmonised standards should be applied wherever possible. HPiVS can advise on alternative methods.

Click here to visit the EU Commission’s website for an up-to-date list of harmonised standards for RCD.  In the light of RCD II, very many standards have been revised between 2013 and 2016.  A large number are scheduled for update in the next couple of years.

Online Access to Standards

For online access to:

the latest EN & ISO standards for small and large craft

UK & EU RCD legislation

RSG Guidelines and EU Commission Guides

we recommend Rulefinder.net.

At Rulefinder standards are sold in packages rather than individually, meaning you get the information you need at a fraction of the price.

Conformity Assessment Procedures

The directive has a wide range of Conformity Assessment Modules that define what documentation needs to be compiled and to what extent a Notified Body should be involved. The choice of modules is limited depending upon the risk (i.e. the design category) of the product. HPiVS will advise on the options upon application.  For further details, download the HPiVS Guidance Note – RCD Conformity Assessment Modules.