The EU Recreational Craft Directive (Directive 94/25/EC as amended by 2003/44/EC) - its impact on DIY boatbuilders

The European Recreational Craft Directive (RCD for short) is legislation which consists of a set of statements about the construction of 'recreational craft'.

The RCD applies (with some exceptions) to all new professionally-built recreational craft from 2.4m to 24m LOA. Compliance is enforced in the UK by Trading Standards Officers with penalties of 5,000 and/or 3 months imprisonment for non-compliance.

Craft built for the builder's own use are exempted, provided they are not subsequently placed on the European Community market within 5 years of build. HOWEVER, because many of the requirements set out in the RCD are sensible and in the interests of both the builder and user, a prudent amateur boatbuilder may wish to comply partly or fully with the RCD. Compliance with most aspects is by self-certification, but for RCD category C craft under 12m LOA (see below) compliance with the stability and buoyancy requirements of the RCD requires certification by a National Authority (eg the RYA, in the UK), thus may cost a lot of money.

For an initiation into the requirements of the RCD, go to this RYA page: Recreational Craft Directive - RYA Guide to Compliance .

I shall be providing further links and information in the future. It is also my intention to provide as much information as possible for each of my sailboat designs in the 'BLUE' series, to facilitate compliance with the RCD if desired. All of the 'BLUE' series boats are intended to be designated in Category C of the RCD: that is, suitable for inshore waters (wind force up to and including force 6 Beaufort; significant mean wave heights up to and including 2.0m)


The advice given about the RCD on this website is intended to assist amateur builders in understanding the RCD and how it may apply to a boatbuilding project you wish to undertake. I am not an authority on the subject, and all information given here should be checked with other sources before committing resources to your own project.

Page last updated on 25 June 2007