TALKING POINT on IBIA ‘user-friendly’ publication to help builders navigate the Recreational Craft Directive
The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) has a new Guide to help industry navigate what at times can feel something of a labyrinth of technical speak, codes and references. The Guide to the Application of the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) has been penned by the EU Commission itself, and unlike the RSG Guidelines that are more technical in nature, is a much more user-friendly offering making it a must for every boatbuilder. This new second version of the Guide includes updates to relevant harmonised standards, a table of contents and most importantly clarifies some important issues that were previously not clear.
The new Guide to the Application of the Recreational Craft Directive highlights key changes to the original RCD
Outlined below are some of those key clarifications:
- “Hydrofoil” shall be understood as “hydrofoil watercraft”. This is a watercraft whose hull is designed to fly completely free above the surface of the water in the planing condition only by hydrodynamic forces generated on hydrofoils. However, watercraft with foils, that provide only partial lift, are included in the scope of the Directive.
- With regards to the “durability criteria” for engines additional light was shed on some bullet points. Point (a) applies to CI inboard and stern drive engines with or without integral exhaust and bullet point (d) apply to both CI or SI outboard engines.
- The provisions of the “non-road mobile machinery legislation” applicable to the RCD have been amended. Type approval according to the Directive 97/68/EC was only possible until 31st December 2018 as it has been repealed by the Regulation (EU) 2016/1628. The new Regulation introduces the stage V of the exhaust emission limits which are stricter than the previous stages. Its article 64.2 states that: “References to the repealed Directive shall be construed as references to this Regulation.” It means that the reference to the Directive 97/68/ EC as stipulated in Article 6.4(b) of the RCD shall be understood also as a reference to the Regulation (EU) 2016/1628.
- There is further clarification on Article 38.4 of the RCD with regards to the “finding of non-compliancy by notified body in course of monitoring conformity following issue of certificate”. For all conformity assessment modules (except D, E and H), the RCD does not require routine audits but monitoring of the conformity of the issued certificate. Therefore, the task of the Notified Body is to keep track of the status of legislation and standardisation. In general, manufacturers are obliged to inform the Notified Body if their product has changed in such a way that it no longer complies with the issued certificate. However, if the legal framework or the associated standards change to such an extent that the product is no longer compliant, the Notified Body shall request the manufacturer to take appropriate corrective measures. All Notified Bodies accredited according to EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012 (like IMCI) are obliged on the basis of this standard to assess the implementation of the changes by their customers. In this context, the Notified Body may request that the manufacturer is visited on site. This request has to be justified and proportionate to the overall conformity assessment procedure. In this case, the manufacturer should not prevent the Notified Body from entering his premises.
- The “model year” is the year when each individual watercraft is intended to be placed on the market. For example, if a manufacturer builds multiple identical units of the same series, the model year represents the year in which the builder intends to place the individual watercraft on the market. The model year assigned to a specific craft is a period of twelve months and can extend across two calendar years. The manufacturer decides which of these is the model year.
- The “builder’s plate” normally refers to the manufacturer of the craft. However, in the case of a post-construction assessment (PCA), where neither the manufacturer nor his authorised representative is responsible for the compliance of the craft with the Directive, the private importer who places the craft into service assumes this responsibility. The manufacturer’s plate shall then indicate the contact details of the Notified Body that carried out the conformity assessment as the name of the manufacturer. In this case, in addition to the information described in the essential requirement in Annex I.A.2.2 of the Directive, the manufacturer’s plate also has to include the words “post-construction assessment”.
- Regarding the “Protection from falling overboard” the Application Guide points out that particular attention should be given to design of high-speed craft providing sufficient individual protection features (such as individual seats, body supports and/or handholds) for all persons on board to minimise the risks of falling overboard.
- “Canoes and kayaks” are defined as small, light and narrow watercraft, typically tapered at both ends with a length to width ratio of at least 3:1 and propelled only by human power.
- The provisions of the “non-road mobile machinery legislation” applicable to the RCD have been amended. Type approval according to the Directive 97/68/EC was only possible until 31st December 2018 as it has been repealed by the Regulation (EU) 2016/1628. The new Regulation introduces the stage V of the exhaust emission limits which are stricter than the previous stages. Its article 64.2 states that: “References to the repealed Directive shall be construed as references to this Regulation.” It means that the reference to the Directive 97/68/EC as stipulated in Article 6.4(b) of the RCD shall be understood also as a reference to the Regulation (EU) 2016/1628. In particular, the reference to exhaust emission limits defined in Annex II, Table II-1: Stage V emission limits for engine category NRE of the Regulation (EU) 2016/1628 shall be understood in the same way as the reference to Articles 220.127.116.11 – 18.104.22.168 of Annex I of the Directive 97/68/EC.
The European Union is on the move and so is the Guide to the Application of the Recreational Craft Directive.
(© Pictures IBI)