European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani has welcomed the approval of the European Parliament of the recreational boats directive. It will reduce the boat’s annual emissions of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons by 20% and emissions of particulate matters by 34%.
The new emission limits apply to several millions of motor boats, sailing boats, jet skis and other recreational crafts that navigate the European shores, lakes and rivers. In summer NOx concentrations of recreational craft can be significant in water tourist resorts. In addition the revised Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) will also improve market surveillance, such as rules on CE marking. Member States will have to ensure that adequate checks are carried out, both at the EU external borders and within the EU including visits to premises of producers/importers to ensure that recreational crafts presenting a danger are not made available on the market. Finally boat safety will be strengthened as new habitable multihull craft can no longer invert or must have sufficient buoyancy to remain afloat in the inverted position.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “I thank the EP and welcome its decision to follow our line of making recreational boats more respectful of our marine environment. This is not only good for the environment, as it will also improve the quality of holiday resorts and boost job creation in the tourism industry. Cleaner and safer boats will help recreational craft enterprises save costs as they will be able to serve the world market with a single production line as we are aligning our standards to world standards. The EP decision is therefore supporting our goal of strengthening industrial production in Europe."
Improved market surveillance is necessary to guarantee a level playing field, as the Directive lays down essential safety requirements for boats as well as the limits for exhaust and noise emissions from marine propulsion engines which producers and importers need to respect if they wish to place their products on the EU market.
Therefore the obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors will be strengthened to better guarantee compliance with the requirements for market surveillance. As the import of recreational craft by individuals from third countries to the EU for their own use is a specific feature of this sector, stricter obligations will apply for private importers also.
The competitiveness of the European industry will be strengthened as a result of a simplified legislation and of the similarity of technical requirements with the EU major trading partners. The revision of the Recreational Craft Directive should help to save costs for the EU manufacturers, in particular with respect to development, manufacturing and certification costs, since it will not be necessary to keep two separate production lines in place anymore.
The industry is strong both in the EU and the US: The vast majority of recreational craft manufacturers (RCD) is active on the EU market and the US market and two thirds of worldwide sales of recreational marine engines are realized at both markets. Currently US legislation regulating the exhaust emissions is stricter than the current EU rules. Some EU Member States have undertaken efforts to reduce emissions from recreational craft by resorting to local (national) measures for speed limits or ban of boats in specific areas. In order to better protect the environment, ensure a global market for RCD and to prevent national single solutions leading to a fragmentation of the Internal Market it was regarded necessary to strengthen the exhaust and noise emissions at EU level.
At the same time the vulnerable position of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) should be taken into account as 97% of businesses of the recreational craft sector are SMEs. Producers of small engines will benefit from an extended transition period.
Approximately 6 millions of recreational crafts are in use in Europe. The recreational marine activities across Europe involve some 37 000 companies which represent a wide range of activities such as marinas, boat builders, engine or marine equipment manufacturers, hire charter and sailing schools, marine solicitors, insurance brokers etc. This sector which is gradually recovering from the economic crisis directly employs today some 272 000 workers.