Category swimming of small size vessels and CE certified

In addition to size, engine power, sailing arms and comfort level, one of the most important parameters on which we focus when choosing a boat or yacht, is a category of swimming, i.e. the vessel’s ability to safely operate in a particular area: sea, river, lake or ocean.

For the classification of small vessels entered the market and exploited on the territory of EU countries, there is a single standard under Directives on small recreational vessels (Recreational Craft Directive, RCD) 94/25/EC (amended by 2003/44/EC) – the so-called “CE Category“or “Category RCD“, and its corresponding values: “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”. The relevance of the ship to one of these categories tells about the type of its design and sailing regions in which it is, by virtue of their technical characteristics, seaworthiness and safety, can walk.

Category of the CE / RCD

A. Ocean-going vessels – boats and yachts, designed for long Autonomous navigation, in which the force of the wind can exceed 8 points (≥ 17.2 m/s), and the wave height will exceed 4 metres.

B. Marine vessels – boats and yachts, designed for sea navigation, during which the wind force does not exceed 8 points (≤ 17.2 m/s), and the wave height will not exceed 4 meters.

C. Coastal court – boats and yachts, designed to sail in coastal waters, bays, reservoirs, lakes and large rivers where the wind force does not exceed 6 points (≤ 10.8 m/s), and the wave height reaches 2 meters.

D. vessels used exclusively for a protected waters boat, boats and yachts, designed for swimming on small lakes, rivers, and canals where the wind force does not exceed 4 points (≤ 5.5 m/s), and the wave height reaches 0.5 meters.

CE certificate

Category navigation CE / RCD is assigned to the ship in the process for CE certification, which is mandatory for all small vessels with a hull length of 2.5 to 24 meters, placed on the market or commissioned in the territory of the European Union.

This duty established by the Directive on recreational craft recreational vessels (Recreational Craft Directive, RCD) 94/25/EC (amended by 2003/44/EC), introduced on 16 June 1996 the European Commission to ensure a uniform level of safety in the design and manufacture of recreational craft throughout the European economic area.

The Directive applies to boats and yachts in length from 2.5 to 24 meters, intended for sport and recreation, including Charter boats, and jet skis and some equipment. Here, in particular, include the means of water transport, are partially built on the territory of the EU and imported from outside.

The boat’s conformity with the requirements of the Directive is confirmed:

– “CE”marking,

– unique identification number (UIN / INK) which is located on the outside of the transom (in the upper right corner, closer to the starboard side) and also inside the cabin – hidden identification number (must be detailed in the file technical documentation on the ship),

– “a sign” of the manufacturer, which is attached to the vessel available for inspection and mandatory contains information about the manufacturer / importer, a design category, the maximum permissible number of persons on Board maximum load, the identification number of the European notified body who issued the CE certificate and the “CE”mark.

Water transportation vehicles that have passed the certification of CE under the Directive, regardless of design type, sizes and categories must have the following documents:

Technical documentation complying with the Directive, with a detailed description of the vessel, its design, construction and components, confirming the vessel meets the applicable under Directive ISO international standards,

User manual (user manual) complies with Directive

– Declaration of conformity with the Directive.

Not subject to the Directive and, accordingly, are not subject to mandatory CE certification and do not have the proper markings and certifications:

– crafts intended solely for racing, including rowing racing boats and training, which the manufacturer attributed to this category

– canoes and kayaks, gondolas and pedalos,

sailing surfboard

boards for surfing, including surfboards with the motor

– original historical craft and individual replicas thereof designed before 1950, built predominantly with the original materials and labelled as such by the manufacturer

– experimental trial, with the proviso that they are not subsequently placed on the market in the EU,

– boats built for own use provided that they are not subsequently placed on the market in EU territory for five years

– submarines,

– hovercraft,

– hydrofoils,

– ships with a steam engine, with fuel in the form of coal, coke, wood, oil or gas.

One exception to the requirements of the Directive on recreational craft recreational vessels 94/25/EC (amended 2003/44/EC) are small vessels that have been commissioned on the territory of the state until his recognition as a member of the European Union or until the implementation of the Directive, i.e. until 16 June 1998.


In 2006 entered into force of the amendment 2003/44/EC, which focused Directive on recreational craft recreational vessels 94/25/EC on the noise of the engines and the exhaust emissions. Since that time, there were many unpleasant and unusual for sailors situations when the status of the new engine unexpectedly admitted not in conformity with the requirements of the Directive and the vessel passed the inspection of CE remained either completely replace the engine, either to operate the vessel exclusively outside the European Union.

For new ships, the situation was resolved pretty quickly: since 2006, European and even American manufacturers began to actively implement the certification of engines and equipment prior to their installation. Therefore, any issues with the subsequent passage of the COE inspection of the ship was completely excluded.

Today, any engines for boats, released in Europe in 2006, are guaranteed to have CE certificate. A similar certificate can be the engines of some manufacturers from USA, UK, China and South America.

The absence or falsification of CE certificate

If the vessel meets all the above requirements, it must have a CE certificate, the appropriate labeling and documentation. According to the Directive on recreational craft recreational vessels 94/25/EC (amended by 2003/44/EC), as sanctions for a finding of the vessel in the EU without CE certificate, with invalid or fake certificate CE, depending on the circumstances, may be applied to the ban on the operation of the vessel, the seizure of the ship, a fine of up to EUR 10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 months.

What gives the CE certificate in vessel operations outside the EU?

For residents of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan with the acquisition of boats or yachts, built by European shipbuilders, it becomes a phenomenon quite frequent. Especially recently, when the famous yacht brands everywhere are opening their own offices, there are more their official distributors and dealers.

But if Europe, the availability of yacht CE-marking is necessary and habitual, for us it is only a supplementary measure, which we, due to current local regulations for the classification and certification of water equipment, not always attach importance to.

However, among the known advantages of having a boat or yacht, imported from Europe, CE certificate, we can highlight the following:

– confirmation of the compliance of the vessel with international standards,

– the document confirming the declared technical characteristics of the vessel, its design, construction, categories, navigation,

– possibility of further exploitation of the vessel, its registration and sale (resale) in the territory of any of the States parties to the European economic area without any hindrances.

    Egor Lanin
    Author ruYachts

    Journalist, news editor. The team 2014. Major topics: motor yachts, concepts, gadgets and technology.

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