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About the recreational craft sector

European Commission Enterprise and Industry Around 37,200 businesses are active in the EU’s fast-growing recreational craft sector, 97% of them SMEs. These companies employ around 272,000 people and generate an annual revenue of €23.4 billion.

CE marking and the Recreational Craft Directive

The Recreational Craft Directive (2013/53/EU) is intended to ensure a high level of safety for users, as well as regulate exhaust and noise emissions of certain types of engine-propelled recreational craft. The Directive aims to harmonise the rules governing the sale of recreational craft within the EU. The presence of the CE marking is an indication that the craft meets the essential requirements in place to allow it to be sold anywhere in the European Economic Area (made up of the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) as well as in Turkey. This also applies to products manufactured in third countries.

What does the Directive actually cover?

The design and construction provisions of the Directive apply to any boat between 2.5 m and 24 m in length that is intended for sports and leisure purposes, regardless of its means of propulsion, as well as to personal watercraft. Boats intended for commercial purposes, or solely for racing purposes, are excluded – as are canoes, kayaks, gondolas, pedals, surfboards and sailing surfboards.

The Directive’s provisions on exhaust emissions cover propulsion engines installed on recreational craft or personal watercraft. Its provisions on noise emissions cover recreational craft with stern drive engines with integral exhausts; outboard engines and stern drive engines with integral exhausts intended for installation on recreational craft; and personal watercraft.


  • Recreational craft
  • Components
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Noise emissions

On the road to CE marking – conformity assessment

The manufacturer shall apply the procedures set out in the modules referred to in Articles 20, 21 and 22 before placing on the market products referred to in Article 2(1).

The private importer shall apply the procedure referred to in Article 23 before putting into service a product referred to in Article 2(1) if the manufacturer has not carried out the conformity assessment for the product concerned.

Any person placing on the market or putting into service a propulsion engine or a watercraft after a major modification or conversion thereof, or any person changing the intended purpose of a watercraft not covered by this Directive in a way that it falls under its scope, shall apply the procedure referred to in Article 23 before placing the product on the market or putting it into service.

Any person placing on the market a watercraft built for own use before the end of the five-year period referred to in point (vii) of point (a) of Article 2(2) shall apply the procedure referred to in Article 23 before placing the product on the market.

Once the conformity assessment process is complete, the CE marking must be affixed. It must appear in a ‘visible, legible and indelible form’ on the craft and personal watercraft, on components and/or their packaging and on outboard engines and stern drive engines with integral exhaust. The CE marking must be accompanied by the identification number of the relevant Notified Body.

Manufacturers are also required to sign a Declaration of Conformity, to keep a technical fi le containing all of the relevant data and to provide users with information about safe use and maintenance of the boat and engine.

Finding the relevant European Harmonised Standards

The first step a manufacturer should take to ensure that equipment will be compliant with the Directive is to check which European Harmonised Standards are applicable. A list of harmonised standards for electromagnetic compatibility can be found on the relevant page of the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry website.

Need more information?

The European Commission has launched a one-stop-shop web portal with all the information you need on CE marking:

If your product(s) fall(s) within the sector of Recreational craft Directive 94/25/EC applies.