Everything You Need to Know About CE Marking When Buying a Boat
Have you ever wondered, whether your new or used boat needs CE marking? Our guide helps you to understand what CE marking is and which vessels require CE marking. You'll also find out everything about the process of CE marking.
What is CE Marking?
"CE" is short for Conformité Européenne, meaning European Conformity. It's the manufacturer's declaration that the product meets the requirements of the applicable EC directives.
There are basic security requirements for boats and yachts that have to be met. These requirements are important for new boats and for vessels being sold or put into service in the territory of the EU/EEA for the first time. CE marking is only allowed for products that require it by law.
Which Countries Demand CE Marking?
Boat owners from the Netherlands, Lithuania, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, Greece, Germany, France, Iceland, Italy, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Malta, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, the United Kingdom, Turkey need CE marking. The same applies to any territorial islands of the countries mentioned above.
Where is CE Marking Necessary?
- Personal watercraft need to comply with the CE requirements regarding construction, noise emissions and design when they were put up for sale or if they were put into action in the EEA after 31st December 2005. That applies also for second-hand vessels or imports from countries outside the EEA.
- Propulsion engines that were imported into EEA territory from third countries and were put to service in the territory of the EEA after the 31st December 2005 for spark ignition four-stroke engines and after 31st of December 2006 for spark ignition two-stroke engines. Those need to comply with the exhaust emissions standards, even if it is a second-hand product.
- Recreational boats with the following hull length measures: 2.5 to 24m.
- Recreational boats that are chartered or hired. This applies for boats that are not used for commercial passenger transportation and for boats that require a crew.
- Vessels with water jet propulsion units need CE marking.
The above-mentioned requirements apply for vessels that were previously only used in countries outside the EU/EEA.
Which Vessels do not Need CE Marking?
- Vessels operated in EU/EEA countries before 16th of June 1998
- Boats built for personal use only (if they are not brought to the Community market within 5 years time afterwards)
- Canoes (only if they are are not designed to be equipped with sails or a propulsion engine and put onto the marked in that fashion)
- Racing boats (need to be labelled accordingly by the manufacturers)
- Boats used as crewed commercial passenger carriers, air cushion crafts or submersibles
- Historical boats or individual replicas that were designed thereof before 1950 and that are built mainly with original materials (need to be labelled accordingly by the manufacturers)
- Sailing surfboards
- Experimental boats (if not brought to the Community market afterwards)
Only engines that were CE marked during the production process are accepted. Engines need a declaration of conformity from the engine manufacturer as well as a certificate issued by the technical control body. A declaration of conformity for engines produced before the certificate was issued is not valid. However, engines will be accepted if they are CE marked in a recreational boat used in the EEA before 01/01/2006. If you replace your engine in a recreational vessel after 01/01/2006, the new engine will need CE marking.
Further exceptions that do not have to meet the noise and exhaust emission requirements can be found below:
- Propulsion engines that are built for personal use if they are not brought afterwards to the Community market within a time frame of 5 years. This does not apply for engines that are simply adapted for marine use or where only a few parts are exchanged
- External combustion engines like steam engines that are fueled by coke, coal gas or oil
- Individual replicas of engines that are based on designs before 1950.
- Engines integrated into racing boats
Engine Supervisory Control
Supervision and control of engines can be rather tricky and high-priced. Tests such as exhaust emission measuring have to be carried out in retrospect if they have not already been done during the production process. Hence, the technical control body has to test the engine and thereafter issue a compliance report which is the conformity report. Based on that report, the importer has to prepare and then sign another conformity declaration for the engine.
CE Marking Steps
First, you have to decide on what category you want your boat to be CE marked.
- A - Ocean: Boats designed for usage in conditions where wind force is higher than 8 on the Beaufort scale and where waves are expected to reach heights higher than 4m (abnormal conditions are excluded) and self-sufficient boats.
- B - Offshore: Boats designed for offshore trips in conditions where wind force is smaller than 8 and where waves reach heights smaller than 4m.
- C - Inshore: Boats designed for usage in rivers, large bays, lakes, coastal waters, in estuaries and for conditions where wind force is smaller than 6 and waves reach heights of maximum 2m.
- D - Sheltered waters: Boats designed for small lakes, rivers, sheltered coastal waters, canals and small bays with wind force smaller than 4 and wave heights smaller than 0.3m. Occasional wave heights of around 0,5m caused by passing boats, for instance, are excluded.
Offshore and Inshore categories are mostly used for recreational boats. Bear in mind that the categories define the physical conditions which can appear in any category for the design evaluation, but have not in any way the purpose to limit the usage of the boat in specific geographical areas after it is put into service.
In the second step, you have to choose the module for your boat:
- Module A - EC Type-Examination
- Module Aa - Internal Production Control Plus Tests
- Module B - EC Type-Examination
- Module C - Conformity To Type
- Module D - Production Quality Assurance
- Module E - Product Quality Assurance
- Module F - Product Verification
- Module G - Unit Verification
- Module H - Full Quality Assurance
- Module PCA - Post Construction Assessment
The majority of used boats requires the PCA module.
In the third step, you will need the following things:
- The declaration of conformity which should include the manufacturer’s name and address, his authorized representative, the product’s description, references to the harmonized standards that were used, the name and address of the notified body. identification of the person who has the right to sign on behalf of the builder or his authorized representative and a reference type to the EC examination certificate that was issued by the responsible notified body,
- A hull identification number (HIN) or identification number (CIN) on the transom or stern. Every boat must have an identification number that includes the unique serial number. the country of manufacture, the model year and the year of production and the manufacturer's code.
- The post-construction certificate issued by the notified body.
- A manufacturer’s plate that has the CE mark on it. Each boat should have a permanent plate that has to be mounted apart from the boat hull identification number and should contain information as the name of the manufacturer, the boat design category, the CE marking, the maximum load recommended by the manufacturer and the maximum number of people allowed on board.
- The noise emissions certificate issued by the notified body (only, if applicable).
- An owner's manual used as a guide for the owner for safety purposes. It is important that the guide is in the language of the EEA state in which it will be put onto the market.
As every year new regulations are being added, we recommend to regularly check the CE regulations. Moreover, it has to be noted that the interpretation and application of the regulations can vary by country. In addition, some maritime offices might add or even change regulations so that their own requirements are met. Therefore we advise asking your maritime office for a copy of the regulations that they are using.
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