What is the Recreational Craft Directive

The Recreational Craft Directive is a European Directive which sets minimum requirements of a boat, which guarantee its suitability
for sale and use within the European Union and EEA. Directive 2013/53/EU is intended to harmonise construction standards for watercraft, as well as regulate exhaust and noise emissions. This Recreational craft directive applies to the design and manufacture of watercraft between 2.5 and 24 metres in hull length whatever the means of propulsion.

Why is there a Design Category

All watercraft within the scope of the Directive are assessed for compliance with the Essential Requirements and dependant on their design and construction, are allocated to one of four design categories based on wind force and significant wave height.

Design Category

Wind force

(Beaufort Scale)

Significant wave height


A Exceeding F8 Exceeding 4m
B upto and including F8 upto and including 4m
C Upto and including F6 upto and including 2m

upto and including F4

upto and including 0.3m