What is the Recreational Craft Directive
The Recreational Craft Directive is a European Directive, which sets minimum requirements of a boat and harmonises construction standards for watercraft, as well as regulates exhaust and noise emissions to achieve a uniform level of safety requirements in the design and manufacture of a recreational craft and guarantee its suitability for sale and use throughout the European Union and EEA (European Economic Area), with a CE certification.

What is the Recreational Craft Regulations (RCR) 2017 (SI 737) as Amended.
Since 1998, the United Kingdom has required all recreational watercraft being placed on the market to meet the RCD and the UK’s transposition of the directive in UK law, the RCR.
Following the UK’s departure from the European Union the RCR has been amended to meet the UK’s new independent status. From the 1st of January 2021 recreational craft placed on the market must meet the requirements of the RCR as amended, in order to be UKCA certified.

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