• Ballistic Ribs
  • Dehler Yachts
  • Fairlie Yachts
  • Fairline
  • Fleming Yachts
  • HanseGroup
  • Highfield Boats
  • Honda
  • Hyundai Seasall
  • JBT Marine
  • JCB Power Systems
  • John Deere Power Systems
  • Latitude Yachts
  • Lewmar
  • Linssen Yachts
  • Mastercraft
  • Mastercraft Boat Company
  • Mellor Boats
  • Moody Yachts
  • Ovington Boats
  • Oyster Yachts
  • Pearl Yachts
  • Piper Boats
  • Qingdao Seagull Yacht
  • Quarken Boats
  • Rapido Trimarans
  • RayMarine Electronics
  • RDS Fuel Tanks
  • Redbay Boats
  • RS Sailing
  • Rutgerson Marin
  • Scorpion RIBs
  • Sunseeker
  • Suzuki
  • Tohatsu
  • Topper Internationa
  • Tornado Boats International
  • Williams Jet Tenders
  • Yamaha

Official Reference:

SI 2017 no. 737

Dates of Enforcement

The Regulations, in their current form, came into force on the UK’s official Exit Day from EU: 31 January 2020.  Prior to Brexit, however, the UK applied the European Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) whose dates are shown below. As the dates explain, there is a transition between the UK and EU regulations and markings.

See the decision tree to the right to help explain the text below:

16/06/1996 – EU RCD I (94/25/EC) & CE marking became optional for the first time
16/06/1998 – EU RCD I became mandatory
01/01/2006 – amendment (2003/44/EC) to RCD I became mandatory.
(PWC & emissions into scope for the first time)
18/01/2016 – EU RCD II (2013/53/EU) /became optional
18/01/2017 – EU RCD II became mandatory & EU RCD I ceased to exist

01/01/2021 – UK RCR comes into force.

UKCA marking is mandatory for:

  • non-CE marked products and
  • products previously CE certified to RCD by UK-based Notified Bodies & without a valid EU CE certificate

UKCA marking becomes optional for CE-compliant products.

01/01/2025 – A UK Declaration of Conformity and UKCA mark for RCR becomes mandatory for all products within scope. However, until 2028, products that were CE certified by EU Notified Body BEFORE 1/1/2025 can:

  • affix the UKCA mark as a ‘label’ next to the CE mark, and
  • refer to the EU Notified Body on the UK Declaration of Conformity. (A UK Approved Body certificate is not required).

Products CE certified after 31/12/2024 must be fully compliant with RCR including a Builder’s Plate with UKCA mark and a certificate from UK Approved Body.

01/01/2028 – Builder’s plate with UKCA mark for RCR mandatory for all products within scope. A certificate from a UK Approved Body is required (except for module A products).

Read the UK Government’s website and download their guidance document.


Click here to:

  • See a list of the differences between RCD I and RCD II/RCR

The Regulations (& Directive) apply to the design and manufacture (but NOT operation) of watercraft (ie recreational boats & personal watercraft) that have a hull length between 2.5m and 24m (8ft 2in to 78ft 8in).

All boats that are within the scope must be assigned a design category which is then used to set targets for the assessment of the craft.
The Regulations also list 5 groups of components which are in scope and must be UKCA marked when placed on the UK market.

This Directive shall apply … with regard to design and construction, to:

  1. Ignition-protected equipment for inboard and stern drive petrol engines & petrol tank spaces.
  2. Start-in-gear protection devices for outboard engines.
  3. Steering wheels, steering mechanisms and cable assemblies.
  4. Fuel tanks intended for fixed installations and fuel hoses.
  5. Prefabricated hatches and port lights.

In addition, the Regulations also include engines that are to be fitted on recreational craft. To earn their UKCA mark, all engines must meet exhaust emissions criteria and if the engine has an integral exhaust (eg an outboard or sterndrive) then it must also meet noise limits. If the engine does not have an integral exhaust and is fitted to a high speed boat, then the boat manufacturer must demonstrate that the boat & engine together meet the noise limits.


There are a number of exclusions. Many of these refer to craft with an unconventional mode of operation such as hydrofoils and hovercraft.
The exclusion that causes the most confusion is craft for commercial use. For more details, see the FAQ relating to commercial craft.
Craft intended solely for racing are also excluded (if they are labelled as such). If the craft is intended primarily for racing and may cruise from time to time, it is not excluded.

The following shall be excluded from the scope of this Directive:

(i) watercraft intended solely for racing, including rowing racing boats and training rowing boats, labelled as such by the manufacturer; (ii) canoes and kayaks designed to be propelled solely by human power, gondolas and PERalos;
(iii) surfboards designed solely to be propelled by wind and to be operated by a person or persons standing;
(iv) surfboards;
(v) original historical watercraft and individual replicas thereof designed before 1950, built predominantly with the original materials and labelled as such by the manufacturer;
(vi) experimental watercraft, provided that they are not placed on the Union market;
(vii) watercraft built for own use, provided that they are not subsequently placed on the Union market during a period of five years from the putting into service of the watercraft;
(viii) watercraft specifically intended to be crewed and to carry passengers for commercial purposes, without prejudice to paragraph 3, regardless of the number of passengers;
(ix) submersibles;
(x) air cushion vehicles;
(xi) hydrofoils;
(xii) external combustion steam powered watercraft, fuelled by coal, coke, wood, oil or gas;
(xiii) amphibious vehicles, i.e. wheeled or track-laying motor vehicles, which are able to operate both on water and on solid land;

Products are either in scope and must be UKCA marked or they are outside the scope and cannot be UKCA marked. UKCA marking is not a matter of choice!

As there is no legal means whereby an excluded product can be UKCA marked, you may be assured that HPiVS will confirm, on application, if your product is excluded.


The detailed technical characteristics of the design, materials, production and testing are not laid down in the Regulations but in designated standards. (Europe calls them harmonised standards but they are exactly the same standards).

Conformity with designated standards “guarantees” conformity with the Regulations. Their application, however, is not mandatory. If designated standards are not suited to a specific product, any alternative standard or solution may be applied if it ensures equivalent safety. It can be difficult to demonstrate equivalent safety and harmonised standards should be applied wherever possible. HPiVS can advise on alternative methods.

Click here to visit the UK Government’s website for an up-to-date list of designated standards for RCR.  A large number of the designated/harmonised standards are scheduled for update in the next couple of years.

Online Access to Standards

For online access to:

the latest EN & ISO standards for small and large craft

UK & EU RCD legislation

RSG Guidelines and EU Commission Guides

we recommend Rulefinder.net.

At Rulefinder standards are sold in packages rather than individually, meaning you get the information you need at a fraction of the price.

Conformity Assessment Procedures

The Regulations have a wide range of Conformity Assessment Modules that define what documentation needs to be compiled and to what extent a Approved Body should be involved. The choice of modules is limited depending upon the risk (i.e. the design category) of the product. HPiVS will advise on the options upon application.  For further details, download the HPiVS Guidance Note – RCR Conformity Assessment Modules.

Next Steps

Download an application form for:

Visit our page on RCR Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact HPiVS

Check our authorisation on the UK Government’s web site.

Click the image below to see a decision tree for when UKCA compliance is required.