The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) and Sound Signals

We’ve been asked some questions recently about whether sound signals are governed by the Recreational Craft Directive. Here is our guidance.

What is the RCD?

The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) introduced a compulsory set of standards and guidelines for the build of new leisure boats since 6 June 1998. Compliant vessels carry a CE Mark on a mandatory plate. This European legislation applies to most leisure craft that measure between 2.5m 24m.

Does the RCD cover Sound Signalling?

The only sound levels covered by the RCD are ambient sound levels experienced in and around a craft. Sound signalling equipment (for example a ship’s whistle or horn) is not covered by the RCD.

So what does the RCD cover?

The Policy Officer for the RCD has made this statement”

“The Directive 94/25/EC on recreational crafts (RCD) sets out the (ambient) noise limits on recreational craft. It means that the craft in motion or the outboard engine when using a standard craft have to comply with sound specifications or prescribed limits.

“The details of measurement (of ambient sound levels) are described in harmonised standard EN ISO14509 1.”

So what doesn’t the RCD cover?

The Policy Officer for the RCD has made this statement:

“The directive does not specifically regulate sound signalling equipment. Therefore recreational crafts are also subject to ColRegs rules at this matter.”

Jan Mayerhöfer Policy Officer for Recreational Craft Directive European Commission DG Enterprise and Industry
Mechanical, Electrical and Telecom Equipment | G4 BREY 07/335| 1049 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 29 85613