RCD Exemption Certificate

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If lucky, you may find that your (target) boat import is exeRecreational Craft Directive (RCD) Exemption Certificatempt from the requirements of the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) and thus outside the scope of our normal CE Marking service.  This is great news, especially for older craft.  The challenge is collecting the evidence to support exemption and putting this in a form that can be provided to a EU authority when required.

Click on the following links to see more information about what constitutes a bases for exemption and a list of EEA countries.

Please make sure you confirm Recreational Craft Directive exemption before arranging boat shipping, as to import a boat, especially a complex craft such as a sailing yacht or trawler yacht, would be unwise without prior confirmation.

Enter the RCD Exemption Certificate...

What you get

Our service product includes the following elements:

  • Initial appraisal of Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) exemption based on information presented by you
  • Identification of additional proof required to support exemption
  • Preparation and archive of detailed assessment to claim exemption
  • Preparation of an exemption certificate
  • Secure archive of copies of certificate and supporting documentation (for 10 years).

Download a sample RCD certificate.

What you provide

You will be asked to supply details, pictures, receipts etc which prove exemption.  Some of this you may have to hand, some you may need to research or contact others to support.  Where exemption is sought based on type, use or design, assistance will be provided to ensure the appropriate classification.  Where exemption is sought on the basis of use in EU/EEA waters prior to the introduction of the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) corroborated evidence will be required.

Remember that the only thing that uniquely identified your boat import is its CIN or other registered number.  Imported boats often share there make, model and name with other craft so these details alone do not identify just one imported boat.

Download our RCD Exemption Form (PDF) which provides details of what you need to supply.

Our deliverables

Our deliverables are a laminated copies of the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) Exemption Certificate and supporting evidence for the craft (and engine). We also hold copies  in our secure archive for a period of 10 years following issue.  Certificates will be posted to you via secure mail, packed to prevent damage.

RCD exemption certificates

There is no official ‘Exemption Certificate’, or guidelines for such within the current scope of the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD). However, the rules for exemption are documented and the certificates offered here have been used for a number of years without question, even for Norway.  In essence the Exemption Certificate is more a statement of the basis on which exemption is claimed and a reference to the supporting evidence.  As such it is normally sufficient if questioned by an EU authority and even if pursued, the information (archived by us) is readily to hand, within the 10 year period.  In our experience this approach is sufficient to satisfy scrutiny.


As noted above the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) Exemption Certificate, though official looking is NOT an official legal document recognized by the European Authorities.  As such there is no guarantee or warranty implied or offered by BoatCE/Gablemarine or its staff that acceptance as proof of exemption will result, now or in the future.  The certificate and supporting documentation does however represent our professional opinion that exemption is justified by the evidence provided.

BoatCE/Gablemarine accepts no liability for any costs incurred resulting from the use of the certificate and does not warrant the validity of evidence used in support of any claim for exemption.

Written By: Rowland Smith

Rowland Smith is a Naval Architect and founder of Gablemarine.  His industry experience includes Lloyds Register, British Shipbuilders Hydrodynamics Ltd, Cammell Lairds, BP Shipping Ltd & Conoco.  He has a degree in Naval Architecture, a Diploma in Marketing (CIM) and an MBA (Cranfield School of Management).  He has also held Director level positions in a number of technology and engineering companies, including CEproof, which provides RCD compliance software to builders. 

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