RYA vows to stamp out Dutch MEP's proposal for boat registration, licensing and regular checks

A proposal by a Dutch politician that could have paved the way throughout Europe for boat registration and licensing, as well as regular maintenance checks, has been thwarted by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

The proposals are those of Netherlands MEP Toine Manders (pictured above), who took the opportunity of a revision of European directives to suggest that the EU should bring in a harmonised licensing across Europe and mandatory technical checks.

He also stirred up the issue of recreational boats using marked diesel (red in UK; green in Norway and Ireland), proposing that it should be completely outlawed.

Following very strong objections by the RYA, the proposal has been taken out of the main article of the revised Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) but slotted into a ‘recital’ or preamble. The RYA and the UK government are concerned that the idea will get a hearing by the back door and want that deleted as well.

“Appearing in the recital means this has no legal weight at all and is not enforceable, but is woven back in as something the EU should think about in the future,” says RYA cruising manager Stuart Carruthers.

“We think it should be removed completely as this is a matter for national legislation. The RCD is about laying down essential safety requirements. This is definitely a case of mission creep and it’s got absolutely no place there whatsoever.”

A period of horsetrading will precede the finalisation of a draft due to go before the European Council in the next few weeks. The call to remove the offending part of the text is being strongly backed by the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The RCD is among a first batch of directives being rewritten to meet a new legal framework. Eventually all EU directives will be redrafted to be more prescriptive and – guess what? – there are thousands of them.