Fears that standard modifications may invalidate boat's RCD compliance rebutted

Fears that simple modifications to a boat may invalidate its compliance with the Recreational Craft Directive appear to be wide of the mark, reports Stewart Campbell, news editor of our sister mag MotorBoats Monthly. The panic began when Yachting World’s Elaine Bunting wrote in her blog that the EU had ruled that you could no longer modify your boat without voiding its RCD, which included the fitting of autopilots.

She was writing after reading a report about the sinking of an Irish yacht called Megawat in May 2005, in which Ireland’s Marine Casualty Investigation Board reproduces a letter from the European Commission suggesting that a product that “has been subject to important changes after it has been put into service” may qualify as a new product, and therefore require new RCD certification.

But the EC says that there had been no new ruling, and all the details concerning the above have been available online since 2000. The Commission also said that saying an autopilot could invalidate a boat’s RCD code was misleading. For MBM’s full report, click here