CE Certifications Apply To PWC Operation, Sale, Import In Europe

If you live in or have visited Europe, you’ve probably heard of a CE certification. If you’re considering moving here, or doing any watersports in the area for that matter, you’ll definitely want to make sure this important regulation is on your radar.

The CE Certification is a requirement for all recreational boats, yachts, and personal watercraft that are either sold or operating in European Union waters. Set up as a means to evaluate a boat’s seaworthiness, the CE certification has been around since 1998 and is used throughout the European Union to regulate where and when watercraft can travel.

The European Commission can give boats a ranking between A-D, based on a variety of factors including construction strength, stability, reserve buoyancy, and deck drainage. For reference, Category D watercraft are only permitted inland or within sheltered waters and to operate under winds up to force 4 (16 knots). Category A watercraft, on the other hand, are cleared to travel long voyages out into oceans, with winds over 40 knots and significant weather conditions/wave height.

Each boat is assessed independently, but in general, smaller PWCs fall within the C and D categories, limiting them to coastal and inland operations. While these limitations can be frustrating for some, there’s a good argument to be made for the importance of these tight regulations.

boatsales.com.au recently ran a piece on the unexpected sinkings of a large motor yacht off the country’s coast, and one of the findings of the coroner was that implementing a CE type system would provide greater security and accountability for watercraft regulated by Australian authorities. Offering a standard by which PWC owners and manufacturers can be held to may be one of the more effective ways to prevent such tragedies.

Of note: if you’re planning on importing an internationally manufactured PWC into Europe, it’s important to seek out an EU notified body to receive an officially recognized certification.

To find out what your PWC is rated, check out the International Marine Certification Institute website.


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